Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion (...) is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled. (shrink)
In recent years, bioethical discourse around the topic of ‘genetic enhancement’ has become increasingly politicized. We fear there is too much focus on the semantic question of whether we should call particular practices and emerging bio-technologies such as CRISPR ‘eugenics’, rather than the more important question of how we should view them from the perspective of ethics and policy. Here, we address the question of whether ‘eugenics’ can be defended and how proponents and critics of enhancement should engage with each (...) other. (shrink)
Cryonics—also known as cryopreservation or cryosuspension—is the preservation of legally dead individuals at ultra-low temperatures. Those who undergo this procedure hope that future technology will not only succeed in reviving them, but also cure them of the condition that led to their demise. In this sense, some hope that cryopreservation will allow people to continue living indefinitely. This book discusses the moral concerns of cryonics, both as a medical procedure and as an intermediate step toward life extension. In particular, Minerva (...) analyses the moral issues surrounding cryonics-related techniques by focusing on how they might impact the individuals who undergo cryosuspension, as well as society at large. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to introduce a philosophical analysis of a widely neglected condition which affects between 3% and 18% of the population. People affected by this condition experience a lower level of wellbeing than the average population and are discriminated against in both their professional and their personal life. I will argue that this form of discrimination should be taken more seriously in philosophical debate and that social, legal and medical measures ought to be taken in order (...) to improve the quality of life of people affected by this condition. (shrink)
The range of opportunities people enjoy in life largely depends on social, biological, and genetic factors for which individuals are not responsible. Philosophical debates about equality of opportunities have focussed mainly on addressing social determinants of inequalities. However, the introduction of human bioenhancement should make us reconsider what our commitment to equality entails. We propose a way of improving morally relevant equality that is centred on what we consider a fair distribution of bioenhancements. In the first part, we identify three (...) main positions in the debate on bioenhancement and equality, and we show how each of them fails to meet the demands of a serious commitment to equality. In the second part, we formulate a new proposal that we think better promotes equality of opportunities: people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds should be given access to bioenhancements while people from privileged socio-economic background should be prohibited from using them. We argue that those who are concerned about the inequality implications of bioenhancement should embrace this solution, rather than reject bioenhancement. (shrink)
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious public health and economic emergency, and although effective vaccines are the best weapon we have against it, there are groups and individuals who oppose certain kinds of vaccines because of personal moral or religious reasons. The most widely discussed case has been that of certain religious groups that oppose research on COVID-19 vaccines that use cell lines linked to abortions and that object to receiving those vaccine because of their moral opposition to abortion. (...) However, moral opposition to COVID-19 vaccine research can be based on other considerations, both secular and religious. We argue that religious or personal moral objections to vaccine research are unethical and irresponsible, and in an important sense often irrational. They are unethical because of the risk of causing serious harm to other people for no valid reason; irresponsible because they run counter to individual and collective responsibilities to contribute to important public health goals; and in the case of certain kinds of religious opposition, they might be irrational because they are internally inconsistent. All in all, our argument translates into the rather uncontroversial claim that we should prioritize people’s lives over religious freedom in vaccine research and vaccination roll out. (shrink)
In this article we discuss the moral and legal aspects of causing the death of a terminal patient in the hope of extending their life in the future. We call this theoretical procedure cryothanasia. We argue that administering cryothanasia is ethically different from administering euthanasia. Consequently, objections to euthanasia should not apply to cryothanasia, and cryothanasia could also be considered a legal option where euthanasia is illegal.
In his paper ‘The truth behind conscientious objection’ Nir Ben-Moshe develops a new approach aimed at justifying conscientious objection without relying on respect of moral integrity of the conscientious objector or tolerance towards her moral views.1 According to Ben-Moshe, the problem with justifications of CO based on moral integrity and tolerance is that ‘truth of conscience’s claims is irrelevant to their justification’. He argues, to the contrary, that whether the claims of the conscientious objector are true or false makes a (...) difference in assessing whether their objection is justifiable or not. He goes on explaining that someone’s CO can be justified if it can be proved that ‘conscience can express true moral claims’. Ben-Moshe then proceeds to explain how one can determine true moral claims. He develops an account of conscience that is modelled on that of Adam Smith. In particular, he uses the idea of the ‘impartial spectator’ to show how a true claim of conscience can emerge after careful thinking from the point of view of an impartial perspective. So, if the healthcare practitioner wants to object to a certain medical procedure after considering the issue at hand from the moral standpoint of such impartial spectator, then her claims of conscience are true (or …. (shrink)
Using a specific case as an example, the article argues that the Internet allows dissemination of academic ideas to the general public in ways that can sometimes pose a threat to academic freedom. Since academic freedom is a fundamental element of academia and since it benefits society at large, it is important to safeguard it. Among measures that can be taken in order to achieve this goal, the publication of anonymous research seems to be a good option.
In this paper, I analyse the issue of conscientious objection in relation to cosmetic surgery. I consider cases of doctors who might refuse to perform a cosmetic treatment because: (1) the treatment aims at achieving a goal which is not in the traditional scope of cosmetic surgery; (2) the motivation of the patient to undergo the surgery is considered trivial; (3) the patient wants to use the surgery to promote moral or political values that conflict with the doctor's ones; (4) (...) the patient requires an intervention that would benefit himself/herself, but could damage society at large. (shrink)
A very high percentage of the world population doesn’t exercise enough and, as a consequence, is at high risk of developing serious health conditions. Physical inactivity paired with a poor diet is the second cause of death in high income countries. In this paper, I suggest that transcranial direct stimulation holds promise for “couch potatoes” because it could be used to make them more active, without causing any major side-effect. I also argue that other, less safe, tools could be used (...) to achieve the goal of decreasing physical inactivity, insofar as they have overall fewer side-effects than physical inactivity. (shrink)
The fact that attractive people benefit from their good looks is not bad per se. Rather, what is worrisome is the fact that unattractive people are discriminated against, and that such discrimination negatively affects many aspects of their lives. I focus on the moral implications of this discrimination and on the possible measures that could be taken to alleviate it.
The Ethics of Cryonics In this paper I discuss the ethics of cryopreservation (understood as a treatment and as a long term project) of individuals declared legally dead. I consider various objections to this practice based on concerns about its selfishness, low chances of succeeding, and wastefulness. I also discuss objections against indefinite life extension and immortality.
One of three commentaries on ‐Scholarly Discussion of Infanticide?” by Mirko D. Garasic, and “Reflections from a Troubled Stream: Giubilini and Minerva on ‘After‐Birth Abortion,’” by Michael Hauskeller, from the July‐August 2012 issue.
The treatment-enhancement distinction is often used to delineate acceptable and unacceptable medical interventions. It is likely that future assistive and augmenting technologies will also soon develop to a level that they might be considered to provide users, in particular those with disabilities, with abilities that go beyond natural human limits, and become in effect an enhancing technology. In this paper, we describe how this process might take place, and discuss the moral implications of such developments. We argue that such developments (...) are morally acceptable and indeed desirable. (shrink)
This paper explores the ethical implications of a possible future technology; namely cryonics of embryos/fetuses extracted from the uterus. We argue that more research should be conducted in order to explore the feasibility of such technology. We highlight the advantages that this option would offer; including the foreseeable prevention of a considerable number of abortions.