: New genetic technologies continue to emerge that allow us to control the genetic endowment of future children. Increasingly the claim is made that it is morally "irresponsible" for parents to fail to use such technologies when they know their possible children are at risk for a serious genetic disorder. We believe such charges are often unwarranted. Our goal in this article is to offer a careful conceptual analysis of the language of irresponsibility in an effort to encourage more care (...) in its use. Two of our more important sub-claims are: (1) A fair judgment of genetic irresponsibility necessarily requires a thick background description of the specific reproductive choice; and (2) there is no necessary connection between an act's being morally wrong and its being irresponsible. These are distinct judgments requiring distinct justifications. (shrink)
Bioethicists appearing in the media have been accused of "shooting from the hip" (Rachels, 1991). The criticism is sometimes justified. We identify some reasons our interactions with the press can have bad results and suggest remedies. In particular we describe a target (fostering better public dialogue), obstacles to hitting the target (such as intrinsic and accidental defects in our knowledge) and suggest some practical ways to surmont those obstacles (including seeking out ways to write or speak at length, rather than (...) in sound bites). We make use of our own research into the way journalists quote bioethicists. We end by suggesting that the profession as a whole look into this question more fully. (shrink)
The “paradox of deontology” depends partly upon ignoring the special responsibility each person has for her own actions, and partly upon ignoring the essential differences between refraining from X and persuading another to refrain. But only in part; the paradoxical situations schematized by Shaw can occasionally occur. When they do, his pragmatic defense of deontology is sound.
HOWARD POOLE ARGUES THAT "THERE IS A RATIONAL NECESSITY LINKING NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TO PORNOGRAPHY WITH A READINESS TO IMPOSE CENSORSHIP." HIS ARGUMENT HAS THREE PREMISES: FIRST, THAT TO CALL SOMETHING OBSCENE IS TO EXPRESS STRONG BUT OFTEN NONMORAL DISAPPROVAL; SECOND, THAT THIS STRONG DISAPPROVAL COMMITS ONE TO SEEK LEGISLATION KEEPING THE MATERIAL FROM CHILDREN; THIRD, THAT SUCH LEGISLATION IS A FORM OF CENSORSHIP. I QUESTION EACH PREMISE.