New parents suddenly come face to face with myriad issues that demand careful attention but appear in a context unlikely to provide opportunities for extended or clear-headed critical reflection, whether at home with a new baby or in the neonatal intensive care unit. As such, their capacity for autonomy may be compromised. Attending to new parental autonomy as an extension of reproductive autonomy, and as a complicated phenomenon in its own right rather than simply as a matter to be balanced (...) against other autonomy rights, can help us to see how new parents might be aided in their quest for competency and good decision making. In this paper I show how a relational view of autonomy – attentive to the coercive effects of oppressive social norms and to the importance of developing autonomy competency, especially as related to self-trust – can improve our understanding of the situation of new parents and signal ways to cultivate and to better respect their autonomy. (shrink)
This article highlights Gareth Matthews's contributions to the field of philosophy for young children, noting especially the inventiveness of his style of engagement with children and his confidence in children's ability to analyze perplexing issues, from cosmology to death and dying. I relate here my experiences in introducing philosophical topics to adolescents, to show how Matthews's work can be successfully extended to older students, and I recommend taking philosophy outside the university as a way to foster critical thinking in young (...) students and to improve the public status of the profession. (shrink)
In this paper, I look at several examples that demonstrate what I see as a troubling tendency in much of mainstream bioethics to discount the views of disabled people. Following feminist political theorists who argue in favour of a stance of humility and sensitive inclusion for people who have been marginalized, I recommend that bioethicists adopt a presumption in favour of believing rather than discounting the claims of disabled people. By taking their claims at face value and engaging with disabled (...) people in open dialogue over impairment and disadvantage, bioethicists may take to heart an important lesson about human fragility and resilience. (shrink)
: Genetics researchers often work with distinct communities. To take moral account of how their research affects these communities, they need a richer conception of justice and they need to make those communities equal participants in decision-making about how the research is conducted and what is produced and published out of it.
: The formal justice model proposed by Anita Silvers in Disability, Discrimination, and Difference emphasizes the social model of disability and the need for full equality of opportunity, and it suggests that a distributive model of justice that gives special benefits to individuals with disabilities is self-defeating. Yet in that work, Silvers allows an exception for the "profoundly impaired." In this paper, I show how the formal justice theory falls short when it comes to defining and dealing with "profoundly impaired" (...) individuals and explore the ways in which making the exception raises serious theoretical concerns for the grounding of the formal justice model. (shrink)
Goering argues that children, at any age, have the potential to utilize logic and generate philosophical thinking through role-playing yet challenging games. This activity fosters a philosophical imagination for children.
As a philosopher interested in biomedical ethics, I find recent advances in genetic technologies both fascinating and frightening. Future technologies for genetic therapies and elimination of clearly deleterious genes offer us the ability to get rid of the cause of much human suffering, seemingly at its physiological root. But memories of past eugenics programs gone horribly awry (whether we speak of Hitler's program, California sterilization laws and practices of the 1920s, or even contemporary practices, such as attempts to work out (...) deals that exchange sterilization for early prison release) must make cautious our initial optimism for these generally well-intentioned programs. Most often the scientist proceeds in research with the best of intentions, but that does not make all scientific investigation worth pursuing. (shrink)