Legal restrictions of the right to self-determination increasingly pretend to be compatible with the liberal concept of autonomy: they act upon a ‘soft’ or autonomy-orientated paternalistic rationale. Conventional liberal critique of paternalism turns out to be insensitive to the intricate normative problems following from ‘soft’ or ‘libertarian’ paternalism. In fact, these autonomy-oriented forms of paternalism could actually be even more problematic and may infringe liberty rights even more intensely than hard paternalistic regulation. This paper contributes to the systematic differentiation of (...) soft and hard paternalism by discussing the (legal) concept of autonomy and elaborates the moral and legal limits of autonomy-orientated paternalism. (shrink)
Definition of the problem. Voluntary active euthanasia is, in certain circumstances, morally permissible and should be permitted by law. Autonomous persons may have a fundamental interest in experiencing ”death in dignity” in accordance with their own preferences. This interest is protected by the concept of human dignity assumed by German law. Some prerequisites being met, the moral and legal autonomy right to determine the time and manner of one’s own death includes a right to secure active euthanasia from a willing (...) physician, and a physician’s acceding to the patient’s request be may morally the right thing to do. Arguments and conclusion: Most arguments against the justifiability of voluntary active euthanasia unveil their weakness when scrutinized. However, insofar as legalized voluntary active euthanasia would be subject to intolerable abuse, our policy options are dilemmatic, and the concept of human dignity as it has been taken for granted in German legal discourse, is questioned. There is no option other than seeking safety in legal procedures for every single case. (shrink)
The notion of human dignity fulfils different normative functions, making demands on heterogeneous resources for justification. After a short summary of Kant’s concept of dignity and its meta-ethica/ content which defines “Kantianism”, we will deal with three problematic aspects of the Kantian concept of dignity and provide a sketch of its reception in the German Constitution. Then we will present an ascriptivistic concept as an alternative to the Kantian one and discuss its limitations.
Dealing with the reform of the Transplantation Law, the first issue of the new rubric “Philosophie aktuell” met with strong and lively interest from our readers. Subsequent to this discussion a growing number of reports were published dealing with violations of mandatory rules of conduct in transplantation medicine. Therefore the topic is revisited here from the slightly different vantage point “organ transplantation II: elucidation and confidence”.
Medical law and Biopolitics shed specific light on the relationship of subject and power/violence in legal contexts. For our species, medicine is an essential endeavour vis-à-vis nature which is „red in tooth and claw“. Medicine, however, is driven by autopoietic systemic imperatives and marked by relations of domination. Guaranteeing robust individual rights and legal powers is a remedy against both.
During the last two decades a broad and intensive discussion has taken place in the field of medical ethics. Especially in the English-speaking countries, “Biomedical Ethics” have developed as a part of secular, philosophical moral theory. Two ethical problems in organ transplantation – living organ donation and organ allocation – illustrate that this transition reflects both the complex ethical questions raised by rapid changes in the biological sciences and in health care, and the fact that traditional Hippocratic ethics have proven (...) to be inadequate in several respects. (shrink)