Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption given that research in (...) social sciences poses various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond. (shrink)
Present laws and regulations even in democratic countries are not sufficient to prevent the grave environmental threats we face. Further, even environmental ethics, when they remain anthropocentric cannot propose a better approach. I argue that, taking in considerations the precautionary principle, and adopting the perspective of post-normal science, the ethics of integrity suggest a better way to reduce ecological threats and promote the human good globally.
Publication ethics, an important subtopic of scienceethics, deals with determination of the misconducts of science in performing research or in the dissemination of ideas, data and products. Science, the main features of which are secure, reliable and ethically obtained data, plays a major role in shaping the society. As long as science maintains its quality by being based on reliable and ethically obtained data, it will be possible to maintain its role in shaping (...) the society. This article is devoted to the presentation of opinions of PhD candidate students in health sciences in Ankara concerning publication ethics. The data obtained from 143 PhD students from the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary reveal limited but unique experiences. It also shows that plagiarism is one of the worst issues in the publication ethics from the perspective of these young academics. (shrink)
Educational worries about indoctrination are linked to matters of rationality and of the ethics of belief. These are both threatened by too 'open' approaches to moral education and by too 'closed' approaches to science education. The moral importance of what is involved points to the need to inform the teaching of all disciplines by reflection on their rational foundations.
Richard Koch first made his appearance in the 1920s with works published on the foundations of medicine. These publications describe the character of medicine as an action and the status of medicine within the theory of science. One of his conclusions is that medicine is not a science in the original sense of the word, but a practical discipline. It serves a practical purpose: to heal the sick. All medical knowledge is oriented towards this purpose, which also defines (...) the physician’s role. One kind of knowledge is diagnosis, which is strictly understood in relation to therapy, and is at the core of medical thinking. Diagnosis is not the assignment of a term of a species to a patient’s disease: this would not do justice to the individuality of a clinical manifestation and would fail to provide a reason for individual therapy. Nevertheless, the terms assigned to diseases, although fictitious, are not useless, but assist in differentiating various phenomena. These conclusions carry ethical consequences. Because the task of helping the sick constitutes medicine, morals not only set ethical limits: medicine originates in a moral decision. If there are no diseases but only individual sick people, disease can not be defined as an abnormality. The individual benefit to the patient must not necessarily be the complete restoration of health. With its object being incalculable, medicine cannot guarantee its own success. Here the physician has to develop principles that allow for the best possible response to the challenges faced in varying situations of conduct. (shrink)
Low-level community based ethics committees staffed by teachers, parents and community representatives can readily review children’s science fair projects subject to the revision of two core assumptions currently governing children’s Science Fairs. The first part of the paper recasts the New Zealand Royal Society guidelines from its primary emphasis on risk to a new assumption, without benefit there can be no risk. Equally, this revision gives more prominence to the participant information sheet, allowing it to act as (...) a quasi application form which provides ethical transparency between student researchers, participants and a community based ethics committee. A second core assumption, more accurately labeled a cult of originality, produces a random, open-ended array of student topics taking ethics review beyond the confidence level of most community based ethics review committees. This paper reins in Science Fair coordinators recommending they make community level ethics review more manageable by providing a list of preapproved topics for those students wanting to conduct research involving human participants. These revised assumptions create a workable division of labour. Teachers’ preapproved topics involving human participants are more likely to be low risk, permitting community level ethics review to focus primarily on two aspects of the minimization of harm: first, for all participants, especially those with diminished autonomy, and second, for the child researchers themselves, as some participants may be unknown to the student. These revised assumptions make science and ethics more accessible to public education thus demonstrating how Science Fairs can lead students and the community into better understanding the role and function that ethics has in all scientific research human participants. (shrink)
There might not be a specific nano-ethics, but there definitely is an ethics of new & emerging science and technology (NEST), with characteristic tropes and patterns of moral argumentation. Ethical discussion in and around nanoscience and technology reflects such NEST-ethics. We offer an inventory of the arguments, and show patterns in their evolution, in arenas full of proponents and opponents. We also show that there are some nano-specific issues: in how size matters, and when agency is (...) delegated to smart devices. Our overall approach is a pragmatist ethics, and we conclude that struggle (and learning) might be more productive than models emphasizing consensus. (shrink)
The relation between ethics and social science is often conceived as complementary, both disciplines cooperating in the solution of concrete moral problems. Against this, the paper argues that not only applied ethics but even certain parts of general ethics have to incorporate sociological and psychological data and theories from the start. Applied ethics depends on social science in order to asses the impact of its own principles on the concrete realities which these principles are (...) to regulate as well as in order to propose practice rules suited to adapt these principles to their respective contexts of application. Examples from medical ethics (embryo research) and ecological ethics (Leopold's land ethic) illustrate both the contingence of practice rules in relation to their underlying basic principles and the corresponding need for a co-operation between philosophy and empirical disciplines in judging their functional merits and demerits. In conclusion, the relevance of empirical hypotheses even for some of the perennial problems of ethics is shown by clarifying the role played by empirical theories in the controversies about the ethical differentiation between positive and negative responsibility and the relation between utility maximisation and (seemingly) independent criteria of distributive justice in the context of social distributions. (shrink)
Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal-production sector in the world. This leads to the question how we should guarantee fish welfare. Implementing welfare standards presupposes that we know how to weigh, define, and measure welfare. While at first glance these seem empirical questions, they cannot be answered without ethical reflection. Normative assumptions are made when weighing, defining, and measuring welfare. Moreover, the focus on welfare presupposes that welfare is a morally important concept. This in turn presupposes that we can define (...) the capacities of fish, which is an empirical undertaking that informs and is informed by ethical theories about the moral status of animals. In this article we want to illustrate the need for a constant interaction between empirical scientific research and ethics, in which both fields of research make their own contribution. This is not a novel claim. However, the case of fish sheds new light on this claim, because regarding fish there is still much empirical uncertainty and there is a plurality of moral views on all levels. Therefore, we do not only want to show the necessity of this interaction, but also the added value of a cooperation between ethicists and empirical scientists, such as biologists, physiologists, and ethologists. We demonstrate this by considering the different steps in the process of reflection about and implementation of fish welfare. (shrink)
Social scientists often lament the fact that philosophically trained ethicists pay limited attention to the insights they generate. This paper presents an overview of tendencies in sociological and anthropological studies of morality, ethics and bioethics, and suggests that a lack in philosophical interest might be related to a tendency among social scientists to employ either a deficit model (social science perspectives accommodate the sense of context that philosophical ethics lacks), a replacement model (social scientists have finally found (...) the “right way” of doing ethics), or a dismissal model (ethics should be abandoned all together as a misconstrued veil of power). Increased awareness of differences in styles of reasoning and objects of research interest might help to overcome the hostility, and an anthropological project is presented as an invitation to a dialogue informed by awareness of such differences. (shrink)
During the past decade scientists, public policy analysts, politicians, and laypeople, have become increasingly aware of the importance of ethical conduct in scientific research. In this timely book, David B. Resnik introduces the reader to the ethical dilemmas and questions that arise in scientific research. Some of the issues addressed in the book include ethical decision-making, the goals and methods of science, and misconduct in science. The Ethics of Science also discusses significant case studies such as (...) human and animal cloning, the Challenger accident and Tobacco research. This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the importance of ethics in science. (shrink)
This paper reports on the meeting of the Sounding Board of the EU Reprogenetics Project that was held in Budapest, Hungary, 6–9 November 2005. The Reprogenetics Project runs from 2004 until 2007 and has a brief to study the ethical aspects of human reproductive cloning and germline gene therapy. Discussions during The Budapest Meeting are reported in depth in this paper as well as the initiatives to involve the participating groups and others in ongoing collaborations with the goal of forming (...) an integrated network of European resources in the fields of ethics of science. (shrink)
This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith (...) ventures’ or ‘overbeliefs’. But our study of James in the first half of the chapter reveals a significant degree of unnoticed unity: The two distinct defenses of faith ventures he develops post-1900 are actually both versions of the Dialogue Model of the relationship between individual religiosity and scientific reasoning. One shared theme in the diverging approaches to doxastic responsibility suggested by the two versions is what some interpreters have called ‘the character issue’ in James’ writings. The second half of the chapter develops these connections and argues that a neo-Jamesian approach tying the ethics of belief with Rawlsian reasonable pluralism and with contemporary character epistemology results in a stronger yet more clearly delimited defense of responsible faith ventures. (shrink)
“Ethics” is used as a label for a new kind of expertise in the field of science and technology. At the same time, it is not clear what ethical expertise consists in and what its political status in modern democracies can be. Starting from the “participatory turn” in recent social research and policy, we will argue that bioethical reasoning has to include public views of and attitudes towards biomedicine. We will sketch the outlines of a bioethical conception of (...) “public understanding of ethics,” addressing three different issues: (a) the methodological relevance of moral questions and problems raised by lay persons in everyday life regarding biomedicine and technology, (b) the normative relevance of such lay moralities for the justification of ethical decisions, and (c) the necessity of public deliberation in this context. Finally, we draw conclusions in view of the concepts and methods such a conception of “public understanding of ethics” should employ. (shrink)
Rolston (1988) argues that in order to act ethically in the environment, moral agents must assume that their actions are potentially harmful, and then strive to prove otherwise before implementing that action. In order to determine whether or not an action in the environment is harmful requires the tools of applied epistemology in order to act in accord with Rolston’s ethical prescription. This link between ethics and epistemology demands a closer look at the relationship between confirmation theory, particularly notions (...) of plausibility, in the philosophy of science and environmental ethics. Upon taking this look, I conclude that, at least logically, we are no better off assuming that actions are maximally risky (Rolston) than when we assume minimal risk. “Our vulnerability to error is greatest not from the things that we include in the model, but from the prophecies we leave out entirely.” Francis Bretherton “What is the main epistemic problem concerning science? I take it that it is the explication of how we compare and evaluate theories, as a basis either for theory acceptance or for practical action.” Bas van Fraassen “We face two kinds of ethical difficulties. One is where we know what ought to be done but not how to get the company to do it. The other is where we do not know what is right. We do not know the facts, or how to weigh the facts, especially statistical ones. We do not know the probabilities for development of future technologies. We do not know how to attach values to facts, or how to trade this good off against that one.” Holmes Rolston. (shrink)
The International Union of History and Philosophy of Science organizing the 10th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science is at its cross-road: the alternative is mass-performance or creative exchange of ideas. The program is criticized because the thematic center in History and Philosophy of Science has been shifted too far into the realm of micro-fields of Logic and the time reduction for presentation and discussion of papers to 20 minutes should be reconsidered. Several outstanding (...) papers are shortly discussed: Martin-Löw on "Formalized Tarski-Semantics of Type Theory", Hoyningen-Huene on "Feyerabend and Kuhn", Leroux on "Helmholtz and Hertz", and Muller on "Bell meets Dirac". Finally the visiting-program is gratefully appreciated. (shrink)
To support the teaching of ethics in science and engineering, educational technologies offer a variety of functions: communication between students and instructors, production of documents, distribution of documents, archiving of class sessions, and access to remote resources. Instructors may choose to use these functions of the technologies at different levels of intensity, to support a variety of pedagogies, consistent with accepted good practices. Good pedagogical practices are illustrated in this paper with four examples of uses of educational technologies (...) in the teaching of ethics in science and engineering. Educational technologies impose costs for the purchase of hardware, licensing of software, hiring of support personnel, and training of instructors. Whether the benefits justify these costs is an unsettled question. While many researchers are studying the possible benefits of educational technologies, all instructors should assess the effectiveness of their practices. (shrink)
While Chinese societies often appear centralized and traditional, presumably impeding technology and innovation, these values may simply reflect the negative-leaning poles of Confucianism. This study proposes a Confucian work ethic dimension that stresses justified tradition. In combination with Western innovative cultures, this Chinese style might facilitate learning about knowledge and morality in an interaction seemingly unique to the Chinese science and technology sector. Specifically, contrary to the Western style that tolerates conflict to achieve harmony, Confucian work ethics -an (...) Eastern way -prefer to respect hierarchy to attain harmony. Samples from the multinational corporations in Shanghai and privately owned enterprises in Hsinchu of Taiwan represent two levels of Westernization. The findings reveal that the two types of cultures almost equally influence the facilitation of learning about morality, whereas the Western way more effectively teaches about professional knowledge and the Eastern way more effectively teaches general knowledge. In addition, though the samples from both locations enjoy positive advantages from their combined cultures, Shanghai appears more Westernized than Taiwan, and Taiwan benefits more from Confucian work ethics and a higher level of quality learning, particularly with regard to morality. This result may suggest the benefits of Confucius' ideas, if they are not used excessively to emphasize the negative aspects. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to articulate and advocate for an enhanced role for philosophers of science in the domain of science policy as well as within the science curriculum. I argue that philosophy of science as a field can learn from the successes as well as the mistakes of bioethics and begin to develop a new model that includes robust contributions to the science classroom, research collaborations with scientists, and a role for public (...) philosophy through involvement in science policy development. Through an analysis of two case studies, I illustrate how philosophers of science can make effective and productive contributions to science education as well as to interdisciplinary scientific research, and argue for the essential role of philosophers of science in the realm of science policy. (shrink)
(2012). Ethics of Science for Policy in the Environmental Governance of Biotechnology: MON810 Maize in Europe. Ethics, Policy & Environment: Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 321-340. doi: 10.1080/21550085.2012.730245.
Moral principles are indispensable for the assessment of the sciences. Medicine is one of the sciences in need of the guidance of ethics. Ethical principles are put forward and interpreted by society. Vital principles for bioethics include a high standard for professional medical workers, confidentiality between the physician and the patient, and informed consent. Marxist teaching calls for the unity of science and ethics, based on humanist ideas. Keywords: ethics of science, ethical neutrality, professional (...) class='Hi'>ethics, Marxism-Leninism, humanist ideals, USSR, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper deals with an approach to the integration of science (with technology and economics), ethics (with religion and mysticism), the arts (aesthetics) and Nature, in order to establish a world-view based on holistic, evolutionary ethics that could help with problem solving. The author suggests that this integration is possible with the aid of “Nature’s wisdom” which is mirrored in the macroscopic pattern of the ecosphere. The corresponding eco-principles represent the basis for unifying soft and hard sciences (...) resulting in “deep sciences”. Deduction and induction will remain the methodology for deep sciences and will include conventional experiments and aesthetic and sentient experiences. Perception becomes the decisive factor with the senses as operators for the building of consciousness through the subconscious. In this paper, an attempt at integrating the concepts of the “true”, the “right” and the “beautiful” with the aid of Nature’s wisdom is explained in more detail along with consequences. (shrink)
This paper examines the deployment of science studies within the field of medical ethics. For a short time, the discourse of medical ethics became a fertile ground for a dialogue between philosophically minded bioethicists and the philosophers of science who responded to Thomas Kuhn's challenge. In their discussion of the validity of Kuhn's work, these bioethicists suggested a distinct interpretation of Kuhn, emphasizing the elements in his account that had been independently developed by Michael Polanyi, and (...) propelling a view of science that retreated from idealizations of scientific method without sacrificing philosophical realism. Appropriating Polanyi, they extended his account of science to biology and medicine. The contribution of Karl Popper to the debate on the applicability of philosophy of science to the issues of medical ethics provides the opportunity to discuss the ways in which political agendas of different epistemologies of science intertwined with questions of concern to medical ethics. (shrink)
Background: Breaches of publication ethics such as plagiarism, data fabrication and redundant publication are recognised as forms of research misconduct that can undermine the scientific literature. We surveyed journal editors to determine their views about a range of publication ethics issues. Methods: Questionnaire sent to 524 editors-in-chief of Wiley-Blackwell science journals asking about the severity and frequency of 16 ethical issues at their journals, their confidence in handling such issues, and their awareness and use of guidelines. Results: (...) Responses were obtained from 231 editors (44%), of whom 48% edited healthcare journals. The general level of concern about the 16 issues was low, with mean severity scores of <1 (on a scale of 0–3) for all but one. The issue of greatest concern (mean score 1.19) was redundant publication. Most editors felt confident in handling the issues, with <15% feeling “not at all confident” for all but one of the issues (gift authorship, 22% not confident). Most editors believed such problems occurred less than once a year and >20% of the editors stated that 12 of the 16 items never occurred at their journal. However, 13%–47% did not know the frequency of the problems. Awareness and use of guidelines was generally low. Most editors were unaware of all except other journals’ instructions. Conclusions: Most editors of science journals seem not very concerned about publication ethics and believe that misconduct occurs only rarely in their journals. Many editors are unfamiliar with available guidelines but would welcome more guidance or training. (shrink)
Biomedical research on humans is an important part of medical progress. But, when lives are at risk, safety and ethical practices need to be the top priority. The need for the committees that regulate and oversee such research -- institutional review boards, or IRBs -- is growing. IRB members face difficult decisions every day. Evaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on Humans is a guide for new and veteran members of IRBs that will help them better understand (...) the issues involved and the tasks they will be required to perform. The most important purpose of an IRB is to protect the lives of human participants. For three major research areas -- drugs, medical devices, and genetic information -- Dennis J. Mazur shares the methods he has found useful in protecting human participants through the systematic review of scientific protocols and informed consent forms and through adherence to the federal regulations that apply. New members will gain understanding of how proposed research projects are to be reviewed from both scientific and ethical dimensions, how and when to ask key questions of principal investigators, how to work with principal investigators and research teams to ensure the best protection of human participants, and why to schedule regularly spaced reviews of a project that may have adverse outcomes. Based on Mazur's thirty years of research experience, this accessible and informative guide will give all IRB members the tools they need to protect human lives and facilitate the research process. (shrink)
A relatively new and exciting area of collaboration has begun between philosophy of mind and ethics. This paper attempts to explore aspects of this collaboration and how they bear upon traditional ethics. It is the author's contention that much of Western moral philosophy has been guided by largely unrecognized assumptions regarding reason, knowledge and conceptualization, and that when examined against empirical research in cognitive science, these assumptions turn out to be false -- or at the very least, (...) unrealistic for creatures with our cognitive structures. The fundamental tension between the Western idea of morality (as basically rule-following) and the way in which people actually confront and experience moral dilemmas is a result of our failure to take the insights of cognitive psychology seriously. This failure has had a dramatic impact on not only how we teach ethics, but how we attempt to live out lives. (shrink)
This collection of papers were originally presented during conferences on ethics in science and technology that UNESCO’s Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences (RUSHSAP) has been convening since 2005. Since intercultural communication and information-sharing are essential components of these deliberations, the books also provide theme-related discourse from the conferences.
Someday soon (if it hasn't happened in secret already), a human will be cloned, and mankind will embark on a scientific and moral journey whose destination cannot be foretold. In Copycats: The Science and Ethics of Cloning, Arlene Judith Klotzko describes the new world of possibilities that can be glimpsed over the horizon. In a lucid and engaging narrative, she explains that the technology to create clones of living beings already exists, inaugurated in 1996 by Dolly the sheep, (...) the first mammal cloned from a single adult cell. Dolly is the culmination of a long scientific quest to understand the puzzle of our development from one cell into a complex organism--the outcome of a "fantastic experiment" envisioned six decades before her birth. Scientists have since cloned mice, cows, goats, pigs, rabbits and cats. Using the same laboratory tools and techniques, they are trying to grow an embryo, cloned from a single cell of a human being. Their goal is not to make copies of existing people, but to design therapies for currently untreatable diseases and the afflictions of old age. Our fascination with cloning is about much more than science and its extraordinary medical implications. In riveting prose, full of illusions to art, music and the cinema, Klotzko shows why the prospect of human cloning triggers our dearest hopes and especially our darkest fears, forcing us to ponder anew what it means to be human. And what it would be like to have "a clone of your own.". (shrink)
The precautionary principle is a widely accepted policy norm for decision making under uncertainty in environmental management, However, some of the traditional ways of ensuring trustworthy results used in environmental science and of communicating them work contrary to the general goal of providing the political system and the public with as good an input as possible in the decision making process. For example, it is widely accepted that scientists should only communicate results fulfilling the traditional scientific standard for hypothesis (...) testing. The need for introducing complementary norms in environmental science is illustrated by a recent discussion among scientists on how the precautionary principle should be used in the context of marine biological studies. This discussion highlights the importance of the use of statistical power in communicating scientific results to decision makers and to the general public as well as to the scientific peers. We argue that it would be unethical to report only certainties—because of the need of early warnings—and it would in the same way be unethical to hide the uncertainties. Environmental science can make a better contribution to environmental decision making, if the available knowledge is communicated in a manner which allows for insight on how strong the evidence is. (shrink)
Proposals for an ethical code for scientists raise questions about the usefulness of the framework of professional ethics for debating relevant issues surrounding ethics and science. Is science a profession and if so should its professional ethic be self-derived or subject to external input? What needs to be addressed is the nature of the 'good' that science promotes. Explanations of science as a public good in terms of knowledge and diversity are possibilities, but (...) class='Hi'>science's answer to the basic philosophical question of hope in the human condition should not be overlooked. (shrink)
During most of his long philosophical career, Bertrand Russell was a strong moral subjectivist or emotivist who argued that ethics, because it cannot hope to arrive at truth, is not properly a part of either science or philosophy. In several works, however, most notably Philosophy and Politics and Human Society in Ethics and Politics, he attempted to bring his empiricism and his philosophy of science to bear on moral and other axiological questions. In these writings, he (...) appears to seek and to hope for the "imperium" of the title of this article, which contrasts these two positions, drawing on the former to critique the latter. (shrink)
This article sketches descriptive and normative components of a theory of ethical value. The normative component, which receives the lion’s share of attention, is developed by adapting Laudan’s levels of scientific discourse. The resulting levels of ethical discourse can be critically addressed through the use of inductive inference, falsification, and causal inference. These techniques are likewise appropriate to the corresponding levels of scientific discourse.
Continuing advances in human ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular levels (i.e. nanoscale science and engineering) offer many previously unimagined possibilities for scientific discovery and technological development. Paralleling these advances in the various science and engineering subdisciplines is the increasing realization that a number of associated social, ethical, environmental, economic and legal dimensions also need to be explored. An important component of such exploration entails the identification and analysis of the ways in which current and (...) prospective researchers in these fields conceptualize these dimensions of their work. Within the context of a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in nanomaterials processing and characterization at the University of Central Florida (2002–2004), here I present for discussion (i) details of a “nanotechnology ethics” seminar series developed specifically for students participating in the program, and (ii) an analysis of students’ and participating research faculty’s perspectives concerning social and ethical issues associated with nanotechnology research. I conclude with a brief discussion of implications presented by these issues for general scientific literacy and public science education policy. (shrink)
In this paper I will propose six principles governing the proper role of moral and social values in the conduct of scientific uivestigation. I offer them for your consideration, and hope that together we can sharpen their formulatton, explore their implications and test their acceptability. In making my proposals I draw considerably from my recent books, Valores e Atividade Científica (VAC, Lacey 1988) and Is Science Value Free? Values and Scientific Understanding (SVF, Lacey 1999a) The detailed argument, and elaboration (...) of the technical notions that I use are to be found in them (and summarized in Lacey 1999c). The sketch of the argument that I offer here is intended to display the motivation behind the proposed principles. (shrink)
UNESCO is an intergovernmental organization with 193 Member States. It is concerned with a broad range of issues regarding education, science and culture. It is the only UN organisation with a mandate in science. Since 1993 it is addressing ethics of science and technology, with special emphasis on bioethics. One major objective of the ethics programme is the development of international normative standards. This is particularly important since many Member States only have a limited infrastructure (...) in bioethics, lacking expertise, educational programs, bioethics committees and legal frameworks. UNESCO has recently adopted the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The focus of current activities is now on implementation of this Declaration. Three activities are discussed that aim at improving and reinforcing the ethics infrastructure in relation to science and technology: the Global Ethics Observatory, the Ethics Education Programme and the Assisting Bioethics Committees project. (shrink)
The intersection of ethics, computing, and genetics plots a space not yet adequately mapped, despite its importance, indeed, its rapidly growing importance. Its subdomains are well-enough known: or the study of ethical issues in genetics and genomics, is part of core curricula everywhere. Ethics and computing is an established subfield. Computing and geneticshas in little more than a decade progressed from subsubspecialty to the sine qua non of contemporary biomedical research, and it bids fair to transform clinical practice. (...) We must prepare for the complete digitization of the genomes of individual patients and the storage of millions of these genomes in very large databases. (shrink)
Recent research in ethics education shows a potentially problematic variation in content, curricular materials, and instruction. While ethics instruction is now widespread, studies have identified significant variation in both the goals and methods of ethics education, leaving researchers to conclude that many approaches may be inappropriately paired with goals that are unachievable. This paper speaks to these concerns by demonstrating the importance of aligning classroom-based assessments to clear ethical learning objectives in order to help students and instructors (...) track their progress toward meeting those objectives. Two studies at two different universities demonstrate the usefulness of classroom-based, formative assessments for improving the quality of students’ case responses in computational modeling and research ethics. (shrink)
Zachary Schrag would like to put the burden of proof for continuation of research ethics review in the Social Sciences on those who advocate for research ethics committees (RECs), and asks that we take the concerns that he raises seriously. I separate his concerns into a principled issue and a number of pragmatic issues. The principled issue concerns the justification for having research ethics committees; the pragmatic issues concern questions such as the effectiveness of review and the (...) expertise of the committee members. I argue that RECs can be justified by their role in improving ethical practice and in reducing wrongs done to research participants. I propose a model of review for doing this, which I think would also address the pragmatic issues raised. I then offer an account of where the UK ethics review system is now and suggest three steps which could improve social scienceethics review in the UK and move it in a perhaps more desirable direction. (shrink)
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Second Merit Criterion, or Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC), was introduced in 1997 as the result of an earlier Congressional movement to enhance the accountability and responsibility as well as the effectiveness of federally funded projects. We demonstrate that a robust understanding and appreciation of NSF BIC argues for a broader conception of research ethics in the sciences than is currently offered in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. This essay advocates augmenting RCR education (...) with training regarding broader impacts. We demonstrate that enhancing research ethics training in this way provides a more comprehensive understanding of the ethics relevant to scientific research and prepares scientists to think not only in terms of responsibly conducted science, but also of the role of science in responding to identified social needs and in adhering to principles of social justice. As universities respond to the mandate from America COMPETES to “provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research”, we urge institutions to embrace a more adequate conception of research ethics, what we call the Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Research, that addresses the full range of ethical issues relevant to scientific inquiry, including ethical issues related to the broader impacts of scientific research and practice. (shrink)
Behavioral science, unified in the way Gintis proposes, should affect ethics, which also finds itself in “disarray,” in three ways. First, it raises the standards. Second, it removes the easy targets of economic and sociobiological selfishness. Third, it provides methods, in particular the close coupling of theory and experiments, to construct a better ethics. (Published Online April 27 2007).
In recent times, representatives of American management science have been arguing increasingly for a functionalization of ethics to change economic thinking: what they are seeking is the systematic integration of ethics into the economic paradigm. Using the insights developed by Hirschman, I would like to show how one must first expose the rhetoric of those critics of change (referred to below as conservatives or reactionaries) in order then to implement that which is new (representatives of this approach (...) are referred to below as progressives). Such an ‹unmasking’ works particularly well when one can defuse the arguments of the reactionaries – which is precisely what one achieves by strategically integrating ethics into economics. In his work The Rhetoric of Reaction Hirschman examines three basic forms of reactionary thought: the perversity thesis, the futility thesis, and the jeopardy thesis. According to the perversity thesis, intended goals are transformed into their opposites. The futility thesis argues that the setting of goals is useless since history runs its own course independent of those goals. The jeopardy thesis claims to preserve what already exists since change might substantially endanger that which has already been achieved. The importance of Hirschman’s ideas for the strategic interplay between the academic disciplines can be seen quite clearly in the example of German business ethics. This will be displayed below with reference to Hirschman’s three theses. Finally, implications will be drawn for business ethics in general and for management theory in particular. (shrink)
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with (...) the naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)
Responsible data management is a multifaceted topic involving standards within the research community regarding research design and the sharing of data as well as the collection, selection, analysis and interpretation of data. Transparency in the manipulation of images is increasingly important in order to avoid misrepresentation of research findings, and research oversight is also critical in helping to assure the integrity of the research process. Intellectual property issues both unite and divide academe and industry in their approaches to data management. (...) Central to the realization and promulgation of responsible data management is clear and careful communication of standards and expectations within the research community to trainees as well as among colleagues. These topics are examined and explored in depth in a special issue of Science and Engineering Ethics on responsible data management. (shrink)
Third-party decision-makers, or spectators, have emerged as a useful empirical tool in modern social science research on moral motivation. Spectators of a sort also serve a central role in Adam Smith's moral theory. This paper compares these two types of spectatorship with respect to their goals, methodologies, visions of human nature and emphasis on moral rules. I find important similarities and differences and conclude that this comparison suggests significant opportunities for philosophical ethics to inform empirical and theoretical research (...) on moral preferences and vice versa. (shrink)
In this paper, the logical structure of ethics and economics as one unified science is investigated and found to be inhomogeneously represented in Austroliberal literature. This structure is here built from axioms, deductions, and definitions: It is first established in its self-supportive bareness, secondly represented by pivotal passages of libertarian [...].