Values of preservation and values of change in bioethics
Journal International de Bioéthique = International Journal of Bioethics 2005 September-December; 16(3-4): 71-75, 170-171
Since its advent bioethics has been motivated and dominated by values of preservation, be it preservation of life on the Earth or preservation of human life, health, rights, dignity, autonomy etc. Bioethics of this, let us say, more traditional type, stresses the need to preserve, to protect the surrounding order of things, which can be easily and irreversibly destroyed by our rash and unreasoned actions. Now I can turn to the second value orientation in the realm of bioethics. It stresses values related with changes in the existing (natural) order of things, these changes to be directed by our interests, desires and dreams. This kind of bioethics upholds our views above the imperatives of the preservation of nature around us. Nature is perceived, first of all, as a raw material to be transformed, more or less radically changed on the basis of our designs and by means of our technologies in order to achieve our own goals. This opposition of two value systems can be presented as opposition between the stands of a naturalist as a (pure) observer of phenomena of the outer and inner world, on the one hand, and a researcher as someone who exerts active interventions and, after all, produces changes in the world.
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