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The Core Concepts of the ‘Four Principles’ of Bioethics as Found in Islamic Tradition

In this study the writer aims to explore the roots of the ‘Four Principles’ in Islamic tradition and culture, and show that this particular set of principles are not something new but only one of the latest formulations of age-old common sense principles.

Ethics can be described as a sub-branch of applied philosophy that seeks ‘what is the right and the wrong, the good and the bad set of behaviours in a given circumstance’. Bioethics, however, is a quasi-social science that offers solutions to the moral conflicts arising in medical and biological science practice. There have been different ethical approaches to the issues in the history of philosophy. Two American philosophers, Beauchamp and Childress, formulated some ethical principles namely ‘respect to autonomy’, ‘justice’, ‘beneficence’ and ‘non-maleficence’. These ‘Four Principles’ which have almost always existed and govern the ethical behaviour of human societies, were presented by the authors as universal and applicable to any culture and society. These ‘Four Principles’ have been one of the most widely discussed issues in Biomedical Ethics with arguments for and against them. The authors’ claim has been tested by research conducted in different cultures and societies. In this study we aim to explore the roots of the ‘Four Principles’ in Islamic tradition and culture, and show that this particular set of principles are not something new but only one of the latest formulations of age-old common sense principles. It is therefore concluded that these principles are already being applied in Islamic traditional and cultural societies.

About the Authors

Sahin Aksoy is a assistant professor at Harran University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Ethics and history of Medicine, Sanliurfa-Turkey.

Abdurrahman Elmali is a associate professor at Harran University Faculty of Theology, Department of Basic Islamic Sciences, Sanliurfa-Turkey.

Bibliographic Information

Title: The Core Concepts of the ‘Four Principles’ of Bioethics as Found in Islamic Tradition

Authors: Sahin Aksoy and Abdurrahman Elmai

Published in: Med Health Care Philos. 2017 Sep;20(3)

 Language: English

Length: 7 pages

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