Owning up to our Agendas: On the Role and Limits of Science in Debates about Embryos and Brain Death

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 34 (1):58-76 (2006)
The ethical issues integral to embryo research and brain death are intertwined with comprehensive views of life that are not explicitly discussed in most policy debate. I consider three representative views – a naturalist, romantic, and theist – and show how these might inform the way practical ethical issues are addressed. I then consider in detail one influential argument in embryo research that attempts to bypass deep values. I show that this twinning argument is deeply flawed. It presupposes naturalist commitments that are at issue in the embryo research debate, and exhibits a blindness to alternative philosophical viewpoints. By considering the work of Hans Driesch, the discoverer of the facts of embryology integral to the twinning argument, I show how the twinning facts are compatible with romantic and theistic accounts that affirm full moral status for the early embryo. While these alternative interpretations might have a tenuous status in current scientific debate, they should be respected in ethical and policy debate
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DOI 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2006.00009.x
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
J. Rawls (1995). Political Liberalism. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Robert M. Veatch (1995). Abandoning Informed Consent. Hastings Center Report 25 (2):5-12.

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