Anglo-Indian Perspectives on Human Dignity in Healthcare and Medical Research

"Anglo-Indian Perspectives on Human Dignity in Healthcare and Medical Research"



On Thursday 26 May at 4pm, Sr Beena Jose, who is visiting the Ian Ramsey Centre from India, will offer a public presentation about her research into human dignity,

The concept of human dignity plays a pivotal role in contemporary ethics and bioethics and it is considered as a moral standard for patient care at the bedside. in the contemporary world we have numerous incidents in which human dignity appears to be undermined; how can we ground human dignity in healthcare and medical research when faced with situations in which such dignity has or may be violated? Examples include: ‘Mid Staffs scandal’, accusations made by some against the work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, dilemmas arising or likely to arise from present or near-future advances in genetic sciences, and Dwarf-tossing competition. In this presentation, Sister Beena Jose, Principal of Vimala College in Kerala, will aim to bring interdisciplinary and Anglo-Indian perspectives to bear on these questions.

The recent breakthroughs in science and technology are rendering the need for ethical values as well as the dignity of the human person all the more indispensable for the creation of a richer and wholesome humanity. Sr Beena will attempt to interpret critically the question ‘Can we and should we synthesize life?’ in the light of recent developments in medical research, especially in the field of genetic sciences, viz., synthesizing/editing life in the laboratory through Crispr/Cas9 technique, editing of human embryo, human genome project, stem cell research and cloning. It is concluded that human dignity plays a pivotal role in assessing the new biotechnological advances and it is the core of all other ethical principles.

As the famous atheist, Raymond Tallis, has remarked, human beings are indeed a part of nature but are also apart from nature. From a Christian perspective, they are called to have a covenant with God, oriented towards divine friendship. Even from a non-Christian perspective, however, as Sr Beena shall argue, these ideas have helped to shape the development of ethics and the understanding of human dignity.

Sr Beena's time in Oxford has been made possible thanks to a TORCH scholarship.