Shuai Wang

Abstract 摘要

Contemporary bioethics and moral principles often emphasize values such as human dignity, equality, and individual autonomy, particularly in the case of moral dilemmas. Given that traditional Confucian ethics does not speak of these values, the effort to construct “Confucian bioethics” today may face challenges from two aspects: (1) the notion of individualism, and (2) individual autonomy that makes moral choices possible. The paper contends that there is an ethical incommensurability between traditional Confucian moral philosophy and contemporary bioethics. This leads to the argument that one cannot simply apply the moral principles of bioethics to assess and judge Confucian ethics. It also contends that the Confucian ethical viewpoint represents a kind of elitism that sets up moral standards for a minority, rather than for everyone in society. Therefore, Confucianism by default will not be able to answer many of the questions raised by bioethics, which has been highly influenced by a modern democratic system.