عنوان مقاله [English]
The four principles of medical ethics -- autonomy, justice, non-maleficence, and beneficence -- can be interpreted as being based on a respect for human life. Human life, however, is also understood to be multidimensional. Like folk psychology, medical ethics understands there to be physical, social, mental, and metaphysical/spiritual aspects of human nature. These four categories are a very useful framework of analysis for the larger fields of moral and political philosophy. The four principles of medical ethics are also compatible with four concepts of equality derived from four different moral and legal systems in Western Civilization which had their separate foundations in religion (Canon Law), nature (Roman Law), society (English Common Law), and the individual (Social Contract Theory). There is, thus, a relationship between the concept of a respect for personal dignity and our common humanity in medical ethics and the concept of equality in the Western liberal political tradition. Medical ethics bring some coherence to the moral categories. They are, also, one source of an applied moral philosophy that can enable cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. Medical ethics have, at least, the capacity to provide a well-balanced source of accommodation in a pluralistic global community, without alienation or coercion.