Confucian Virtue Ethics and its Contribution to Biomedical Ethics
Recent reinterpretations of Confucian ethics as a virtue ethics have focused on demonstrating that Confucian ethics satisfies the requirements of a virtue ethics in Western ethical discussions. But these works have tended to neglect discussions of whether Confucian ethics can overcome some of the challenges that virtue ethics typically encounters. In the first part of my paper I will attempt to remedy that oversight. Some critics of Confucian ethics doubt its possible relevance to biomedical ethics, and one philosopher attempts to apply Confucian ethics to issues in contemporary biomedical ethics by interpreting Confucian ethics as a role-based ethics. But in my view, their interpretations of Confucian ethics overlook that Confucian ethics is built on and pursues recognition, cultivation, and realization of common human virtues. Furthermore their analyses of Confucian ethics do not successfully demonstrate that Confucian ethics can make a meaningful contribution to contemporary bio-medical ethics. Hence in the second part of my paper I will attempt to implement Confucian virtue ethics in the context of contemporary biomedical ethics, specifically focusing on the issues of personhood and patient-doctor/researcher relationship.