General approaches to ethical reasoning in Islamic biomedical ethics discourse
AbstractIslamic and non-religious ethics discourses have similarities and differences at the levels of meta-, normative, and applied ethics (e.g. biomedical ethics). Mainstream biomedical ethics (MBME) uses the language of contemporary, non-religious, Western ethics. Significant effort has been dedicated to comparing Islamic biomedical ethics (IBME) and MBME in terms of meta- and normative ethical positions, and final decisions on practical ethical issues have been reached. However, less attention has been given to comparing the general approaches of the two aforementioned discourses to ethical reasoning. Furthermore, IBME uses different languages to approach ethical reasoning, but identification and conceptualization of these approaches are among the important gaps in the literature. The aim of this study was to conceptualize general approaches to ethical reasoning in IBME. Through review and content analysis of the existing literature and the comparison between the languages employed by IBME and MBME, an inductive distinction have been made. The languages used in conceptualized approaches include the followings: (i) a language in common with the one employed by MBME; (ii) MBME language adjusted to the basic, common beliefs of Muslims; (iii) a language based on fatwas; and (iv) a language based on IBME principles. In the authors’ opinion, major challenges of the above-mentioned four approaches include, respectively: identifying the lack of religious sensitivity or Islamic considerations regarding an issue; acknowledging specific beliefs as the basic, common beliefs of Muslims; diverse fatwas and relations between juridical soundness and ethical soundness; and agreement on the same principles and rules as well as who should apply them.
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