Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics by Noam J. Zohar PDF

By Noam J. Zohar

ISBN-10: 0791432734

ISBN-13: 9780791432730

This discussion among the Jewish normative culture and Western ethical philosophy addresses significant modern matters in scientific ethics.

Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics comprises a discussion among modern, Western ethical philosophy and the Jewish culture of legal/moral discourse (Halakha). spotting that no unmarried culture has a monopoly on legitimate ethical teachings, it seeks to complement our moral views via mutual trade.

This is facilitated by means of a non-authoritarian method of Judaism--a transparent replacement to the implicitly insular, "take-it-or-leave-it" strategy usually encountered during this box. Following within the footsteps of classical rabbinic discussions, normative pronouncements are grounded in purposes, open to severe exam. The "alternatives" are in the booklet as well--the presentation all through avoids one-sided conclusions, mentioning and interpreting or extra positions to make experience of the controversy. those specific arguments also are associated with a bigger photo, contrasting easy issues: spiritual naturalism as opposed to spiritual humanism.

Concretely, the ebook addresses a few of the significant modern concerns within the ethics of medication. those contain assisted suicide and euthanasia, donor insemination and "surrogate" motherhood, using human cadavers for studying and examine, and allocation of scarce assets at either the person and social degrees.

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Example text

The Talmud (berakhot lOb) cites Hezekiah's assertion, in praying to God, "I have done that which is good in Your eyes" (Isaiah 38:3), and in characteristic homiletical fashion seeks to spell out the specific grounds for this statement. Of all Hezekiah's meritorious deeds, it Religious Naturalism 29 singles out the concealing of the "Book of Healing"; Maharsha explains why this deed in particular fits the Biblical phrase, "good in Your eyes": Even though, in the eyes of humans, it is not good to conceal [such a book], as they seek healing from a physician, who was indeed granted permission to heal-still in your eyes it is good, so that a person should not rely on medicine, and with humbled heart will pray for mercy.

Hezekiah then saw that humans were putting their trust-with respect to their illnesses-not in God, but instead in medicine; therefore he decided to conceal it. Now, apart from this proposition's being vacuous and involving delusionary elements, its proponents attribute to Hezekiah and to his circle (who endorsed his act) a measure of foolishness that ought not to be attributed to any but the worst of the multitude. According to their defective and silly fancy, if a person is hungry and seeks bread to eat-whereby he is undoubtedly healed from that great pain-should we say that he has failed to trust in God?!

The difficulty does not seem to lie merely in Ha-Levi's radical formulation of the argument; rather, it appears to be inherent in employing the Nahmanidean approach for gUidance in dilemmas of contemporary end-stage medicine. If an irreversible critical condition is to indicate the limit of divine permiSSion, then surely the condition's onset must be determined by reference to the patient's natural condition, stripped of respirator, intravenous hydration, and perhaps even aided feeding. Neither Ha-Levi nor any con- 48 Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics temporary halakhic writer seems prepared to accept such a sweeping disavowal of human intervention at the end of life.

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Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics by Noam J. Zohar


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