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From reason to practice in bioethicsAn anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris$
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John Coggon, Sarah Chan, Soren Holme, and Thomasine Kushner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096235

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096235.001.0001

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Harris and the criticism of the status quo

Harris and the criticism of the status quo

(p.75) 7 Harris and the criticism of the status quo
From reason to practice in bioethics

Florencia Luna

Manchester University Press

In this chapter I will analyze one characteristic of John Harris’s thinking: its controversial nature. Some of Harris’s formulations and arguments can be read as strong criticisms of the status quo. Is this a fruitful position or is it useless and possibly “detrimental”? Even if the status quo can be viewed positively as condensing common knowledge, it can sometimes be the product of prejudice. Status quo frequently prolongs inherited authoritarian patterns and the “traditional values” that oppress certain members of society, for example, women or minorities, precisely those groups that lack the power to make decisions. Their voices are ignored and are imperceptible to already established and accepted structures. In this chapter I try to examine the role of criticism in the development of thinking and culture in general, as well as the function of intellectuals in society. I consider the role of philosophy and bioethics in these matters. And finally, I outline the implications of Harris’s work in relation to the criticism he proposes.

Keywords:   critical thinking, status quo, intellectuals, role of philosophy, role of bioethics

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