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November 2022

Bioethics. 1993 Apr; 7(2-3): 257-62.

Bioethics and culture: an African perspective.

Gbadegesin S.

The project of Bioethics seems to me to require paying attention to the cultural realities and assumptive frame of reference of different peoples. I assume that this must be one of the views of the organizers of this conference too and that this is why the idea of country reports is taken seriously. If I am right about this, then it makes sense for me to start my discussion with a very brief discussion of some aspects of the cultural realities of Africa with particular reference to the Yoruba of Nigeria. Then I will discuss how this world view raises issues for bioethics. Two aspects of people's worldview relevant to bioethical issues are their conception of the human person and their conception of cause. What they consider themselves to be, and what they consider to be the principles of causation will normally influence their attitudes to health and illness and their choices regarding health care. I will briefly discuss these issues with regard to the Yoruba worldview.

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