Tag: confucianism

Bioethics Blogs

Desires: Capitalism, The Pope and Chinese Medicine by Volker Scheid

Prologue: Pope Francis and Zhang Taiyan 章太炎

On 16 June 2015, Pope Francis published Laudato Si’ (Be Praised), an encyclical letter on climate change tellingly subtitled “On Care for Our Common Home.” The encyclical links the destruction of the environment with the exploitation of the poor, and it unambiguously roots both in capitalism’s pernicious gluttony [10]. In the Pope’s analysis, neither technoscience nor the market are capable of averting an impending ecological catastrophe. Avoiding disaster will require a full-scale reassessment of contemporary human values, a turning away from consumerism to sobriety and self-constraint.

In a single stroke that stays true to his carefully chosen regnal name, Pope Francis thereby turned himself into one of the most preeminent critics of the contemporary world order [8]. An editorial in the Guardian referred to Laudato Si’ as “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years.” The conservative backlash, particularly in the US, was ferocious.[a] Jeb Bush, a spokesperson for the unconstrained exploitation of the environment within neoliberal economies of desire, chose the first day of his presidential campaign to point out that his being Catholic does not mean he will take his economic politics from the Pope. Rush Limbaugh referred to Pope Francis as a Marxist. Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld not only repeated this description but called Pope Francis one of the most dangerous men on the planet for wanting to be a “modern pope” – which, come to think of it, is a rather insightful analysis, though beyond the modern would perhaps be a more apt description.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics: “What justifies parents’ influence on their children?” written by Yutang Jin

This essay was a finalist in the Graduate Category of the 2nd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Written by University of Oxford Student, Yutang Jin

In a family, parents can exert enormous influence on their children. Parents tend to implant in their children’s mind, for good or ill, values and ideas which go on to guide their whole lives. This essay focuses on this relationship and discusses what justification we can have for parental influence over their children.

The dominant discourse in addressing the parent-child relationship is that of moral rights. I argue, however, that the liberal discourse of rights, sound as it may be, has lots of drawbacks that disqualify it from being a cogent account of family relationships. I then go on to craft a Confucian framework whereby to discuss how parents and children should behave to each other. My main argument is that parents’ influence is justifiable insofar as parents comply with moral rules that regulate their relationship with children, and these rules are subject to public justification and rectification.

I.
One way to think of where parents’ discretion over their children ends is to be found in the liberal tradition of rights. According to natural rights theories, children are entitled to basic human rights as any others. This account, however, suffers two drawbacks. First, childrearing prima facie demands more of parents than providing basic needs as prescribed by general human rights. The second problem is what I call a ‘redistribution dilemma’, namely that it fails to convincingly account for why a child should not, upon their birth, be redistributed by the state to suitable stepparents in a way that makes her future life better off than if she stays with her biological parents.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.