Chapter

Human Dignity and the New Bioethics: Human Dignity as Constraint

Beryck Beyleveld and Roger Brownsword

in Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198268260
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683473 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268260.003.0003

Series: Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

Human Dignity and the New Bioethics: Human Dignity as Constraint

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This chapter discusses the implications of the conception of human dignity as constraint on the limits to be placed on biomedicine, reflecting on the belief that biomedical practice in the twenty-first century should be driven by a shared vision of human dignity that reaches beyond individuals. It also distinguishes the conception of human dignity as constraint with the conception of human dignity as empowerment. ‘Human dignity as constraint’ is more concerned with human duties than with human rights. Treating this conception, much of which is captured in what is called the ‘new bioethics’ in Europe, as an umbrella for a number of duty-driven approaches, we can find not only a duty to respect the dignity of others but also a duty not to compromise our own dignity, as well as to act in a way that is compatible with respect for the vision of human dignity that gives a particular community its distinctive cultural identity.

Keywords: human dignity; biomedicine; empowerment; constraint; new bioethics; cultural identity

Chapter.  9320 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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