Ethical values in Romanian society. Between tradition and modernity

A XIV-a editie a  Conferinței Naționale de Bioetică, cu participare internațională– Copyright © 2019

FORMAT | Presented paper              

LANGUAGE | English

HOW TO CITE| SANDU, Antonio (2019). Ethical values in Romanian society. Between tradition and modernity. Prezentat în cadrul celei de-a XIV-a editii a  Conferinței Naționale de Bioetică cu participare internațională | December 5-7, 2019 | Iași, România.

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Values such as human dignity, (medical) responsibility, respect for the autonomy of the individual (patient), compassion, caring, etc. are subject to the mechanisms of social construction, and their content suffers an interpretative drift under the impact of social interaction in various social contexts. Constructs, once established, are perceived as universal, and the individual takes them for granted and perceives them as such, unaware of their context dependence. The change of context, under the impact of scientific innovations, leads to the deconstruction of the universality claim of the intrinsic values themselves, while the overlap between values (instrumental and intrinsic), principles and guidelines is generally confusing for the individual who is unfamiliar with the ethical literature. Unfortunately, a similar confusion arises among individuals, when, having no personal vision of what constitutes an ethical value for themselves, and being in a position to respect ethical codes built without a clear relation to values, but only to a a series of principles, which emphasize the sanctioning side and not the prescriptive affirmative of ethics, reject the necessity of an ethical reflection, considering this activity as an additional bureaucratic element. The model proposed by us in this paper, being based on a relational constructionist theory, completely eliminates the discussion about the intrinsic or extrinsic character of values, since no value in itself can be recognized in the absence of an agreement on the interpretations that the communicative actors assign to the respective value.


ethical values, ethical principles, ethical prescriptions, social construction of values.