Can bioethics live without tradition and history? How Fritz Jahr translated the 5th Commandment into the present and future. A methodological and conceptual case study.


  • Hans Martin Sass Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA; Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany


It is an empirical fact that research and education in modern applied ethics, including bioethics,

rarely do include a critical dialogue with philosophical or moral traditions. It is argued

that such an attitude, which follows the methods of empirical sciences, is defi cient and inappropriate

for the humanities. Th is paper demonstrates, how Fritz Jahr uses the 5th Commandment

of the Jewish-Christian tradition to discuss most modern actual issues in a pluralistic

postmodern society.