Complexity, postmodernism and the bioethical dilemma

De Roubaix, Malcolm ; Cilliers, Paul (2008)

CITATION: De Roubaix, M. & Cilliers, P. 2008. Complexity, postmodernism and the bioethical dilemma. Acta Academica, 40(2):82-109.

The original publication is available at http://journals.ufs.ac.za

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This article examines the implications of a postmodern ethics for bioethical problems. Traditional approaches to bioethics, with specific reference to “principlism”, depend on a modernist strategy which attempts to produce generalised solutions. Making use of complexity theory, it is shown that the factors specific to each instance cannot be reduced in an objective way. The contingency of each individual case has to be considered. This leads to an ethics which cannot be the result of following universal rules, but one that has to accept the responsibility for the outcome of our decisions, even if these outcomes are not fully predictable. The responsibility for our choices cannot be shifted onto some a priori principle.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie artikel ondersoek die implikasies van ’n post-moderne etiek ten opsigte van bio-etiese probleme. Tradisionele bio-etiese benaderings, met spesifieke verwysing na beginselmatigheid (principlism), maak staat op modernistiese strategiëe wat veralgemeende oplossings na vore bring. Deur kompleksiteitsteorie aan te wend, word aangetoon dat die faktore wat spesifiek is aan elke situasie, nie in ’n objektiewe manier gereduseer kan word nie. Die gebeurlikheid van elke individuele geval moet oorweeg word. Dit lei tot ’n etiek wat nie tot stand kom deurdat universele reëls nagekom word nie, maar wat bereid is om verantwoordelikheid te aanvaar vir die besluite wat geneem word, selfs al is die uitkomste van die besluite nie ten volle voorspelbaar nie. Die verantwoordelikheid van besluite kan dus nie verskuif word na ’n a priori beginsel nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103112
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