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A Glass Darkly

Medicine and Theology in Further Dialogue

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Edited By D. Gareth Jones and R. John Elford

This book is a sequel to the first volume of New International Studies in Applied Ethics and includes essays from some of the same contributors. Like the previous volume, the book explores the interface between medicine and theology. The essays demonstrate the complementarity evident between the two and examine how those coming from different theological traditions are able to provide helpful insights. Points of disagreement, and their crucial role in contributing to an understanding of the complexities of the debate, are acknowledged.
Much of the discussion focuses on use of the Bible. The contributors show an awareness of the pastoral necessity of providing access to new medical technologies for those in need. Out of this emerges a positive view of some of the human benefits of modern medicine and the ways in which Christian theology can engage with it constructively. The discussion throughout is related to the wider literature in the field.

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Part two: Roman Catholic Responses 59

Extract

Part twO Roman Catholic Responses Celia Deane-Drummond Bodies in Glass: A Virtue Approach to Ethical Quandaries in a Cyborg Age through a Recovery of Practical Wisdom This chapter probes the cultural imagery of the artificial in as much as it intrudes on an ethical discussion of genetics and associated reproductive technologies. In particular, it asks what might lie behind such concerns with artificiality as well as raising other social issues connected with feminist critiques of reproductive technologies. A feminist ethic of care attempts to overcome some of these difficulties, but it leaves out important ques- tions about social justice. The cyborg has also been used in a creative way by authors such as Donna Haraway to challenge the view of the human as fixed or unchangeable. Where does this imagery reach its limits? Official Roman Catholic instructions hold up a dogmatic view of the embryo as equivalent in moral status to other persons, while maintaining strong resistance against any intervention in the link between sexual acts between husband and wife and procreation. This chapter will argue for a virtue approach to such ethical dilemmas that avoids some of the difficulties associated with alternative utilitarian or dogmatic approaches. The basis for this virtue approach takes its inspiration from the writing of Thomas Aquinas.1 The chapter will also suggest that natural law can be recovered, but not in the way that has sometimes been used in order to justify forms of naturalism that work against any accommodation of the artificial. In 1...

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