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Grzegorz HołubCorresponding authorORCID id

Between Pragmatics and Rehgious Experience. Hugo Tristram Engelhardt's Concept of Bioethics

10 - 2005, pages 29-38
Date of online publication: 03 August 2016
Date of publication: 30 November 2005


Bioethics is a relatively young discipline. Within it, discussion is still taking place concerning the methodological status of the subject. Nevertheless, putting aside this inner aspect of bioethics, one thing appears striking. The short-lived existence of bioethics is surprisingly associated with a great number of bioethical projects, aimed at tackling complex problems, arising in the realm of health care. It seems that the rapid enhancement of biomedical sciences and biotechnologies - carrying with it many moral dilemmas - creates a pressure leading to a new sort of ethical reflection, as well as deepening further existing reflections. Looking more generally and somewhat superficially at existing approaches to bioethical matters, one can distinguish two tendencies. One of them puts forward creating a general ethical system drawing upon a specific notion of morality, and drawing up a set of moral rules and principles. The second one finds its starting point in separate cases, in their analyses, playing down the role of general moral theories. The best example of such an approach is a modern casuistry catching on especially in English speaking countries. The spreading tendency of casuistic analyses does not eliminate the fact that many bioethicists still make an effort to pursue the first of the mentioned trends by building up a general bioethical framework. Hugo Tristram Engelhardt is a good example of such a thinker. He is a medical doctor and philosopher working at Rice University in Houston. In the course of over 30 years of his medical and philosophical research, Engelhardt has outlined two bioethical projects: the project of secular bioethics and the project of Christian bioethics.


Cite this article

Hołub, Grzegorz. “Between Pragmatics and Religious Experience. Hugo Tristam Engelhardt’s Concept of Bioethics.” Forum Philosophicum 10 (2005): 29–38. doi: 10.35765/forphil.2005.1001.3.