That science is fundamentally universal has been proclaimed innumerable times. But the precise geographical meaning of this universality has changed historically. This article examines conceptions of scientific internationalism from the Enlightenment to the Cold War, and their varying relations to cosmopolitanism, nationalism, socialism, and ‘the West’. These views are confronted with recent tendencies to cast science as a uniquely European product.
What makes individuals, groups, or even entire countries vulnerable? And why is vulnerability a concern in bioethics? A simple answer to both questions is that vulnerable individuals and groups are subject to exploitation, and exploitation is morally wrong. This analysis is limited to two areas. First is the context of multinational research, in which vulnerable people can be exploited even if they are not harmed, and harmed even if they are not exploited. Second is the situation of women, who are (...) made vulnerable in cultural settings or in entire countries in which they are oppressed and powerless. (edited). (shrink)
In this paper, I provide a brief summary of the context, outline the arguments for and against the controversial use of placebo controls, and focus on particular areas that I believe merit further discussion or clarification. On balance, I argue that the researchers failed in their duties to protect the best interests of their research subjects, and to promote distributive justice. I discuss the difficulties of obtaining valid consent in this research context, and argue that it is unethical to inform (...) women of their 'HIV' status without at least offering them prophylactic treatment for their unborn children. (edited). (shrink)
Background There has been debate on whether a global or unified field of bioethics exists. If bioethics is a unified global field, or at the very least a closely shared way of thinking, then we should expect bioethicists to behave the same way in their academic activities anywhere in the world. This paper investigates whether there is a 'global bioethics' in the sense of a unified academic community. Methods To address this question, we study the web-linking patterns of bioethics institutions, (...) the citation patterns of bioethics papers and the buying patterns of bioethics books. Results All three analyses indicate that there are geographical and institutional differences in the academic behavior of bioethicists and bioethics institutions. Conclusion These exploratory studies support the position that there is no unified global field of bioethics. This is a problem if the only reason is parochialism. But these regional differences are probably of less concern if one notices that bioethics comes in many not always mutually understandable dialects. (shrink)
Eugenics can be defined as the use of science applied to the qualitative and quantitative improvement of the human genome. The subject was initiated by Francis Galton with considerable support from Charles Darwin in the latter half of the 19th century. Its scope has increased enormously since the recent revolution in molecular genetics. Genetic files can be easily obtained for individuals either antenatally or at birth; somatic gene therapy has been introduced for some rare inborn errors of metabolism; and gene (...) manipulation of human germ-line cells will no doubt occur in the near future to generate organs for transplantation. The past history of eugenics has been appalling, with gross abuses in the USA between 1931 and 1945 when compulsory sterilization was practised; and in Germany between 1933 and 1945 when mass extermination and compulsory sterilization were performed. To prevent such abuses in the future statutory bodies, such as a genetics commission, should be established to provide guidance and rules of conduct for use of the new information and technologies as applied to the human genome. (shrink)
OBJECTIVES: To review the characteristics and performance of research ethics committees in Spain in the evaluation of multicentre clinical trial drug protocols. DESIGN: A prospective study of 100 applications. SETTING: Forty-one committees reviewing clinical trial protocols, involving 50 hospitals in 25 cities. MAIN MEASURES: Protocol-related features, characteristics of research ethics committees and evaluation dynamics. RESULTS: The 100 applications involved 15 protocols (of which 12 were multinational) with 12 drugs. Committees met monthly (except one). They had a mean number of 12 (...) members, requested a mean of six complete dossiers and nine additional copies of the protocol with a mean deadline of 14 days before the meeting. All applications were approved except three (two of the three were open-label long-term safety trials rejected by the same committee), which were approved by the other committees involved. The mean time from submission to approval was 64 days. The mean time from submission to arrival of the approval document at our offices was 85 days. Twenty-five committees raised queries for 38 of the 97 finally approved applications. Impact of evaluation fee, number of members, queries raised and experience of committees on timings were not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: Obtaining ethical approval is time-consuming. There is much diversity in the research ethics committees' performance. A remarkable delay (> 20 days) exists between the decision and the arrival of the written approval, suggesting administrative or organisational problems. (shrink)
Background Studying the contribution of individual countries to leading journals in a specific discipline can highlight which countries have the most impact on that discipline and whether a geographic bias exists. This article aims to examine the international distribution of publications in the field of bioethics. Methods Retrospective quantitative study of nine peer reviewed journals in the field of bioethics and medical ethics (Bioethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Hastings Center Report, Journal of Clinical Ethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Kennedy (...) Institute of Ethics Journal, Nursing Ethics, Christian Bioethics, and Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics). Results In total, 4,029 articles published between 1990 and 2003 were retrieved from the nine bioethical journals under study. The United States (59.3%, n = 2390), the United Kingdom (13.5%, n = 544), Canada (4%, n = 160) and Australia (3.8%, n = 154) had the highest number of publications in terms of absolute number of publications. When normalized to population size, smaller affluent countries, such as New Zealand, Finland and Sweden were more productive than the United States. The number of studies originating from the USA was decreasing in the period between 1990 and 2003. Conclusion While a lot of peer reviewed journals in the field of bioethics profile themselves as international journals, they certainly do not live up to what one would expect from an "international" journal. The fact that English speaking countries, and to a larger extent American authors, dominate the international journals in the field of bioethics is a clear geographic bias towards the bioethical discussions that are going on in these journals. (shrink)
Benefiting from a widely recognised experience of the field of bioethics, the Council of Europe which represents all the democratic countries of Europe, has embarked on the ambitious task of drafting a European Convention on bioethics. The purpose of this text is to set out fundamental values, such as respect for human dignity, free informed consent and non-commercialisation of the human body. In addition to this task, protocols will provide specific standards for the different fields concerned with the application of (...) biomedical sciences. The convention and the first two protocols (human experiments and organ transplants) are due to be ready for signature by mid 1994. (shrink)
Increasing European co-operation must take place in many areas, including medical ethics. Against the background of common cultural norms and pluralistic variation within political traditions, religion and lifestyles, Europe will have to converge towards unity within the field of medical ethics. This article examines how such convergence might develop with respect to four major areas: European research ethics committees, democratic health systems, the human genome project and rules for stopping futile treatments.
Addresses the issues at the heart of international medicine and social responsibility. A number of international declarations have proclaimed that health care is a fundamental human right. But if we accept this broad commitment, how should we concretely define the state’s responsibility for the health of its citizens? Although there is growing debate over this issue, there are few books for general readers that provide engaging accounts of critical incidents, practices, and ideas in the field of human rights, health care, (...) and medicine. Included in the book are case studies of such issues as AIDS among orphans in Romania, organ trafficking, prison conditions, health care rationing, medical research in the third world, and South Africa’s constitutionally guaranteed right of access to health care. It uses these topics to address themes of protection of vulnerable populations, equity and fairness in delivering competent medical care, informed consent and the free flow of information, and state responsibility for ensuring physical, mental, and social well-being. (shrink)
This paper explicates and defends a social-naturalist conception of internationality and intentions, where internationality of scientific expressions is fundamental. Meanings of expressions are a function of their place in language-systems and of the relations of systems to object-level evidence and associated community activities-including deliberation and experiment. Naturalizing internationality requires social-intellectual reconstruction exemplified by the scientific community at its best. This approach emphasizes normative elements of pragmatic conceptions of meaning and their function in orientation. It requires social conditions (...) and intellectual practices making knowledge of intentions possible. Scientific ends, methods, and meanings, together, constitute culturally evolved instruments of adaptation to, and reconstruction of, physical and cultural environments. -/- . (shrink)
Philosophy of history has been condemned in recent times; however, it is becoming increasingly evident that a new Europe cannot do without a critical philosophy of history that analyses values and gives hierarchical structure to diverse experiences and historical memories. From this hypothesis, a result of previous projects, the project “Philosophy of History and Values in the Europe of the 21st century” has these fundamental objectives: 1) critically analyze the complex forms of conceiving science, history (society), culture (languages, religion), law, (...) ethics and politics, in order to understand the full scope of the idea of Europe in which we find ourselves; 2) systemize them with the proposal for a new critical philosophy of history, based on a “practical turn” that contemplates the elements (real responsibility, solidarity and justice) that should form the foundation of social and ethical political relations; 3) apply them to the constructionof a new Europe, in which implicit diversity and the demands of internationality, interculturality and dialogue between the genders can reconcile itself with the basic principles of universality, equality and justice and with the establishment of minimum human rights. The conclusions of our research will help to provide solutions to conflicts that are occurring in the heart of Europe, which at the high point of globalization, transcend European borders. (shrink)
The World Federation of Scientific Workers (WFScW) and UNESCO share roots in the Social Relations of Science (SRS) movements and in the Franco-British scientific relations which developed in the 1930s. In this historical context (the Great Depression, the rise of Fascism and the Nazi use of science, the social and intellectual fascination for the USSR), a new model of scientific internationalism emerged, where science and politics mixed. Many progressive scientists were involved in the war efforts against Nazism, and tried to (...) prolong their international commitments into peacetime. They contributed to the establishment of the WFScW and of UNESCO in 1945–1946. Neither the WFScW nor UNESCO succeeded in achieving their initial aims. Another world emerged from the immediate post-war years, but it was not the world fancied by the progressive scientists from the mould of scientific internationalism. The aim of this article is to follow the path from the Franco-British networks towards the establishment of the WFScW and UNESCO; from an ideological scientific internationalism towards practical projects. It is to understand how these two bodies came to embody two different scientific internationalisms during the Cold War. (shrink)