Philosophy, Theology, and the Claims of Justice

Karen Lebacqz

Edited by David E. Guinn

in Handbook of Bioethics and Religion

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178739
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784943 | DOI:
 Philosophy, Theology, and the Claims of Justice

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Thirty years ago, both the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and the collaborative team of Tom L. Beauchamp and James Childress placed justice on a short list of principles that should undergird medical treatment and research. It is difficult to sort out contributions of religious or theological ethics to justice theory in bioethics. Nonetheless, some claims can be made both for the influence of religious ethics on the public discussion of bioethics and for the distinctive voice of religious or theological ethics in matters of justice. Taking a biblically based view of justice, it is argued at that a religious view (1) extends the scope of justice; (2) makes oppression and liberation primary categories for understanding justice; and (3) makes justice the first principle rather than the second or third.

Keywords: religion; bioethics; religious ethics; justice; oppression; liberation

Chapter.  5436 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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