Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Professor John E. Thomas
Sociological studies indicate that American regulation of biomedicine is not achieving its goals. It is the purpose of this thesis to show that this is due more to an inadequate conceptualization of issues than to ineffectual implementation. It will argue that this conceptualization is determined by the origins of the American tradition of liberal humanism in the history of ideas, and that therefore the present social crisis has a theoretical counterpart in philosophy which must be examined.
In sum, this thesis describes the influence of Descartes, Hobbes and Locke on the founding of the American tradition. It identifies as the original point of theoretical difficulty Descartes' rational anthropology whose dualism ultimately produces an antagonism in American regulation of biomedicine between ethics and science and between individuals and society. Further it shows that because a rational anthropology characterizes man inadequately that American regulation cannot meet the theoretical requirements of liberal humanism and that, despite its roots in a rationalist natural law philosophy, it is gradually approaching biological pragmatism.
Finally this thesis concludes that philosophers and policymakers who would be faithful to the principles of liberal humanism within the context of biomedicine must show how the biomedicinal project of human self-creation can serve the moral process of human self-emancipation.
Evans, Penelope Susan, "American Regulation of Biomedicine: Liberal Humanism in Crisis" (1980). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 233.