This essay argues against routine dissection exercises on animals under three headings. First, attaining goals of general scientific education does not require dissection. The training of specialists, in whose vocations dissection skills are essential, could then be accomplished without killing animals specifically for the purpose of acquiring those skills. Second, killing and dissecting animals for unnecessary exercises teaches students bad attitudes toward animal life. Third, moral principles cannot justify killing and dissecting animals but not humans; consequently, such (...) treatment of animals is prejudiced exploitation of the weak by the strong. (shrink)
The focus of the paper is the ethical issues associated with the practice of dissecting animals in lower level college biology classes. Several arguments against dissection are explored. Furthermore, the issue is examined from the point of view of the instructor's academic freedom and the point of view of a student's moral autonomy. It is argued that even though the arguments against dissection fail, it is very important to respect the moral autonomy of students who oppose the practice. (...) Often this can be accomplished in a manner that is consistent with academic freedom and good science education. (shrink)
This paper highlights the voices and experiences of individuals who objected to animal dissection in their high school science and biology classes. The data were collected via online surveys , and 8 of these participants took part in more in-depth telephone interviews. Participants were former students from Ontario, Canada, who discussed their experiences with animal dissection in general, and objection to dissection in particular, if applicable. The findings reveal that students who expressed objection to dissection experienced (...) a range of teacher responses, including pressure to participate, the request to join another group of students and watch, the choice to use a dissection alternative, warnings of compromised grades, and other responses. The study points to the importance of choice policies to ensure that dissection alternatives are available in classrooms. In this way, students can select among different options of how they would like to learn, and teachers can be prepared to accommodate those who choose not to dissect. (shrink)
Defenders of educational frog dissection tend to emphasize the claim that computer-simulated alternatives cannot replicate the same exact experience of slicing open a frog, with all its queasy and visceral impact. Without denying that point, I argue that this is not the only educational standard against which computer-simulated dissection should be evaluated. When real-world frog dissection is analyzed as a concrete technological practice rather than an assumed ideal, the particular educational advantages distinct to real-world dissection and (...) virtual dissection can be enumerated and compared. Building on the work of John Dewey and Don Ihde, I explore the still-expanding advantages of computer-simulated dissection, and in this proper context of comparison it becomes clear that virtual alternatives are increasingly the more educationally beneficial option. (shrink)
Anatomy education by cadaveric dissection teaches medical students not only the formal curriculum in human anatomy, but also a ‘hidden curriculum’ whereby they learn the attitudes, identities and behaviours expected of doctors. While dissection has been investigated as a challenge to and training in emotional regulation, little attention has been paid hitherto to the forms of medical knowledge and identity which students encounter and develop in the dissection room. This study analyses a corpus of 119 tributes written (...) by three consecutive cohorts of first-year medical students at a university to their cadaveric donors. We employ a Foucauldian discourse analysis methodology, seeking to elucidate the features of the subject position, the narrative ‘I’ or ‘we’ of the tributes, and the modes of knowledge which operate between that subject position and its object, the donor. We observe that students find themselves in a transitional state between personal and scientific modes of knowledge of the human, which correspond to different models of the subject position occupied by the student. While in many tributes these modes exist in an uneasy disjunction, others employ creative reflection to suggest new modes of knowledge and identity which may inform ethical practice. (shrink)
Using qualitative methods, we observed a series of fetal pig dissection sessions in a high school biology course and interviewed 17 students in the class.The students' responses to dissection varied considerably. Most felt that dissection was a positive experience, but a substantial minority viewed it primarily in negative terms. Almost all the students had some ambivalence about aspects of the fetal pig lab and believed that alternatives should be provided for students who object to the practice. We (...) argue that dissection remains a viable educational tool but should be an optional rather than compulsory component of the curriculum. (shrink)
The academic medical center provides a dramatic space for liturgies through various enactments of death and dying. I argue that anatomical dissection and organ transplantation are ersatz liturgies of death that parody the Eucharist – ‘this is my body given for you’ – and perpetuate a biopolitics of the sovereign subject. To this end, I employ two differing yet complementary conceptions of liturgy: James Smith’s concept of cultural liturgies and Giorgio Agamben’s notion of Christian liturgy as the paradigm for (...) modernity’s conception of effectiveness. Cultural liturgies are pedagogical rituals of ultimate concern, whether secular or religious. For Agamben, Christian liturgy provides the paradigm for modern effectiveness and duty ethics, such that actions are effective regardless of the virtue of the actor. I apply these dual notions to show how anatomical dissection and organ transplantation are medical ersatz liturgies of death. Anatomical dissection is a pedagogical liturgy because it forms the vision of medical trainees to see the body with a medical gaze. Organ donation is a biopolitical liturgy that requires the death of another, made wholly effective by the physician‐priest. Finally, I end with a brief reflection on how the liturgy of the Church re‐narrates death into a life everlasting. (shrink)
This article examines the role of dissection in the teaching of secondary biology and environmental science, within the context of the development of attitudes toward animals. Retrospective data concerning their experience in high school with dissection for 191 undergraduate education students are described, and their reported use of alternatives to invasive animal study are evaluated in relation to specific educational objectives in secondary science. It was found that most students were required to perform dissections, that many but not (...) most experienced negative and stable emotional reactions, and that teachers employed limited alternatives to dissection in their classes. The implications of this for secondary science teaching and for teacher education are discussed. (shrink)
Although at first glance it may seem an unlikely alliance, frogs and cyberfrogs certainly benefit from an unusual friendship that connects the virtual world of dissection simulation and the physical realm of nonhuman animal advocacy.This paper focuses on the symbiotic relationship of dissection simulation designers and animal advocates. Dissection simulation manufacturers benefit from this relationship through the purchasing and promotion of their products by animal advocacy organizations, and also they benefit from policy changes that encourage the use (...) of dissection simulations as alternatives to dissection. Reciprocally,animal advocacy organizations benefit by saving animal lives, gaining a new tool for convincing teachers to stop dissecting, and demonstrating that they are a pro-technology movement. The knowledges and values embedded in cyberfrogs make them both boundary objects and cyborgs. (shrink)
Though ubiquitous across the medical social sciences literature, the term “biomedicine” as an analytical concept remains remarkably slippery. It is argued here that this imprecision is due in part to the fact that biomedicine is comprised of three interrelated ontological spheres, each of which frames biomedicine as a distinct subject of investigation. This suggests that, depending upon one’s ontological commitment, the meaning of biomedicine will shift. From an empirical perspective, biomedicine takes on the appearance of a scientific enterprise and is (...) defined as a derivative category of Western science more generally. From an interpretive perspective, biomedicine represents a symbolic-cultural expression whose adherence to the principles of scientific objectivity conceals an ideological agenda. From a conceptual perspective, biomedicine represents an expression of social power that reflects structures of power and privilege within capitalist society. No one perspective exists in isolation and so the image of biomedicine from any one presents an incomplete understanding. It is the mutually-conditioning interrelations between these ontological spheres that account for biomedicine’s ongoing development. Thus, the ontological dissection of biomedicine that follows, with particular emphasis on the period of its formal crystallization in the latter nineteenth and early twentieth century, is intended to deepen our understanding of biomedicine as an analytical concept across the medical social sciences literature. (shrink)
In the lead article dissection is juxtaposed to simulation, but the problem is the example set on both sides is antiquated. I argue that a dynamic set of imaging technologies uses as in science documentaries is far superior to either the the 18th-19th century notions of biological education illustrated is what is needed.
Hamlet: Has this fellow no feelings of his business, that he sings at grave-making?Horatio: Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.(Hamlet Act V, scene i)1Hamlet is appalled by the gravedigger's insensitivity towards death and corpses. Horatio explains that the gravedigger is so accustomed to such things that he no longer shares Hamlet's seriousness. We contend that human dissection may make in medical students and doctors the “property of easiness” in dealing with death and the human body, (...) and that this may have negative consequences for medics and patients. It is perhaps worth emphasising at the outset what this essay is NOT about. We do not wish to call into question the value of dissection in medical education; to charge dissection with being an inefficient or ineffective means of teaching and learning human anatomy is not our intent. Instead, we explore, through the medium of literature, experiences of dissection, and what kind of student and doctor may be encouraged or produced by the dissection room; what price might be paid for a practical, first-hand experience of human anatomy. (shrink)
At the turn of the nineteenth century when anatomy and hands-on dissection became the prerequisite for a medical career, the medical community in England and France increasingly relied upon visual representations as part of a complex system of reinforcement of their professional goals. The production of novel illustrated textbooks that disseminated arguments through systematizing illustrations were thus integral to their professional status. Through an examination of a series of realistic diagrams that outlined the new methods of surgical and preservation (...) techniques, this paper argues that visual diagrams were instrumental in supporting the systematic codification and prestige on which nineteenth-century medical knowledge was to depend. It analyses the visual rhetoric and the complex representational languages of these intricate and equally precise illustrations by asking how these illustrations embraced new representational strategies as well as embodied idealizing aesthetic techniques. (shrink)
CHARLES DUPRAS | : L’épigénétique est un champ d’études qui s’intéresse aux modifications biochimiques et aux changements dans la structure tridimensionnelle de l’ADN ayant pour effet de contraindre ou de faciliter la lecture et l’expression des gènes. Au cours des dix dernières années, l’épigénétique a attiré l’attention d’un nombre croissant de chercheurs en sciences sociales, puisqu’elle semble venir confirmer, cette fois sur le plan moléculaire, le rôle déterminant de l’environnement développemental des personnes dans la configuration de leur individualité biologique et (...) dans la programmation de leur santé future. Cet article se penche sur les implications épistémologiques potentielles de l’épigénétique. Nous distinguons et décrivons trois perspectives socio-anthropologiques complémentaires, adoptées par différents auteurs, sur le rapprochement des concepts de « nature » et de « culture » par l’épigénétique : la socialisation du biologique, la biologisation du social et la superposition nature-culture. | : Epigenetics is a field of study that focuses on biochemical modifications and changes in the tridimensional structure of DNA that have the effect of constraining or facilitating the reading and expression of genes. Over the last ten years, epigenetics has captured the attention of several social scientists since it appears to confirm, this time at the molecular level, the determining role of the developing environment of people in configurating their biological individuality and programming their future health. This article discusses the potential epistemological implications of epigenetics. It distinguishes and describes three complementary socio-anthropological perspectives, taken by different authors, on the rapprochement of the concepts “nature” and “nurture” by epigenetics: the socialization of the biological, the biologization of the social, and the superimposition nature-nurture. (shrink)
In Plat. Prot. 349d2-351b2, first Socrates leads Protagoras to acknowledge that wisdom and courage are the same thing, then Protagoras accuses him of having put in his mouth words that he never said. Starting from a new reconstruction of the logic of Socrates’ demonstration, I will show how this is more complex, sophistic, and corresponding to Protagoras’ accusation than what is usually believed.