The origins and basic approaches of the emergence of a new bioethics and the program «Integrative Bioethics». Part 1

(tr. from German by Ganna Hubenko)

  • Thomas Sören Hoffmann
Keywords: bioethics, applied ethics, normativity of life, transdisciplinarity, natural will


The article compares different models of bioethics. The dominant model considers bioethics as just a new area of applied ethics focusing in its origin mainly on questions of medical ethics like those rising from reproductive medicine. Within the framework of this concept, the formal application of ethical principles on medical practices is normally understood as a strategy for the preservation of personal autonomy of the individual. Another model linked e.g. to the names of Van Rensselaer Potter or Hans Jonas can be called a "holistic" one and refers to ethical issues discussed within the greater context of "general meditation" of life in general, nature and human life-worlds. Holistic bioethics focuses on the idea of integrity, and it also allows an internal "living" pluralism of perspectives, which corresponds to the self-differentiation of life in a plurality of life-worlds. The third model is an integrative bioethics which not only tries to combine the perspectives of autonomy on the one hand, life and nature as a whole on the other, but also shows that bioethics is founded on its own sources of normativity (e.g. in the idea of life). From these sources also rises its task of “integrating” the perspectives of different scientific disciplines on issues of life in general. The concept of "integrative bioethics" is promoted in the article because of the following characteristics: integrative bioethics considers all kinds of interaction between autonomous persons, living beings and nature in general; it is transdisciplinary and therefore based on a dialogue of all sciences in which bioethical awareness of the problem may arise; it is open also to non-scientific manifestations of individual and social consciousness and therefore in discussing live in a normative sense nevertheless stays in contact with the real life-worlds of real people. At the end of the article integrative bioethics is discussed with regard to the example of the meaning of the idea of a “natural will”.

Author Biography

Thomas Sören Hoffmann

Dr., Prof., Distance teaching University of Hagen at Faculty of Art and Social Sciences / Department of Philosophy.


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How to Cite
Hoffmann, T. (2018). The origins and basic approaches of the emergence of a new bioethics and the program «Integrative Bioethics». Part 1. Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 22(1), 211-223.