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Title: Natural and Unnatural: An Application of Taoist Thought to Bioethics
Authors: Cheng-tek Tai, Michael
Keywords: Euthanasiaartificial lifeTaoist ethics
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Michael Cheng-tek Tai, "Natural and Unnatural: An Application of Taoist Thought to Bioethics", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, VI (2004) 2, pp. 1-9.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
VI (2004) 2
In a society where filial piety is regarded as a social norm, should a son consent to withdrawing treatments to his terminally ill father or should he request that his father’s life be maintained as long as possible? Leaving a father unattended is regarded as unfilial in a Confucian society, let alone untreated while being ill. Although Taoism also teaches filial piety, it asserts artificially as unnatural. In other words in Taoist view, uselessly prolonging a life through life-sustaining devices or futilely treating an incurable terminal patient is against the will of Heaven. This paper is not an argument in favor of euthanasia but a discussion of what is natural and un-natural in terms of life and death phenomenon from Taoist perspective. Artificial life relying on external means is not harmonious with nature. Thus keeping a person in PVS stage alive should be ethically flaw. In this sense, don’t all attempts to cure illness un-natural? This author will say that if treatments can restore health, then it is not un-natural. But if medical procedures fail to revert the deterorating health of a terminally ill patient and treatments prove to be futile, foregoing treatments can be regarded as flowing with Heaven and thus is ethically justifiable.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2004) VI/2

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