Arguments in contemporary debates on bioethics

Main Article Content

Barbara Chyrowicz


Bioethics is understood in this article as one of the areas of applied ethics, i.e. as a philosophical discipline. From its very beginning, bioethics has been an area of controversy among ethicists representing different standpoints. The philosophical character of bioethics does not unambiguously determine the contents of the accepted norms. The reason for this is the fact that contemporary moral philosophy comprises many ethical theories which are the basis not only for bioethics, but also for other areas of applied ethics. Due to their diversity, the theories give diverging moral appraisals and norms. This divergence results from differences in methods of justification and in the anthropological premises accepted at the starting point of each of these theories.

In this article two methods for justifying moral norms are examined, teleological and deontological. While these methods are also employed outside of bioethics, the following three arguments, (1) the playing God argument (2) the slippery slope argument and (3) the obligation for future generations argument, are typical of this discipline. The arguments consist in applying the general methods of justification to determine the moral permissibility of practical advancements in contemporary biomedicine.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
CHYROWICZ, B. Arguments in contemporary debates on bioethics. Diametros, n. 19, p. 1-25, 1 Mar. 2009.
Author Biography

Barbara Chyrowicz

dr hab. Barbara Chyrowicz SSpS, profesor KUL; etyk, kierownik Katedry Etyki Szczegółowej KUL, autorka ponad 70 publikacji naukowych, w tym dwóch książek: Zamiar i skutki. Filozoficna analiza zasady podwójnego skutku (1997), Bioetyka i ryzyko. Argument "równi pochyłej" w dyskusji wokół osiągnięć współczesnej genetyki (2000 i 2002). Redaktor serii wydawniczej "Etyka i Technika".
Share |


Anscombe [2001] – G.E.M. Anscombe, Modern Moral Philosophy, w: Virtue Ethics, red. R. Crisp, M. Slote, Oxford University Press, Oxford – New York 2001.

Baillie, Casey [2005] – Is Human Nature Obsolete? Genetics, Bioengineering, and the Future of the Human Condition, red. H.W. Baillie, T.K. Casey, Cambridge, MA – London: The MIT Press 2005.

Beauchamp [1996] – T. L. Beauchamp, J.F. Childress, Zasady etyki medycznej, tłum. W. Jacó- rzyński, Książka i Wiedza, Warszawa 1996.

Betanar [2006] – D. Betanar, Better Never to Have Been. The Harm of Coming into Existence, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2006.

Birnbacher [1999] – D. Birnbacher, Odpowiedzialność za przyszłe pokolenia, tłum. B. Andrze- jewski, P. Jackowski, Oficyna Naukowa, Warszawa 1999.

Broad [1944] – C.D. Broad, Five Types of Ethical Theory, New York 1944.

Burges [1993] – J.A. Burges, The great slippery-slope argument, „Journal of Medical Ethics” 19 (1993).

Caputo [2000] – J.D. Caputo, The End of Ethics, w: The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, Blackwell, Oxford 2000.

Chadwick [1990] – R. Chadwick, Playing God, „Bioethics News” 9(1990), s. 38-46.

Dancy [2004] – J. Dancy, Ethics without Principles, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004.

Fenberg [1987] – J. Feinberg, Harm to Others. The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, Oxford University Press, New York – Oxford 1987.

Frankena [1973] – W. Frankena, Ethics, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey 1973.

Glover [2006] – J. Glover, Choosing Children. The Ethical Dilemmas of Genetic Intervention, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2006.

Govier [1982] – T. Govier, What‘s Wrong with Slippery Slope Arguments?, „Canadian Journal of Philosophy” 12(1982), nr 2.

Harman [1997] – G. Harman, The Nature of Morality, Oxford University Press, New York – Oxford, 1977.

Häyry [1994] – M. Häyry, Categorical Objections to Genetic Engineering – a Critique, w: Ethics and Biotechnology, red. A. Dyson, J. Harris, Routledge, New York – London, 1994.

Heyd [1992] – D. Heyd, Genethics. Moral Issues in the Creation of People, Oxford University Press, Berkeley – Los Angeles – Oxford 1992.

Hildebrand [1971] – D. Von Hildebrand, Das Wesen der Liebe. Gesammelte Werke, t. III, Re- gensburg: Josef Habel 1971.

Höffe [1993] – O. Höffe, Moral als Preis der Moderne. Ein Versuch über Wissenschaft, Technik und Umwelt, Suhrkampf, Frankfurt am Main 1993.

Holtung [1993] – N. Holtung, Human Gene Therapy: Down the Slippery Slope?, „Bioethics” 7 (1993).

Holtung [1997] – N. Holtung, Altering Humans – The Case For and Against Human Gene Therapy, „Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics” 6 (1997).

Jonas [19872] – H. Jonas, Technik, Medizin und Ethik. Zur Praxis des Prinzips Verantwortung, Insel, Frankfurt am Main 19872.

Jonas [1996] – H. Jonas, Zasada odpowiedzialności. Etyka dla cywilizacji technologicznej, tłum. M. Klimowicz, Kraków 1996.

Jonsen, Toulmin [1989] – A.R. Jonsen, S. Toulmin, The Abuse of Casuistry. A History of Moral Reasoning, University of California Press, Berkeley – Los Angeles – London 1989.

Kalinowski [1993] – J. Kalinowski, Logika norm, Daimonion. Instytut Wydawniczy Lublin, Lublin 1993.

Kant [1995] – I. Kant, Die Metaphysik der Sitten, w: tenże, Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blosen Vernunft. Die Metaphysik der Sitten, Werke, t. 5, Köln: Könemann 1995.

Keller [1957] – J. Keller, Etyka katolicka, PAX, Warszawa 1957.

Kerridge, Mitchell [1996] – I.H. Kerridge, K.R. Mitchell, The legislation of active voluntary euthanasia in Australia: will the slippery slope prove fatal?, „Journal of Medical Ethics” 22(1996).

Lamb [1988] – D. Lamb, Down the slippery slope: arguing in applied ethics, London 1988.

Lauritzen [2005] – P. Lauritzen, Stem Cells, Biotechnology, and Human Rights. Implications for a Posthuman Future, „The Hastings Center Report”, 35(2005), nr 2.

Louden [2000] – R.L. Louden, Kant’s Impure Ethics, Oxford University Press, New York – Oxford 2000, s. 182.

Maritain [2001] – J. Maritain, Dziewięć wykładów o podstawowych pojęciach filozofii moralnej, tłum. J. Merecki, RW KUL, Lublin 2001.

McGleenan [1995] – T. McGleenan, Human gene therapy and slippery slope arguments, „Jour- nal of Medical Ethics” 21(1995).

Mill [2005] – J.St. Mill, Utylitaryzm. O Wolności, tłum. M. Ossowska, A. Kurlandzka, Wy- dawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 2005.

Mulgan [2006] – T. Mulgan, Future People. A Moderate Consequentialist Account of our Obli- gations to Future Generations, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2006.

Nida [1996] – J. Nida- Rümelin, Ethik des Risikos, w: Angewandte Ethik. Die Bereichsethiken und ihre theoretische Fundierung, Kröner, Stuttgart 1996.

Ossowska [1994] – M. Ossowska, Podstawy nauki o moralności, red. P.J. Smoczyński, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław – Warszawa – Kraków 1994.

President’s Commission [1982] – President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Prob- lems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research, Splicing Life: A Report on the Social and Ethical Issues of Genetic Engineering with Human Beings, U.S. Gov- ernment Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1982.

Rawls [1994] – J. Rawls, Teoria sprawiedliwości, tłum. M. Panufnik, J. Pasek, A. Romaniuk, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Warszawa 1994.

Reiss [1997] – M.J. Reiss, R. Straughan, Poprawianie natury, tłum. J. Fronk, Amber, Wars- zawa 1997.

Schauer [1985] – F. Schauer, Slippery Slopes, „Harvard Law Review” 99(1985), nr 2.

Sikora, Barry [1978] – Obligations to Future Generations, red. R.I. Sikora, B. Barry, Temple University Press, Philadelphia 1978.

Spaemann [1981] – R. Spaemann, Über die Unmöglichkeit einer universaltheologischen Ethik, „Philosophische Jahrbuch”, 88(1981).

Spaemann [2001] – R. Spaemann, Osoby. O różnicy między czymś a kimś, tłum. J. Merecki, Oficyna Naukowa, Warszawa 2001.

Ślipko [2002] – T. Ślipko, Zarys etyki ogólnej, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2002.

Verhey [1995] – A. Verhey, „Playing God” and invoking a perspective, „The Journal of Medi- cine and Philosophy”, 20(1995).

Walton [1992] – D. Walton, Slippery Slope Arguments, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992. Williams [2006] – B. Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, London – New York: Routledge 2006.

Wojtyła [1994] – K. Wojtyła, Osoba i czyn, Lublin: TN KUL 1994.

Znamierowski [1957] – Cz. Znamierowski, Oceny i normy, PWN, Warszawa 1957.