The globalization of western biomedicine has become a phenomenon for which many bioethicists are concerned. It generates important ethical issues at the international level that call for the internationalization of bioethics and, thereby, the development of a theoretical framework for international bioethics. For some bioethicists, such a theoretical framework can be built upon a set of fundamental principles of morality that are universally accepted in all cultures and eras. The set enables people to make justifiable cross-temp oral and cross-cultural judgments. This moral position is sometimes labeled as "moral fundamentalism." In a paper published in an issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Robert Baker argued that moral fundamentalism is philosophically bankrupt because it fails to meet the challenges posed by multiculturalism and postmodernism, and that classical human rights theory, since it is one form of moral fundamentalism, is also rendered untenable by the challenges.
In a response article, Beauchamp made a rejoinder to Baker's criticism by arguing that there exists a universal core of morality, being embedded in the beliefs of all moral societies, and human rights is nowadays the favored form to present this universal core of morality. He wrote: " Morality comprehends many standards of conduct, including principles, rules, rights, virtues, attitudes, and ideals. These standards sometimes vary from society to society, but embedded in the beliefs of all moral societies are the core dimensions of morality ... The common morality contains precepts that bind all person s in all places. In recent years, the favored form in which to present this universal core of morality has been human rights ... " If Beauchamp's above reply is tenable, then one may develop a theoretical framework for international bioethics on the basis of human rights. However, in this article, I shall argue that human rights cannot be the common core of morality. This article starts with what I shall call the fact of moral pluralism. The term "moral pluralism" is used as a descriptive term describing certain human conditions rather than expressing a philosophical thesis about morality. lt means no more than that different ethnic or cultural groups hold conflicting comprehensive doctrines, each with its own conception of morality, and that this human condition will continue to exist for a long time or even permanently. Common morality theorists such as Beauchamp has to take into account this fact of moral pluralism if his attempt to defend human rights as the common core of morality is going to succeed. Beauchamp has to establish two theses (1) The comprehensive doctrines held by different ethnic or cultural group overlap one another regarding certain fundamental principles of morality. (2) The standards of human rights are the ones among these overlapping principles of morality. I shall examine (2) from the Confucian moral perspective and argue that (2) is untenable. The discussion starts with an interpretation of the notion of rights. Then it will be shown that the notion of human rights has certain philosophical presuppositions that some moral traditions may not be able to endorse, and that Confucianism is the one among those which do not endorse them. That being the case, human rights cannot be the common core of morality or a part of it.
西方醫療技術全球化的趨勢引起了生命倫理學家的關注，有的生命倫理學家指出有必要把國際性的生命倫理學（International Bioethics）放進生命倫程學的研究議程。要確立國際性的生命倫理關鍵在於找出一組具普遍性，能跨越文化、地域和年代的生命倫理原則。但是，從哪裡去找這樣一組原則呢？有的生命倫理學家認為人權理論能夠為我們提供這樣的一組原則。比如Beauchamp就認為人權是人類的共同道德（common morality）的核心部分。倘若Beauchamp的這一觀點是正確的，那麼我們就可以通過人權理論來確立國際性的生命倫理。對此本文持相反意見。本文的基本論旨是：人權並非人類的共同道德的核心。本文的一個出發點是“道德多元化”這一事實。所謂“道德多元化”並非表述一哲學的論旨，它是要指出人類所面對的一個的道德境遇，那就是事實上人們恆常地持有互相衝突的整全的信念系統；而不同的整全的信念系統則含有不同的道德觀，這些道德觀亦往往是互相衝突的。必須指出的是，道德多元化雖是一個沒有邏輯必然性的事實，但它卻是恆常存在的，至少在可見的將來它仍是會存在的。認為人權是人類的共同道德的核心的論者必須照顧到這一事實。有關論者須要確証下述兩點：（一）這些互相衝突的道德權有互相交疊的部分；（二）這一部分含有人權思想。本文將會從儒家的道德觀出發論証（二）是錯誤的。筆者所要論証的是人權的哲學思想和儒家的道德觀並不相容。倘若筆者上述的觀點正確，那麼，人權就並非儒家的道德觀的一個部分，這樣一來，人權亦不可能是人類的共同道德的核心部分。