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Reason, Morality, and LawThe Philosophy of John Finnis$
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John Keown and Robert P. George

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675500

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675500.001.0001

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Bioethics after Finnis

Bioethics after Finnis

Chapter:
(p.269) 17 Bioethics after Finnis
Source:
Reason, Morality, and Law
Author(s):

Anthony Fisher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675500.003.0018

Twentieth-century bioethics was a big disappointment. Despite articulation in declarations, oaths, textbooks, and courses, it proved no barrier to many unethical practices and experiments. The buffet bioethics of the liberals and the ledger bioethics of the utilitarians allowed practitioners to follow their own preferences, whatever they were. Some of the deficiencies of bioethics have been directly or indirectly addressed by John Finnis in his natural law theory and in articles on particular bioethical issues. This chapter is organized as follows. The first part examines his view of life and health as ‘basic goods’, priorities between goods, the nature of healthcare, and the virtues rightly associated with that practice. The second part turns to the application of the principles of morality to healthcare, personal responsibility and professional duties. The third part considers unethical healthcare decisions such as ones that are directly homicidal or harmful, the importance of intention, and some basic norms. Finnis' bioethics demonstrates the logical soundness and enduring practical significance of the conclusions of the natural law, Hippocratic and Judeo-Christian traditions of reflection upon bioethics.

Keywords:   John Finnis, bioethics, ethics, basic goods, life, health, healthcare, intention

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