Owning up to our Agendas: On the Role and Limits of Science in Debates about Embryos and Brain Death
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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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Citations of this work BETA
Kristin Zeiler (2009). Deadly Pluralism? Why Death-Concept, Death-Definition, Death-Criterion and Death-Test Pluralism Should Be Allowed, Even Though It Creates Some Problems. Bioethics 23 (8):450-459.
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