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2009/3 (n° 227)


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Japanese philosophers encountered “bioethics” in the late 1980s. Young scholars in that period started to read bioethics literatures, and translated important works written in English. However, some scholars, including me, were very frustrated with their discussion because it was heavily influenced by analytic philosophy, and seemed to lack the examination of realities ordinary people would face in their everyday lives.
Since then, I have tried to create a new philosophical approach that could grasp bioethical issues from various angles, which had been sometimes overlooked in the field of academic bioethics. For example, concerning the issue of brain death, I have stressed the importance of “human relationship oriented approach to brain death.” I gave the explanation why family members sometimes felt that a beloved one was still alive in the state of brain death, using such concepts as “intercorporality” and “presentation.”
This finding made me think that the “personhood argument,” which has been widely accepted in the bioethics community, was theoretically flawed, that is to say, it did not explain the multi-layered reality of the concept of a human person. Then I gradually began to realize that the human relationship oriented approach should include, theoretically speaking, the relationship between the discussed subject and the researcher him/herself. It became clear when I discuss abortion from the perspective of feminist bioethics. Morioka, the author of this paper, is a male. The more I read feminist literatures, the more I came to think that what was really needed was not to read feminist arguments but to think abortion from my own point of view as a male who might force women to abort their fetuses. This realization led me to the development of a new approach, a “life studies approach” to bioethics. In this paper, I will try to illustrate why such an approach was required when dealing with bioethical issues, and to illustrate what kind of influence it could have on future philosophy and ethics.
The life studies approach has created two important concepts, namely, “fundamental sense of security” and “painless civilization.” The fundamental sense of security is the feeling that one’s existence is welcomed unconditionally, and painless civilization is a driving force that tends to erode this kind of feeling of security, both of which are extremely helpful to analyze the negative aspects of contemporary society with advanced science and technology.
And finally, I would like to discuss a “philosophy of life” project I have proposed in recent years. It seems to me that it is time to cast a new light on questions of philosophy of life, such as “What is life and death?,” “What is the meaning of life?,” and “What is the difference between human life and the life of non-human creatures?” against the background of contemporary bioethics and environmental ethics. And I would like to discuss the significance and magnitude the philosophy of life project could have not only for academicians but also ordinary citizens who are overwhelmed by the “meaning of life” questions and anxieties arising from our complicated, materialistic society

Plan de l'article

  1. 1 - La loi sur la transplantation d’organes
  2. 2 - Mort cérébrale de longue durée
  3. 3 - Croissance d’un cadavre
  4. 5 - « Être sacré » et « principe d’intégrité » ?
  5. 5 - Principe d’intégrité et questions bioéthiques
    1. Expérimentation sur des sujets en état de mort cérébrale
    2. Expérimentation sur de jeunes enfants
    3. Expérimentation sur des ovules fertilisés
    4. Cessation d’un traitement de maintien en vie
    5. Interruption de grossesse
    6. Mort dans la dignité et suicide
  6. 6 - Bioéthique conservative et statut de la personne
  7. 7 - Le principe d’intégrité en tant que droit naturel

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