Hot Topics: Philosophy & Ethics

Blog Posts (34)

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.…

October 5, 2016

Right to Try is A Snake Oil Sale to “Dismantle the FDA”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Right to Try laws have been getting a lot of press lately with California being the 32nd state to pass such a statute.…

August 12, 2016

Twisted Self-Deception

By: J.S. Blumenthal-Barby

 In his book, Self-Deception Unmasked, philosopher Ale Mele writes about two types of self-deception. There is the straight-forward kind, where a person falsely believes—in the face of strong evidence to the contrary—things that she would like to be true.…

July 13, 2016

Where’s the Social Justice?

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Picking up a newspaper or clicking to your favorite news site could lead one to believe that the U.S.…

July 13, 2016

Reason, Emotion, and Implanted Devices

by John D. Lantos, MD

Pullman and Hodgkinson present a case that, it seems, should have been an easy one. A competent adult makes a simple request to discontinue a medical therapy.…

April 26, 2016

Legal history ignored by opponents of medically assisted death

by Stuart Chambers, Ph.D.

In a recent article in the National Review, author and lawyer Wesley Smith takes issue with what he describes as an unprincipled attack against Not Dead Yet (NDY), an American disability rights organization.…

March 28, 2016

In Defense of Intuition- Or, a Lesson for Empirical Bioethics

by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

On March 17, 2016 philosopher Peter Railton delivered the Ethics, Politics, and Society lecture at Rice University.…

February 15, 2016

Does Bioethics Tell Us What to Do?

by J.S. Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D.

 Applied ethicists—including bioethicists—are in the business of making normative claims. Unlike, say, claims in meta-ethics, these are meant to guide action.…

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Published Articles (6)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 7 - Jul 2016

Withdrawing Versus Withholding Freedoms: Nudging and the Case of Tobacco Control Andreas T. Schmidt

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 2 - Feb 2016

The Porosity of Autonomy: Social and Biological Constitution of the Patient in Biomedicine Jonathan Beever & Nicolae Morar

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 10 - Oct 2015

Do Patients Want to Participate in Decisions About Their Own Medical Care? John D. Lantos

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 9 - Sep 2014

Addressing Dual Agency: Getting Specific About the Expectations of Professionalism Jon C. Tilburt

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 4 - Apr 2014

Egalitarianism and Moral Bioenhancement Robert Sparrow

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 14 Issue 2 - Feb 2014

Transferring Morality to Human–Nonhuman Chimeras Monika Piotrowska

News (15)

August 14, 2017 9:00 am

Americans are becoming more open to human genome editing, survey finds, but concerns remain (Science)

CRISPR, the powerful genome-editing tool, does a molecular tango to cut and modify DNA that is highly nuanced. The same subtlety applies to the public’s views on how best to use genome editing in humans, a new survey of adults in the United States shows.

May 12, 2017 9:00 am

Integrity starts with the health of research groups (Nature)

Last month, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report called Fostering Integrity in Research. Later this month, the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity will be held in Amsterdam. Over the years, universities have followed some funders’ mandates to improve the prevention and investigation of misconduct. Many discussions have been held about unreliable research. None of these initiatives pays sufficient attention to a specific issue: the research health of research groups and the people who lead them. This includes technical robustness of lab practices, assurance of ethical integrity and the psychological health and well-being of group members.

January 17, 2017 9:00 am

The Life of a Disabled Child, From Taunts to Hate Crimes (The New York Times)

Since the days when my mother wouldn’t let my older brother go out to play stickball if I wasn’t with him, there’s been a lot of progress in attitudes toward those we now call developmentally or intellectually challenged.

March 11, 2016 8:27 am

'Body Hacking' Movement Rises Ahead Of Moral Answers

A curious crowd lingered around Amal Graafstra as he carefully unpacked a pair of gloves, a small sterile blanket and a huge needle. A long line of people were waiting to get tiny computer chips implanted into their hands.

February 18, 2016 1:38 pm

Pope suggests women threatened by Zika virus could use contraception

Abortion “is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It’s a human evil,” he said. “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

June 11, 2014 2:06 pm

Politics in Your DNA

How the realities of biology complicate the “personhood movement.”

April 1, 2014 5:18 pm

Spite Is Good. Spite Works.

The “Iliad” may be a giant of Western literature, yet its plot hinges on a human impulse normally thought petty: spite.

July 3, 2013 2:52 pm

Would A Human Head Transplant Be Ethical?

A couple professors sound off about the ethics of transplanting one human’s head onto another human’s body.

June 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Morality study finds conservatives show a ‘general insensitivity to consequences’

When it comes to topics like abortion or assisted suicide, there seems to be no common ground between conservatives and liberals.

June 20, 2013 1:39 pm

Edmund D. Pellegrino, preeminent bioethicist, dies at 92

Edmund D. Pellegrino, a physician and former Catholic University president who was a leading figure in bioethics, a field of inquiry that has pushed doctors, patients and society at large to confront essential quandaries of caring for the sick, died June 13 at his home in Bethesda.

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