This paper explores the limitations of epistemic scientism for understanding the role the concept of race plays in assisted reproductive technology practices. Two major limitations centre around the desire to use scientific knowledge to bring about social improvement. In the first case, undue focus is placed on debunking the scientific reality of racial categories and characteristics. The alternative to this approach is to focus instead on the way the race idea functions in ART practices. Doing so reveals how the race (...) idea helps to define the reproductive “problems” different groups of women are experiencing and to dictate when and how they should be “helped”; helps to resolve tensions about who should be considered the real parents of children produced by reproductive technologies; and is used to limit ART use where that use threatens to denaturalize the very sociopolitical landscape the race idea has created. In the second case, scientific knowledge regarding reproduction is thought to call for technological control over that reproduction. This leads to an overemphasis on personal responsibility and a depoliticization of racialized social inequalities. (shrink)
Philosophers working in bioethics often hope to identify abstract principles and universal values to guide professional practice, relying on ideals of objectivity and impartiality, and on the power of rational deliberation. Such a focus has made it difficult to address issues arising from group-based, sociohistorical differences like race and ethnicity. This essay offers a survey of some of the major issues concerning race in the field of bioethics. These issues include a long history of racialized abuse in medical and scientific (...) research, reproductive injustice and abuse against women of color, and persistent racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. health and health care. The essay also argues that the field of bioethics as a whole would be improved by taking the experience of racial minorities into account in all its theorizing. Philosophers can aid in this task by expanding their theoretical focus beyond questions of individual rights to questions of social justice, beyond informed consent to community collaboration, and beyond cultural competency to both structural competency and cultural humility. (shrink)
Applying social construction theory to the study of other animals, this article reports research conducted on ecotourist constructions of orangutans. Two "stories" dominated: Orangutan as Child and Orangutan as Pristine. The cultural and historical specificity of these constructs as well as their implications for conservation are discussed.
Empirical evidence of our changing climate is frequently interpreted through the lens of either optimism or pessimism. In tandem with this, ethical responses can oscillate from myopic ‘business as usual’ to misanthropic ‘lifeboat ethics’. In this paper I argue that these are inadequate and unworthy positions from which to begin in Christian ethics. The question of sharing the burdens of climate-change mitigation and adaptation is the crucial task facing the world community. The development of the burden-sharing rules—sector based as well (...) as country based—since the Kyoto agreement will be evaluated from the perspective of three theological ethical principles: justice, solidarity and subsidiarity. Lastly I suggest that creation serves as a ground for developing shared perspectives in the ethics of environmental questions in the context of intercultural and interfaith dialogue. (shrink)
The role of intuition in Kant's theory of mathematics is similar to instantiation rules in first-order logic according to Jaakko Hintikka. This paper is a critical examination of Hintikka's interpretation and reconstruction of Kant's theory. It is argued that Kant's position is question-begging on this interpretation.
This paper attempts a critical examination of the thesis that an apprenticeship to a Lancaster druggist was, for Edward Frankland, a wholly inappropriate preparation for a career in chemistry. This view, which stems directly from Frankland himself, is defective in several ways. It fails to take into account certain benefits which he accepted as valuable; it implies an exceptional degree of ‘negligence’ which was in fact quite typical; it ignores certain positive indicators of the value of such experience; and it (...) involves questionable value-judgments on the behaviour of one individual, the druggist Stephen Ross. Although Frankland's perspective may be no longer acceptable, the reasons for its inadequacy are perhaps the most important aspect of the whole affair. Their identification raises questions of historiography of wider significance, while the whole episode underlines certain issues in scientific training that were to become crucial in the growth of Victorian chemistry in Britain. (shrink)
Serving as a commentary on Kelly Oliver's essay, “Enhancing Evolution: Whose Body? Whose Choice?” this essay picks up on its themes of mastery, choice, the man-made, and the natural in order to further Oliver's critique of a particular liberal debate over the ethical permissibility of reprogenetics. The specific focus of the commentary is the hidden centrality of race to the reprogenetics debate, within which, I suggest, race serves as an implicit limit of acceptability in two important ways. First, on the (...) societal level, an explicitly racial focus marks the point at which a eugenic project becomes immoral, such that it is the refusal to mention race that renders the new eugenics acceptable. Second, in the realm of personal reproductive “choice,” race is portrayed as that which is naturally transmitted rather than deliberately chosen and, thus, serves as a limit on what are considered morally correct or even viable personal reproductive choices. The effect of this limiting and its naturalization is to obscure both the ways in which race has always been policed in reproduction and the social consequences of that policing and, thereby, to uphold the status quo of social inequality. (shrink)
This is an edited collection that is intended both as a primer for core concepts and principles in research ethics and as an in-depth exploration of the contextualisation of these principles in practice across key disciplines.