- 医学哲学 医学倫理 (ISSN:02896427)
- vol.19, pp.16-30, 2001-10-20 (Released:2018-02-01)
In the argument of bioethics, more often in the public argument than in the academic one, the concept of "Dignity" has been used as a protector of a human's irreplaceable value. For example, "Dignity of Life", "Human Dignity", " Dignity of Individual", and "Death with Dignity". But in many cases, the various terms of "Dignity" are ambiguous and at times oppose one another. One main reason for this is that the word "Life" has various meanings. In Japanese, at least four words, "seimei", "seikatsu", "jinsei", and "inochi" (each has rather different implications) are equivalents to the word "life". In this paper, I have reflected on the concept of "Dignity" in Human Life in some topics of bioethics, classifying the meaning of "Life" in each case. The concept of "Dignity" has a rather ambivalent character. On the one hand, it works as a protector of a human's irreplaceble life in various dimensions, such as fundamental "seimei", individual personal "jinsei", or the interrelational "inochi". But on the other hand, it can be exclusive priciple that devalue certain forms of human life as unworthy of human dignity and so cut off the possibility of encounter and self-awareness of "inochi-beings" in advance. Today, we cannot be too cautious of the danger when the exclusive principle of the concept of "Dignity" prevails and suppresses the quest for Dignity itself.