In recent time there has been ample discussion concerning censorship of research conducted in two labs involved in avian influenza virus research. Much of the debate has centered on the question whether the methods and results should reach to open disclosure given the “dual use” nature of this research which can be used for nefarious purposes.
Recent discussions about moral enhancement presuppose and recommend sets of values that relate to both the Western tradition of moral philosophy and contemporary empirical results of natural and social sciences, including moral psychology. It is argued here that this is a typology of thought that requires a fundamental interrogation. Proponents of moral enhancement do not account for important critical analyses of moral discourse, beginning with that of Friedrich Nietzsche and continuing with more prominent twentieth century thinkers such as the poststructuralist (...) Michel Foucault, the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, and the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. In this paper, such analyses are taken into account to highlight the need for more fundamental philosophical interrogation of the project of moral enhancement. (shrink)
In response to adverse events in retroviral gene therapy clinical trials conducted in France to correct for X-linked severe combined immune deficiency disorder (X-SCID), an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration convened in October 2002, February 2003, and March 2005, to deliberate and provide recommendations for similarly sponsored research in the United States. A similar National Institutes of Health committee met in February 2003. In this article, I review the transcripts and/or minutes of these meetings to evaluate the (...) extent to which the ethical dimension of the research was engaged even as the molecular and clinical evidence was reviewed. I then provide representative ethical arguments to demonstrate the sort of ethical reasoning that should be included as part of the agenda of such committee meetings. (shrink)
BackgroundNormally, physicians understand they have a duty to treat patients, and they perform accordingly consistent with codes of medical practice, standards of care, and inner moral motivation. In the case of COVID-19 pandemic in a developing country such as Bangladesh, however, the fact is that some physicians decline either to report for duty or to treat patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. At issue ethically is whether such medical practitioners are to be automatically disciplined for dereliction of duty and gross negligence; (...) or, on the contrary, such physicians may legitimately claim a professional right of autonomous judgment, on the basis of which professional right they may justifiably decline to treat patients.MethodsThis ethical issue is examined with a view to providing some guidance and recommendations, insofar as the conditions of medical practice in an under-resourced country such as Bangladesh are vastly different from medical practice in an industrialized nation such as the USA. The concept of moral dilemma as discussed by philosopher Michael Shaw Perry and philosopher Immanuel Kant’s views on moral appeal to “emergency” are considered pertinent to sorting through the moral conundrum of medical care during pandemic.ResultsOur analysis allows for conditional physician discretion in the decision to treat COVID-19 patients, i.e., in the absence of personal protective equipment combined with claim of duty to family. Physicians are nonetheless expected to provide a minimum of initial clinical assessment and stabilization of a patient before initiating transfer of a patient to a “designated” COVID-19 hospital. The latter is to be done in coordination with the national center control room that can assure admission of a patient to a referral hospital prior to ambulance transport.ConclusionsThe presence of a moral dilemma in the pandemic situation of clinical care requires institutional authorities to exercise tolerance of individual physician moral decision about the duty to care. Hospital or government authority should respond to such decisions without introducing immediate sanction, such as suspension from all clinical duties or termination of licensure, and instead arrange for alternative clinical duties consistent with routine medical care. (shrink)
Comparative Political Theory and Cross-Cultural Philosophy explores new forms of philosophizing in the age of globalization by challenging the conventional border between the East and the West, as well as the traditional boundaries among different academic disciplines. This rich investigation demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural thinking in our reading of philosophical texts and explores how cross-cultural thinking transforms our understanding of the traditional philosophical paradigm.
In this paper I appropriate the philosophical critique of Michel Foucault as it applies to the engagement of Western science and indigenous peoples in the context of biomedical research. The science of population genetics, specifically as pursued in the Human Genome Diversity Project, is the obvious example to illustrate the contraposition of modern science and ‘indigenous science’, the tendency to depreciate and marginalize indigenous knowledge systems, and the subsumption of indigenous moral preferences in the juridical armature of international human rights (...) law. I suggest that international bioethicists may learn from Foucault’s critique, specifically of the need for vigilance about the knowledge/power relation expressed by the contraposition of modern science and ‘indigeneity’. (shrink)
Clinical psychologists remain puzzled about the diagnostic basis and therapeutic disposition of individuals who present with a clinical profile of psychopathy. Psychopaths have been characterized as lacking in conscience and presenting a mask of sanity, thus differentiating them from psychotics and neurotics. The clinical profile of the psychopathic personality seems at odds with Kant’s moral philosophy, in which Kant characterizes not only the central role of conscience in moral judgment, but in which Kant also insists that every person has a (...) conscience. In this paper the clinical assessments presented by Cleckley and Hare in particular are juxtaposed to Kant’s philosophical position, thereby to gain an understanding what is at the base of the psychopathic personality disorder. The clinical and the moral-philosophical assessments are reconciled, nonetheless leaving the clinical psychologist with the difficult task of therapeutic disposition. (shrink)
It is often stated that the German twentieth-century philosopher Martin Heidegger never wrote an ethics while undertaking his critique and deconstruction of the Western tradition of metaphysics. It is, therefore, difficult to know what manner of normative ethics, if any, is consistent with his “hermeneutic of Dasein” such as articulated in his Being and Time. However, in his “Letter on Humanism,” Heidegger refers to the tragedies of Sophocles as “preserving the ēthos” more originally, thus better, than does Aristotle’s ethics. Hence, (...) one may examine Sophocles’s tragedies guided by the hermeneutic Heidegger provides, especially through the concepts of authenticity and authentic selfhood. Doing so, it is argued here that Sophocles’s Philoctetes presents one such opportunity for moral understanding in the interplay of authenticity and inauthenticity, in particular through a study of the moral dilemma that Neoptolemus must resolve as he moves from a situation of inauthenticity to a display of authentic resolve. (shrink)
Stem cell research and associated or derivative biotechnologies are proceeding at a pace that has left bioethics behind as a discipline that is more or less reactionary to their developments. Further, much of the available ethical deliberation remains determined by the conceptual framework of late modern metaphysics and the correlative ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontology. Lacking, to any meaningful extent, is a sustained engagement with ontological and epistemological critiques, such as with “postmodern” thinking like that of Heidegger’s existential phenomenology. (...) Some basic “Heideggerian” conceptual strategies are reviewed here as a way of remedying this deficiency and adding to ethical deliberation about current stem cell research practices. (shrink)
This article discusses the ideas of philosophy. A question posed by Socrates to the young Hippocrates has its contemporary application in the case of all who consider themselves professionally competent to engage the human personality, whether they call the object of their engagement the mind, the soul, or the psyche. When an individual suffering an existential crisis seeks the counsel of psychiatrist, psychotherapist, counselor, or philosophic practitioner, he places himself into a relation of trust; entrusting mind, soul, and psyche to (...) the dialectical encounter. He expects that in so doing the practitioner represents something good and that the encounter will yield a good. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Islamic studies, as a discipline, are carried out according to various methodological commitments and hermeneutic presuppositions. This includes traditional conservative and apologetic perspectives, as well as Orientalist and revisionist, more or less historical-critical approaches to Islamic religious life. Interpretation of Islamic faith and practice is to be understood accordingly. Notwithstanding such methodological commitments, one can reasonably ask if and how a phenomenological clarification of ‘the Qur’an’ might add to this understanding. Phenomenological methods vary, in which case phenomenological description is dependent (...) on the methodological guideline adopted, e.g., that which follows Edmund Husserl or, alternatively, the approach offered by Martin Heidegger. This paper reviews these methodological issues with a view to illuminating an alternative comportment that sees the Qur’an as a phenomenon open to clarification, yet without commitment to epistemological or empirical methods of analysis. (shrink)
Rabbinic tradition, as given in the Palestinian and Babylonian versions of the Talmud, transmits an account of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah only to depreciate him for the “pariah” that he was during his lifetime. For one who accepts rabbinic authority, there can be no moral ambiguity about the character of the man, his beliefs, or his aspirations.1 The twelfth-century philosopher and rabbi Moses Maimonides spared no criticism of Elisha. Maimonides wrote The Guide for the Perplexed with the object of enlightening (...) “a religious man who has been trained to believe in the truth of our holy Law, who conscientiously fulfills his moral and religious duties, and at the same time has been successful in his philosophical studies .. (shrink)
At an international conference on philosophy and anthropology held in 1968, French deconstructionist Jacques Derrida remarked that an international philosophical encounter is an extremely rare thing in the world. Twenty years later, American moral philosopher Alasdair Maclntyre argued that moral discourse today entails the recognition that there are many rationalities, each with its conception of justice, such that one must ask the questions, "Which rationality? Whose justice?" In this paper I take note of these observations with reference to the claim (...) that human rights have universal validity, recognizing that international discussions about this claim are moments in which "the West" presumably experiences a "collocution" with discourses from "the margin". My argument proceeds to conclude that any legitimate discussion of human rights must acknowledge the need for movement from cultural hierarchy to cultural symmetry, thereby conceding that traditions alien to the Western tradition of moral discourse may be superior in rationality, both theoretical and practical, thereby being instructive about the requirements of global justice. (shrink)