Medical bioethics vs. Medical ethics*

José Ma Barrio Maestre*

Published: 21 September, 2018 | Volume 2 - Issue 1 | Pages: 052-057

The current situation of bioethics illustrates what has become known as “the anthropological halt”, described with great lucidity by C. S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man as the neglect of the “Tao”, a not very extensive body of basic axioms which enable the overall integrity of reason, both in theory and practice. One of these principles, visible to everyone and which provide the cornerstones of the Judeo-Christian tradition, is the sanctity of human life.

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.ibm.1001013 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


  1. Tötung auf Verlangen. Wohltat oder Untat?, Reclam, Stuttgart, 1997.
  2. In a recent book I have shown the futility with which, within this context, it is normally claimed that the human embryo is “potentially” a human being. Vid. Barrio, J.M., Metafísica para gente corriente (in English: Metaphysics for ordinary people),Rialp, Madrid, 2017, pp. 134-140.
  3. Llano, A., Maravilla de maravillas: conocemos (in English: Wonder of wonders: we know), Eunsa, Pamplona, 2016, p. 39. “As Elizabeth Anscombe indicated at the time, the stance at the basis of most errors is ‘emotivism’. The starting point is something which is, simply, not true: the immediacy of moral perception, where ethical attitudes are viewed as objects of individual preference, unyielding to any moral basis. We are confronted with freedom understood as choice, as an option or election between many available possibilities, as if they were a range of articles displayed in a supermarket. Pro-choice would be the only behaviour worthy of mature and reasonable individuals in a democratic society, and even the pro-life stance would be subject to it. Well, it happens to be that this understanding of choice has no maturity or reason of any kind: it is only a spontaneity that, more than anything else, reveals infantilism” (p. 17).
  4. In Poetics,Aristotle clearly saw the exemplary value of myths. Usually, stories have a more exemplary and cathartic force than ethical arguments. In any case, it is positive that the former precede and accompany the latter.
  5. The followers of Aristotle talk of the habitus principiorum, the intellectual “having” at the root and base of every discourse, i.e. the cognitive possession of the first and most basic principles of reason. They consider that the habit of principles is an intellectual virtue, “dianoethics”. Saint Thomas Aquinas explains that it is not an intellectual act, but rather the implicit, common knowledge of certain fundamental axioms which in turn presuppose certain first concepts, which are in the genome, in the profound structure of any intellectual use, whether theoretical or practical. This category includes the concept of being and its transcendental properties –with truth and goodness among them–, the principles of non-contradiction, of identity, of excluded middle, etc.

Similar Articles

Recently Viewed

Read More

Most Viewed

Read More

Help ?