Hot Topics: Philosophy & Ethics

Blog Posts (41)

October 16, 2018

“Are you lonesome tonight”: A Bioethics Perspective on a New Public Health Epidemic

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Ben Sasse, Senator (R-NB) and professor of history, writes in his new book Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Healthat in a world that is more interconnected through screens, we are more separate and alone than ever: “We’re literally dying of despair” he states.…

September 21, 2018

When Morality Isn’t So Moral: Price Gouging in Big Pharma

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

“I think it is a moral requirement to make money when you can…to sell the product for the highest price” Nirmal Mulyeto the Financial Times

I have been haunted by the above quote, first reported in the Financial Times on September 11.…

August 24, 2018

Best Interest, Harm, God’s Will, Parental Discretion, or Utility

This post also appears in the August 2018 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics.

by John D. Lantos, Ph.D

The impassioned and well-reasoned essays in this edition of the journal all agree with two claims: (1) children have moral claims that should be protected and recognized, and (2) we need ongoing discussions on how to determine and weigh the interests of children when we make decisions for them.…

May 11, 2018

Family-Physician Conflict on Medical Treatment: The Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans Cases

by John J. Paris, SJ

The widely publicized conflicts between families and physicians over treatment decisions for profoundly compromised children in the recent Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans cases revive topics as old as the history of Western medicine on who should determine medical treatment and on what standard.…

November 14, 2017

What is the purpose of Ethics Education?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Those of us who teach bioethics and ethics-in-general face a dilemma during every class session: How much of our own perspectives and analyses do we bring to the classroom?…

November 9, 2017

To Whom Do Children Belong?

This post also appears in the November 2017 issue of the American Journal of Bioethics. 

by John Lantos, Ph.D.

In this issue of AJOB, Navin and Wasserman (2017) argue that parents should have more discretion in clinical decision making than they currently do.…

October 20, 2017

ASBH Lifetime Achievement Award-2017-Steven H. Miles

bioethics.net is proud to present this live release of the talks given by the 2017 ASBH Lifetime Achievement Award honorees. If you are at the ASBH Meeting, you can read along; if you were unable to attend, then you can see their talks here.

August 9, 2017

Right to Try: Why Logic and Facts Won’t Win This One

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week the U.S. Senate passed bill S. 204, the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act of 2017.…

February 24, 2017

Good facts, calm deliberation, and wise counsel

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies (1927)

A recent exchange on the bioethics listserv began with a panicked message that the Presidential bioethics commissions website (bioethics.gov) has gone dark.…

February 21, 2017

Ethics, refugees, and the President’s Executive Order

by Nancy Kass, ScD
There are different political philosophies about the responsibilities of states regarding whether to accept refugees. While there is a political philosophy that might be called Nationalist in perspective that says, essentially, “Not my Problem,” the predominant philosophy globally is different.…

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Published Articles (17)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 1 - Jun 2018

Performance-Enhancing Drugs, Sport, and the Ideal of Natural Athletic Performance Sigmund Loland

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 5 - May 2018

Responding to Those Who Hope for a Miracle: Practices for Clinical Bioethicists Trevor M. Bibler, Myrick C. Shinall Jr. & Devan Stahl

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

The Impact of a Landmark Neuroscience Study on Free Will: A Qualitative Analysis of Articles Using Libet and Colleagues' Methods Victoria Saigle, Veljko Dubljević & Eric Racine

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

When Does Consciousness Matter? Lessons From the Minimally Conscious State Joseph Vukov

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 9 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Temporal Naturalism, Free Will, and the Cartesian Myth: Time Is NOT Illusory and We Are NOT ‘Talking Heads’ Gary Goldberg

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 2 - Feb 2018

I, My Love, and Apps Craig Klugman

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 3 - Oct 2017

Cogitas Ergo Es? Metaphysical Humility in Disorders of Consciousness Douglas C. McAdams, W. Kevin Conley II & G. Kevin Donovan

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 3 - Oct 2017

Is That the Same Person? Case Studies in Neurosurgery Nancy S. Jecker & Andrew L. Ko

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 10 - Oct 2017

Saving Life, Limb, and Eyesight: Assessing the Medical Rules of Eligibility During Armed Conflict Michael L. Gross

AJOB Neuroscience: Volume 8 Issue 2 - Jun 2017

I Miss Being Me: Phenomenological Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation Frederic Gilbert , Eliza Goddard , John Noel M. Viaña , Adrian Carter & Malcolm Horne

News (31)

December 11, 2018 9:15 am

What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry (The New York Times)

The Sarah Cannon Research Institute, based in Nashville, received nearly $8 million in payments from drug companies on behalf of its president for clinical operations, Dr. Howard Burris, largely for research work. Dozens of his articles published in prestigious medical journals did not include the required disclosures of those payments and relationships.

December 11, 2018 9:15 am

The CRISPR Baby Scandal Gets Worse by the Day (The Atlantic)

Before last week, few people had heard the name He Jiankui. But on November 25, the young Chinese researcher became the center of a global firestorm when it emerged that he had allegedly made the first crispr-edited babies, twin girls named Lulu and Nana. Antonio Regalado broke the story for MIT Technology Review, and He himself described the experiment at an international gene-editing summit in Hong Kong. After his talk, He revealed that another early pregnancy is under way.

It is still unclear if He did what he claims to have done. Nonetheless, the reaction was swift and negative. The crispr pioneer Jennifer Doudna says she was “horrified,” NIH Director Francis Collins said the experiment was “profoundly disturbing,” and even Julian Savulescu, an ethicist who has described gene-editing research as “a moral necessity,” described He’s work as “monstrous.”

December 8, 2018 10:15 am

Microsoft calls for laws to prevent facial recognition AI from hurting consumers (The LA Times)

Microsoft Corp. called for new legislation to govern artificial intelligence software for recognizing faces, advocating for human review and oversight of the technology in crucial cases.

“This includes where decisions may create a risk of bodily or emotional harm to a consumer, where there may be implications on human or fundamental rights, or where a consumer’s personal freedom or privacy may be impinged,” Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, wrote in a blog post published Thursday in conjunction with a speech on the topic at the Brookings Institution think tank.

December 6, 2018 4:15 pm

Should We Edit the Human Germline? Is Consensus Possible or Even Desirable? (The Hastings Center)

On the one hand, reports of a rogue scientist, He Jiankui, who contravened the scientific and ethical norms that should guide the development of human genome editing reinforces the need for clarity about those norms and international monitoring of advances in the field. On the other hand, it shows the weaknesses and limitations of voluntary efforts – like the summit – to guide scientists’ practices. They lack any real enforcement power on their own, and have largely served to ensure that human genome editing research can continue, rather than promote reflection on whether we should edit the human germline in the first place.

December 5, 2018 9:15 am

Genetically Modified People Are Walking Among Us (The New York Times)

It felt as if humanity had crossed an important line: In China, a scientist named He Jiankui announced on Monday that twins had been born in November with a gene that he had edited when they were embryos.

But in some ways this news is not new at all. A few genetically modified people already walk among us.

December 3, 2018 2:12 pm

Medical Detectives: The Last Hope for Families Coping With Rare Diseases (KQED Science)

All over the country, specialized strike teams of doctors are giving hope to families who are desperately searching for a diagnosis.

The medical sleuths have cracked more than a third of the 382 patient cases they’re pursuing, according to a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

December 3, 2018 9:00 am

Watching My Patient Die, Remotely (The New York Times)

As more and more hospitals have adopted electronic medical records, their records have become linked and you can follow your patients, virtually, hundreds of miles away.

December 2, 2018 9:00 am

Battle Against Ebola in Congo Pits Medical Hope Against Local Chaos (The New York Times)

A vaccine and new treatments are on hand, but the outbreak is in an area rife with unpredictable gunfire, bandits and suspicion of outsiders.

November 30, 2018 11:59 am

China Halts Work by Scientist Who Says He Edited Babies’ Genes (New York Times)

BEIJING — China said on Thursday that it had suspended the work of a scientist who claims to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, saying his conduct appeared to be unethical and in violation of Chinese law.

The scientist, He Jiankui, announced on Monday that he had used the gene-editing technique Crispr to alter embryos, which he implanted in the womb of a woman who gave birth to twin girls this month. At an international conference on Wednesday, he asserted that he was proud of what he had done.

November 27, 2018 1:46 pm

Researcher, American professor behind baby gene editing claims now under investigation (USA Today)

A Chinese researcher claiming to have led a team that genetically edited human babies is now under investigation, as well as an American professor who might have helped him.

He Jiankui, an associate professor at Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology of China, revealed his gene editing work on Monday to an organizer of an international conference on gene editing in Hong Kong. He told the Associated Press he altered the DNA of twin girls born this month to resist HIV and AIDS virus. He said he’s altered embryos for seven couples in fertility treatments, but only had one pregnancy result.

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