Negotiating Power in Culturally Determined Bioethics Secular vs Islamic Bioethics in Decision Making


The supposition of this paper is that bioethics in its different strata is culturally determined. Other than universal in the sense of 'neutral', secular bioethics-which is internationally leading the field of bioethics academically and in praxis is an expression of a particular, materialistic worldview that does generally not consider spiritual or other-worldly dimensions. Islamic culture, based on the particular worldview of tawhid - the profession that there is only one Creator who created the universe and mankind, and that the purpose of human existence is the servitude to Him - has produced its own bioethics. Under Islamic bioethics, the human body is not the persons possession, but rather an entrusted good (amanah) which will return to its Creator after death. The human being will be held responsible for its interaction and care taking of its physical shape. Beginning and end of life are predetermined and not subject to human decision making. The paper looks into the most prominent secular bioethical model ' Beauchamp's and Childress' principlist approach (Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 2013), more particularly the principle of autonomy, and how it intersects in practice against a background of Muslim recipients in a majority or minority background. Discussed case studies will focus on beginning and end-of-life decisions, such as abortion, prenatal and preimplantation diagnostics, termination of life support, donor consent to organ transplantation after death, euthanasia, and their evaluation through the principle of autonomy at the intersection of secular and Islamic bioethics.

Author Information
Anke Iman Bouzenita, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon