The philosophy of Joseph Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article I focus on some of Joseph Margolis's contributions to medical ethics. I first discuss some of Margolis's normative and metaphysical views on death and abortion, particularly in his early work Negativities, as well as some of his metaphysical assumptions. Then these views and assumptions are related to his theory of persons and, by implication, his theory of culture, set forth in a number of later works. In the course of the discussion, I call attention to some controversial issues of today, such as embryonic stem cell research and the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of research, and ask for Margolis's views on them, given his earlier contributions and assumptions. Finally, I comment on his relativism and his program for research in aesthetics and ethics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Ethics


  • Margolis, abortion, death, relativism, theory of persons and culture
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-567
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch