The precise meaning of “human dignity” is increasingly being questioned in ethics and law. Is human dignity an adequate guide to policymaking in today’s biotechnological era? This article is an attempt to answer this thorny issue. The emergence of the concept of human dignity as a key point of reference for the regulation of modern science and technology in the European Union is evaluated. The main contribution of this article is to prove that in EU Directives and Recommendations, human dignity (...) is not an elusive concept but rather a regulatory restraint in European public policies on biotechnology, particularly through the influence of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). Two examples will be elaborated to prove this claim: first, the issue of intellectual property in biotechnological inventions, and secondly the funding of research proposals involving the use of human embryonic stem cells. These examples prove that the principle of human dignity is not an empty concept as some philosophers and bioethicists claim but rather a normative guideline that is shaping European policies on biotechnology. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 155-184 DOI 10.1558/hrge.v17i2.155 Authors Emmanuel Agius, University of Malta, Room 204 Humanities A Building, Msida MSD 2080, Malta Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 17 Journal Issue Volume 17, Number 2 / 2011. (shrink)
It is technically possible to clone a human being. The result of the procedure would be a human being in its own right. Given the current level of cloning technology concerning other animals there is every reason to believe that early human clones will have shorter-than-average life-spans, and will be unusually prone to disease. In addition, they would be unusually at risk of genetic defects, though they would still, probably, have lives worth living. But with experimentation and experience, seriously unequal (...) prospects between cloned and non-cloned people should erode. We shall ignore arguments about cloning that focus on the potential for harm to the fetus or resultant human being, where harm is understood solely .. (shrink)
Enhancement is a basic principle of modern sport. Their increase of achievement is usually attributed to the sportsmen’s natural assessment, their health, their training methods and their employment. In contrast, increase in output by pharmacological means is outlawed. The modern medical techniques created a whole range, by which sportsmen are supported. Consequently, sometimes difficult decisions with concrete medications develop. It is not always clearly to be differentiated whether something is a pharmacological interference, which serves the therapy or leads however to (...) the outlawed increase in output. At present Enhancement is in discussion, a phenomenon, which is related to doping in sports, but which concerns achievement-increasing use of medicines not only in sportsmen. -/- Leistungssteigerung ist ein Grundprinzip des modernen Sports. Gewöhnlich werden für die Steigerung der Leistung die natürliche Veranlagung der Sportler, ihre Gesundheit, ihre Trainingsmethoden und ihr Einsatzwille veranschlagt. Leistungssteigerung durch pharmakologische Mittel ist dagegen geächtet. Die modernen medizinischen Techniken haben einen ganzen Bereich geschaffen, durch den die Sportler bei der Erbringung ihrer Leistung und deren Erhalt unterstützt werden. Dabei entstehen mitunter schwierige Entscheidungsfragen bei konkreten Medikationen. Nicht immer ist klar zu unterscheiden, ob etwas ein pharmakologischer Eingriff ist, der der Therapie dient oder aber zur geächteten Leistungssteigerung führt. Gegenwärtig wird über Enhancement diskutiert, ein Phänomen, das mit dem Doping verwandt ist, aber leistungssteigernde Verwendung von Medikamenten bei Gesunden im Allgemeinen, also nicht nur bei Sportlern, betrifft. (shrink)
Robust technological enhancement of core cognitive capacities is now a realistic possibility. From the perspective of neutralism, the view that justifications for public policy should be neutral between reasonable conceptions of the good, only members of a subset of the ethical concerns serve as legitimate justifications for public policy regarding robust technological enhancement. This paper provides a framework for the legitimate use of ethical concerns in justifying public policy decisions regarding these enhancement technologies by evaluating the ethical concerns that arise (...) in the context of testing such technologies on nonhuman animals. Traditional issues in bioethics, as well as novel concerns such as the possibility of moral status enhancement, are evaluated from the perspective of neutralism. (shrink)
This special issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics presents so-called ethical tools that are developed to support systematic public deliberations about the ethical aspects of agricultural biotechnologies. This paper firstly clarifies the intended connotations of the term “ethical tools” and argues that such tools can support liberal democracies to cope with the issues that are raised by the application of genetic modification and other modern biotechnologies in agriculture and food production. The paper secondly characterizes the societal discussion (...) on agricultural biotechnology and defends the thesis that normative perspectives fuel this discussion, so one cannot come to grips with this discussion if one neglects these perspectives. The paper thirdly agrues that no such thing exists as “one” societal debate in which these issues should be discussed. There are several interwined debates, and different actors participate in different discourses. Some practical instruments are necessary in order to include the right issues in these debates. These instruments will be coined as “ethical tools,” since they are practical instruments that can be used (tools) in order to support debates and deliberative structures for a systematic engagement with ethical issues (hence, ethical tools). Finally, the paper clarifies the ethics of these ethical tools and presents the tools as discussed in the remainder of this special issue: 1) tools to include ethical issues in public consulation and involvement; 2) tools to support systematic reflection upon ethical issues in decision-making; and 3) tools to support explicit communication about values in the food chain. (shrink)
Cognitive enhancement may be defined as the amplification or extension of core capacities of the mind through improvement or augmentation of internal or external information processing systems. Cognition refers to the processes an organism uses to organize information. These include acquiring information (perception), selecting (attention), representing (understanding) and retaining (memory) information, and using it to guide behavior (reasoning and coordination of motor outputs). Interventions to improve cognitive function may be directed at any of these core faculties.
The notion of Dignity of Creatures has been voted into the Swiss Federal Constitution by a plebiscite. Philipp Balzer, Klaus-Peter Rippe, and Peter Schaber have given an expert opinion for the Swiss government to clarify the notion of Dignity of Creatures. According to them, by voting this notion into the Swiss constitution, the Swiss have chosen for a limited biocentric approach towards biotechnology. In such an approach genetic engineering of non-human beings is only allowed insofar that their own good is (...) not impaired. It is, however, not clear when the good of a non-human being is impaired. I defend the position that – even if we confine ourselves to animals – their good goes beyond their well being. (shrink)
In the face of criticisms about the current generationof agricultural biotechnology products, some proponents ofagricultural biotechnology offer a ``future benefitsargument''''(FBA), which is a utilitarian ethical argument thatattempts to justify continued R&D. This paper analyzes severallogical implications of the FBA. Among these are that acceptanceof the FBA implies (1) acceptance of a precautionary approach torisk, (2) the need for a more proportional and equitabledistribution of the benefits of agricultural biotechnology, andmost important, (3) the need to reorient and restructurebiotechnology R&D institutions (and (...) the agriculturalbiotechnology community''s values and attitudes) so that futurebenefits are indeed achieved through agricultural biotechnology. (shrink)
The intent of this article is to outline, integrate, and interpret relevant scientific, economic, and social issues of rbST technology that have contributed to the acceptance dilemma for this product. The public is divided into social groups, each with its own set of criteria on which they base rbSTs acceptability. Criteria for the scientific community may best be described as physiological. However, for consumers, criteria may be more practical, or procedural, including human health, animal welfare, environmental concerns, and overproduction. Because (...) the business of dairy production depends on demand from the consuming public, the criteria for acceptance of rbST by producers largely reflects those of the consumers. Of necessity, producers are also critical of rbST from a business and animal improvement standpoint. Although this article demonstrates that rbST has met most physiological criteria for acceptance, the consuming public has treated the acceptance issue with forceful skepticism. The question this article addresses is, why? The authors comment that with rbST and other biotechnologies applied to agricultural animal production, it will be the responsibility of government health agencies, scientists, and manufacturers of the products to provide early, adequate, and honest public education. Attention to the concerns of the public may be the only means to prevent hysteria over this and future agricultural products of biotechnology and will, therefore, allow the public to form logical and thoughtful criteria assessments with respect to acceptance or rejection of each product. (shrink)
Abstract: This article begins by showing how recent controversies over the widespread promotion of artificially gene-altered foods are rooted in opposing ethical and ideological worldviews. It then explains how these contrasting worldviews have led to a practical, ethical, and ideological standoff and, finally, suggests the combined use of casuistry and virtue ethics as a way for both sides to move ahead on this pressing issue.
Technologies can be not only contentious—overthrowing existing ways of doing things—but also morally contentious—forcing deep reflection on personal values and societal norms. This article investigates that what may impede the acceptance of a technology and/or the development of the field that supports or exploits it, the lines between which often become blurred in the face of morally contentious content. Using a unique dataset with historically important timing—the United States Biotechnology Study fielded just 9 months after the public announcement of the (...) successful cloning of the first mammal (i.e., Dolly the sheep)—we find that microlevel factors (i.e., conservative Christianity) predict unfavorable judgments of the technology-field intersection while macrolevel representations [i.e., exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics disciplines and media coverage] predict more favorable judgments. (shrink)
La investigación clínica, entendida como la búsqueda de soluciones para los problemas que acechan a la salud es, por su objetivo, una de las actividades de mayor trascendencia para el ser humano. Esta obra colectiva, como su propio título indica, explora no solo lo mucho que de positivo (las luces) tiene la investigación clínica, cómo se realiza, qué problemas encuentra y qué soluciones se plantean, sino también algunos aspectos negativos (las sombras) que la comunidad científica ha sido, hasta la fecha, (...) incapaz de impedir que se produzcan. (shrink)
Cardiology is characterized by its state-of-the-art biomedical technology and the predominance of Evidence-Based Medicine. This predominance makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to deal with the ethical dilemmas that emerge in this subspecialty. This paper is a first endeavor to empirically investigate the axiological foundations of the healthcare professionals in a cardiology hospital. Our pilot study selected, as the target population, cardiology personnel not only because of their difficult ethical deliberations but also because of the stringent conditions in which they (...) have to make them. Therefore, there is an urgent need to reconsider clinical ethics and Value-Based Medicine. This study proposes a qualitative analysis of the values and the virtues of healthcare professionals in a cardiology hospital in order to establish how the former impact upon the medical and ethical decisions made by the latter. (shrink)
Bettina Schöne-Seifert and Marco Stier present a host of detailed and intriguing arguments to the effect that potentiality arguments have to be viewed as outdated due to developments in stem cell research, in particular the possibility of re-setting the development potential of differentiated cells, such as skin cells. However, their argument leaves them without an explanation of the intuitive difference between skin cells and human beings, which seems to be based on the assumption that a skin cell is merely part (...) of a human organism, while an embryo is at some point a human organism. An appropriately designed concept of the human organism can explain the difference, but also has the potential of re-dividing the argumentative landscape along familiar lines. (shrink)
Businesses that produce bioscience products—gene tests and therapies, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and medical devices—are regularly confronted with ethical issues concerning these technologies. Conflicts exist between those who support advancements in bioscience and those who fear the consequences of unfettered scientific license. As the debate surrounding bioscience grows, it will be increasingly important for business managers to consider the larger consequences of their work. This groundbreaking book follows industry research, development, and marketing of medical and bioscience products across a variety of fields, (...) including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and bio-agriculture. Compelling and current case studies highlight the ethical decisions business managers frequently face. With the increasing visibility and public expectation placed on businesses in this sector, managers need to understand the ethical and social issues. This book addresses that need and provides a framework for incorporating ethical analysis in business decision making. (shrink)
The topic of this panel is "Biotechnology: Boon or Bane for Spiritual Development." It has very often been said that we are on the threshold of the biotech century, and I am sure that all of you are very clearly aware that genetic engineering is going to totally reshape life on this planet in many ways: economically, politically, scientifically--particularly in terms of medicine, and also environmentally. Most important for all of us is what the relationship of this incredible technology will (...) be to the spiritual nature of human beings. Although an enormous amount has been written on biotechnology, very little has been written about the relationship between biotechnology, particularly genetic engineering, and the human spirit. (shrink)
A recent controversy over the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity's recommendation to censor two publications on genetically modified H5N1 avian influenza has generated concern over the threat to scientific freedom such censorship presents. In this paper, I argue that in the case of these studies, appeals to scientific freedom are not sufficient to motivate a rejection of censorship. I then use this conclusion to draw broader concerns about the ethics of dual-use research.
In this paper, we argue for the importance of incorporating a gendered perspective for the effective development of sustainable agricultural biotechnology systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Priority setting for agricultural policy and project development requires attention to gender issues specific to the demands of agricultural biotechnology. This is essential for successfully addressing food security and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). There has been a great deal of debate and literature on the implications of gender in agricultural development and policy. However, (...) the implications of gender in agricultural biotechnology and have received relatively less attention, especially in SSA. Based on interviews with key stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology across SSA, review of pertinent literature and field observations, we have found that incorporating a gendered perspective is critical for the sustainable development of agricultural biotechnology and requires attention in five areas: the inclusion of women, particularly women farmers, in decision-making around biotech/genetically modified (GM) crop and trait selection; equal representation of women as men in education for agricultural science and in agricultural biotechnology research and development professions; greater involvement of women in extension services and farmers’ associations for successful delivery of information about biotech crops equality between men and women in access to resources for biotech/GM crop cultivation; and increased control for women farmers over biotech/GM crop management and income generation. We explain the consequences of failing to include such gender-responsive considerations into priority setting for agricultural biotechnology development and policy in SSA and provide recommendations for how policy makers and project partners of development initiatives can avoid such oversights. (shrink)
There are certain kinds of risk for which governments, rather than individual actors, are increasingly held responsible. This article discusses how regulatory institutions can ensure an equitable distribution of risk between various groups such as rich and poor, and present and future generations. It focuses on cases of risk associated with technological and biotechnological innovation. After discussing various possibilities and difficulties of distribution, this article proposes a non-welfarist understanding of risk as a burden of cooperation.
Given the technical feasibility, not only scientists but also moral philosophers approve of an intervention in the genetic basis of our intellectual dispositions. Among the features not related to illnesses, intelligence seems to be an especially promising candidate for genetic enhancement, for intelligence is valued in every culture. The paper presents some of the arguments for and against genetic enhancement of intelligence. The author analyses what kind of good increased intelligence is: an instrumental good for the wellbeing of mankind, a (...) positional good for a given society or an individual, or something that is appreciated by the individual subject because of the positive experience the subject has by making use of it. Since such experiences are not bad in themselves the means of genetic enhancement have to be assessed and compared with accepted practices like education. The author comes to the conclusion that there are morally significant differences between genetic enhancement and accepted practices to enhance intelligence. (shrink)
Third World countries should exploit the genetic information stored in their flora and fauna to develop independent and highly competitive biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. The necessary condition for this policy to succeed is the reshaping of their universities and hospitals—to turn them into high-caliber research institutions dedicated to the creation of original knowledge and biomedical invention. Part of the service of the Third World foreign debt should be co-invested with the lending banks in high technology enterprises. This should be complemented (...) with an active program of investments in First World biotech companies and university research departments which could contribute to the solving of problems connected with the First World. These strategic alliances would allow effective training of molecular biologists, improvement of South American universities, and education of biotechnologists, managers, and lawyers in the complexities of high-technology business. The establishment of real joint ventures between developed and underdeveloped countries might contribute to change the present strained relations between the North and the South, and science and technology could become real forces of social and economic development. (shrink)
Sports physicians are continuously confronted with new biotechnological innovations. This applies not only to doping in sports, but to all kinds of so-called enhancement methods. One fundamental problem regarding the sports physician's self-image consists in a blurred distinction between therapeutic treatment and non-therapeutic performance enhancement. After a brief inventory of the sports physician's work environment I reject as insufficient the attempts to resolve the conflict of the sports physician by making it a classificatory problem. Followed by a critical assessment of (...) some ideas from the US President's Council on Bioethics, the formulation of ethical codes and attempts regarding a moral topography, it is argued that the sports physician's conflict cannot be resolved by the distinction between therapy and enhancement. Instead, we also have to consider the possibility that the therapy-based paradigm of medicine cannot do justice to the challenges of the continuously increasing technical manipulability of the human body and even our cognitive functions as well. At the same time we should not adhere to transhumanist ideas, because non-therapeutic interventions require clear criteria. Based on assistive technologies an alternative framework can be sketched that allows for the integration of therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes. After a thorough definition of standards and criteria, the role of the sports physician might be defined as that of an assistant for enhancement. Yet the process of defining such an alternative framework is a societal and political task that cannot be accomplished by the sports physicians themselves. Until these questions are answered sports physicians continue to find themselves in a structural dilemma that they partially can come to terms with through personal integrity. (shrink)
Recent advancements in stem-cell research have given scientists hope that new technologies will soon enable them to grow a variety of organs for transplantation into humans. Though such developments are still in their early stages, romantic prognosticators are hopeful that scientists will be capable of growing fully functioning and complex organs, such as hearts, kidneys, muscles, and livers. This raises the question of whether such profound medical developments might have other potentially fruitful applications. In the spirit of innovation, this paper (...) examines the ethical ramifications of a spin-off technology that has just begun being considered by scientists and enthusiastic entrepreneurs: animal organs grown, independently of their host animals, for food. -/- Most importantly, this paper presents the homegrown organs market as a philosopher's Gedankenexperiment come true. By comparing three of the primary arguments against the use of animals for meat production -- Peter Singer's Utilitarianism, Tom Regan's Kantianism, and Cora Diamond's non-cognitivism -- this paper proposes that the case of organs grown in a laboratory for food further accentuates the point that the critical moral difference between an animal and a slab of meat lies in the way in which the animal interacts with us, not in specific attributes or values intrinsic to that animal. It suggests that our main impetus for not eating, and even for protecting, animals ought to be grounded in our sense of who we are, in our own practical identity as ethical agents, which develops over a long course of interactive interrelations with human and non-human others. (shrink)
In public debates, agricultural biotechnology is almost invariably discussed as a potential threat to the environment and to human health. Without downplaying the risks associated with this technology we emphasize that if properly regulated, it can be a forceful tool to solve environmental problems and promote human health. Agricultural biotechnology can reduce environmental problems in at least three ways: it can diminish the need for environmentally damaging agricultural practices such as pesticides, fertilizers, tillage, and irrigation. It can reduce the land (...) area needed for agriculture, thus reducing the CO2 effect of agriculture and improving biodiversity. It can produce energy in a CO2-neutral way (especially if new technologies involving the cultivation of microalgae become successful). Furthermore, agricultural biotechnology can have positive effects on human health by decreasing occupational and dietary exposure to pesticides, improving the nutritional value of food, and producing pharmaceuticals more efficiently. We argue that those who wish to give high priority to environmental goals cannot afford any longer to be mere onlookers while others decide the future directions of agricultural biotechnology. (shrink)
Some believe that the harm or benefit of existence is assessed by comparing a person's actual state of wellbeing with the level of wellbeing they would have had had they never existed. This approach relies on ascribing a state or level of wellbeing to ‘nonexistent people’, which seems a peculiar practice: how can we attribute wellbeing to a ‘nonexistent person'? To explain away this oddity, some have argued that because no properties of wellbeing can be attributed to ‘nonexistent people’ such (...) people may be ascribed a neutral or zero level of wellbeing, setting the baseline for comparatively assessing the harm or benefit of coming into existence. However, this line of argumentation conflates the category of having zero wellbeing with the category of having no wellbeing. No Φ, unlike a zero level of Φ, is not comparable to levels of Φ — neutral, positive, or negative. Considering the nature of wellbeing and the fact that ‘nonexistent people’ cannot (metaphysically or conceptually) have wellbeing determinative properties, it follows that ‘nonexistent people’ have no wellbeing rather than zero wellbeing. (shrink)
Topic Read 01. Jan 09 Introduction/Pretest/Critical Thinking 02. Jan 11 Ethical Theory Homepage 03. Jan 16 More about Ethical Theory 04. Jan 18 Euthanasia CC-2 05. Jan 23 More about Euthanasia CC-4 06. Jan 25 Birth Defects CC-9 07. Jan 30 Euthanasia/Birth Defects Symposium 08. Feb 01 Animals as Research Subjects CC-10 09. Feb 06 More about Animals as Research Subjects 10. Feb 08 Humans as Research Subjects CC-11 11. Feb 13 Organ/Tissue Donation & Xenografts CC-13/14 12. Feb 15 Research (...) Symposium 13. Feb 20 MID-TERM EXAM 14. Feb 22 Sexual Orientation/Discrimination 15. Feb 27 Human Sexuality/Sexual Ethics Homepage 16. Mar 01 Human Sexuality Symposium 17. Mar 06 Pharmaceuticals & Empiricism 18. Mar 08 Recreational Drugs 19. Mar 20 HIV/AIDS CC-17 20. Mar 22 Contraception 21. Mar 27 Drugs/AIDS Symposium 22. Mar 29 Abortion CC-5 23. Apr 03 More about Abortion 24. Apr 05 Abortion Symposium 25. Apr 10 Assisted Reproduction CC-6 26. Apr 12 Cloning and Stem Cell Research CC-7/8 27. Apr 17 Cloning and Stem Cell Research Symposium 28. Apr 19 LATE-TERM EXAM 29. Apr 24 Medicare/HMO CC-18 30. Apr 26 Medicare/HMO Symposium.. (shrink)
A recurring objection to the exploration, development and deployment of radical new technologies is based on their implications with regards to social justice. In this article, using synthetic biology as an example, I explore this line of objection and how we ought to think about justice in the context of the development and introduction of radically new technologies. I argue that contrary to popular opinion, justice rarely provides a reason not to investigate, develop and introduce radical new technologies, although it (...) may have significant implications for how they ought to be introduced. In particular I focus on the time dependency of justice objections and argue that often these function by looking only at the implications of the introduction of the technology at the point of introduction, rather than the more important long-term impact on patterns of distribution and opportunity. (shrink)
This essay presents an argument against human cloning. The thrust of the argument is that cloning is morally impermissible inasmuch as it violates thedignity of the clone who, as a person, is as yet an end in himself or herself. This violation of human dignity is made possible by a confusion between what Aristotledescribes as things that are “by nature” and things that are “by art.” By attempting to “make” a person, the technique of cloning superimposes the logic of artupon (...) the domain of natural reproduction. Corresponding to the efficient, formal, and final causes in art are three specific ways in which the dignity of the clone isviolated. Notably, however, these same three violations of human dignity occur in the attitudes and practices of parents in natural reproduction, indicating that theproblem of cloning is but a symptom of a more deep-seated malaise. (shrink)
The last 10 years has seen the development and deployment of new biotechnologies not just as potential treatments but also as potential enhancements. The definition and differentiation of treatment (therapy) from enhancement is an ongoing clinical, ethical and social debate that ranges across a proliferating number of convergent technologies. Many of these innovations will ‘come-on-line’ as present generations of young people will be reaching adulthood and considering parenthood. This paper reports on a project that explored the possibilities for human enhancement (...) with young people in order to gather their attitudes towards enhancement and the types of arguments/reasoning they employ when thinking about the possibilities and the techniques. The project focused on if/how distinctions are made between treatment and enhancement, between the different techniques that might be used for enhancement (genetic and non-genetic) and perceptions of risks and benefits. The young people’s viewpoints, their methods of reasoning and underlying values are compared with those of bioethicists writing on the topic. (shrink)
The defining debate in this new century will be about technology and human enhancement, according to many across the political spectrum. Our ability to use science to enhance our bodies and minds – as opposed to its application for therapeutic purposes – is one of the most personal and therefore passionate issues in an era where emerging technologies seduce us with new and fantastic possibilities for our future. But in the process, we are forced to rethink what it means to (...) be human or, essentially, our own identity. For some, technology holds the promise of making us superhuman; for others, it offers a darker path toward becoming Frankenstein’s monster. (shrink)
Human enhancement – our ability to use technology to enhance our bodies and minds, as opposed to its application for therapeutic purposes – is a critical issue facing nanotechnology. It will be involved in some of the near-term applications of nanotechnology, with such research labs as MIT’s Institute for Soldier Technologies working on exoskeletons and other innovations that increase human strength and capabilities. It is also a core issue related to far-term predictions in nanotechnology, such as longevity, nanomedicine, artificial intelligence (...) and other issues. (shrink)
The debate over the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops is one where the heat to light ratio is often quite low. Both proponents and opponents of GM crops often resort more to rhetoric than argument. This paper attempts to use Philip Kitcher’s idea of a “well-ordered science” to bring coherence to the debate. While I cannot, of course, here decide when and where, if at all, GM crops should be used I do show how Kitcher’s approach provides a useful framework (...) in which to evaluate the desirability of using GM crops. At the least Kitcher’s approach allows us to see that the current state of research in to, and use of, GM crops is very far from the ideal of a well-ordered science and gives us a goal to work towards if we wish to achieve a more well-ordered agricultural policy. (shrink)
: The current difference in attitude toward germ-line enhancement in humans and nonhumans is unjustified. Society should be more cautious in modifying the genes of nonhumans and more bold in thinking about modifying our own genome. I identify four classes of arguments pertaining to germ-line enhancement: safety arguments, justice arguments, trust arguments, and naturalness arguments. The first three types are compelling, but do not distinguish between human and nonhuman cases. The final class of argument would justify a distinction between human (...) and nonhuman germ-line enhancement; however, this type of argument fails and, therefore, the discrepancy in attitude toward human and nonhuman germ-line enhancement is unjustified. (shrink)
A number of controversial topics related to bioethics and biotechnology 17 papers that deal with various aspects of release and development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), stem cells and cloning, privacy and bio-banking.
Individualized care and equality of care remain two imperatives for formulating any scientifically and morally informed public health policy. Yet both continue to be elusive goals, even in the age of genomics, proteomics, and evidence-based medicine. Nonetheless, with the rapid growth and improvement of human biotechnologies, the need to individualize therapies while allocating medical care equally may result partly from our biological constitution. Human beings are all unique, and their biological differences significantly influence variability in disease causation and therapeutic response (...) to treatments. However, because humans have equal moral worth, there is no ethically justifiable reason to establish an a .. (shrink)
I argue that contraception is morally wrong but that periodic abstinence (or natural family planning) is not. Further, I argue that altered nuclear transfer—a proposed technique for creating human stem cells without destroying human embryos—is morally wrong for the same reason that contraception is. Contrary to what readers might expect, my argument assumes nothing about the morality of cloning or abortion and requires no premises about God or natural teleology. Instead, I argue that contraception and altered nuclear transfer are morally (...) wrong because they fail to treat humanity as an inviolable end. (shrink)
The procurement of fetal tissue for transplantation may promise great benefit to those suffering from various pathologies, e.g., neural disorders, diabetes, renal problems, and radiation sickness. However, debates about the use of fetal tissue have proceeded without much attention to ethical theory and application. Two broad moral questions are addressed here, the first formal, the second substantive: Is there a framework from other moral paradigms to assist in ethical debates about the transplantation of fetal tissue? Does the use of fetal (...) tissue entail cooperation in abortion? To answer these questions I develop a theoretical framework by combining the paradigm of just-war reasoning with canons governing the use of cadaverous tissue. The kinds of safeguards provided by this paradigm allow fetal tissue to be procured without the taint of association with abortion. Central to solving the problem of cooperation is the distinction between intending and foreseeing a moral misdeed. Fetal researchers may foresee fetal death in elective abortions without intending such deaths to occur. Thus, even those who object unequivocally to elective abortion may condone the procurement of fetal tissue, if sufficient reason exists. Keywords: fetal tissue, casuistry, prima facie duties, just-war tenets, complicity CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)