Ethics

When we are patients, few of us understand the implications and risks of the complex procedures modern medicine has developed for curing diseases and altering consciousness and human biology. Here is a book that attempts to clarify the issues raised by such complexities. The work is a primer in the language of medical ethics - a language we must understand if we are to make sense out of the private and public dilemmas modern medical progress is bringing our way. At the beginning of each chapter, three fictional cases illustrate dilemmas that can arise in one of seven areas of modern medicine: experimentation with human subjects; genetic counseling and screening-, abortion; behavior modification with drugs, surgery, and psychology; treatment of the dying and dead; allocation of scarce medical resources; and genetic engineering. These fictional cases lead into a review of a broad range of thinking about the ethics involved. From the facts given, the reader is equipped to form an opinion in each case. The book draws no conclusions
In this book, nine thought-leaders engage with some of the hottest moral issues in science and ethics. Based on talks originally given at the annual “Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science,” the chapters explore interconnections between the three areas in an engaging and accessible way. Addressing a mixed public audience, the authors go beyond dry theory to explore some of the difficult moral questions that face scientists and policy-makers every day. The introduction presents a theoretical framework for the book, defining the term “bioethics” as extending well beyond human well-being to wider relations between humans, nonhuman animals, the environment, and biotechnologies. Three sections then explore the complex relationship between moral value, scientific knowledge, and policy making. The first section starts with thoughts on nonhuman animal pain and moves to a discussion of animal understanding. The second section explores climate change and the impact of “green” nanotechnology on environmental concerns. The final section begins with dialog about ethical issues in nanotechnology, moves to an exploration of bio-banks (a technology with broad potential medical and environmental impact), and ends with a survey of the impact of biotechnologies on (synthetic) life itself.   Contents: Part 1: Animals: Moral agency, moral considerability, and consciousness (Daniel Kelly) and From minds to minding (Mark Bernstein); Animal Pain: What is it and why does it matter? (Bernard Rollin). Part 2: Environment: The future of environmental ethics (Holmes Rolston III); Climate change, human rights, and the trillionth ton of carbon (Henry Shue); Ethics, environment, and nanotechnology (Barbara Karn). Part 3: Biotechnologies: Nanotechnologies: Science and society (James Leary); Ethical issues in constructing and using bio-banks (Eric Meslin); Synthetic life: A new industrial revolution (Gregory Kaebnick).   
Re-Visioning Terrorism: A Humanistic Perspective is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that aims to offer a plurality of visions on terrorism, expanding its meaning across time and space and raising new questions that explore its multifaceted occurrences. The different ideological, philosophical, and cultural perspectives emerging from the essays and the variety of humanistic disciplines involved intend to provide a complex and even contradictory picture that emphasizes the fact that there cannot be a univocal conception and response to terrorism, in either the practical or the intellectual domain.   The editors borrow the concept of rack focus response from cinema to create an innovative and flexible interpretative approach to terrorism. Rack focus refers to the change of focus of a lens so that one image can come into focus while another moves out of focus. Though the focal distance changes, the reality has not changed. Both items and events coexist, but given the nature of optics we can only see clearly one or the other. This occurs not just with lenses, but also with human perceptions, be they emotional or intellectual. The rack focus response requires that we try to shift focus from the depth of field that is absolutely clear and familiar to the “other” that is unclear and unfamiliar. This exercise will lead us to reflect on terroristic events in a more nuanced, nondogmatic, and flexible manner.   The essays featured in this volume range from philosophical interpretations of terrorism, to historical analysis of terror through the ages, to cinematic, artistic, and narrative representations of terroristic events that are not limited to 9/11.
  Sources of Significance confronts consumer capitalism and religious fundamentalism as symptoms of death denial and degenerated cultural heroisms. Advancing and synthesizing the ideas of Ernest Becker, Kenneth Burke, Hans Jonas, Erving Goffman, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Epictetus, this multidisciplinary work offers a sustained response and corrective. It outlines heroisms worth wanting and reveals the forms of gratitude, courage, and purpose that emerge as people come to terms with the meaning of mortality.   Corey Anton opens a contemporary dialogue spanning theism, atheism, agnosticism, and spiritualist humanism by re-examining basic topics such as language, self-esteem, ambiguity, guilt, ritual, sacrifice, and transcendence. Acknowledging the growing need for theologies that are compatible with modern science, Anton shows how today’s consumerist lifestyles distort and trivialize the need for self-worth, and he argues that each person faces the genuinely heroic tasks of contributing to the world’s beauty, harmony, and resources; of forgiving the cosmos for self-conscious finitude; and of gratefully accepting the ambiguity of life’s gifts.   Winner: 2011 Best Book Award from the Philosophy of Communication Division of the National Communication Association
The traditional equation of the death of a person with irreversible cessation of cardiorespiratory function-the absence of heartbeat, pulse, or respiration-is being replaced by modern medicine with a definition of death in terms of irreversible destruction of function-brain death. In this book, the author thoughtfully and analytically surveys and evaluates the arguments for and against equating the death of a person with brain death. The ethical issues-both theoretical and practical-are explored against a rich and comprehensive background of current medical thought and practice and the most recent legal reasoning and opinion.
Over twenty years after the 1989 UN General Assembly vote to open the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for signature and ratification by UN member states, the United States remains one of only two UN members not to have ratified it. The other is Somalia. Child Rights: The Movement, International Law, and Opposition explores the reasons for this resistance. It details the objections that have arisen to accepting this legally binding international instrument, which presupposes indivisible universal civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and gives children special protection due to their vulnerability. The resistance ranges from isolationist attitudes toward international law and concerns over the fiscal impact of implementation, to the value attached to education in a faith tradition and fears about the academic deterioration of public education. The contributors to the book reveal the significant positive influence that the CRC has had, despite not being ratified, on subjects such as educational research, child psychology, development ethics, normative ethics, and anthropology. The book also explores the growing homeschooling trend, which is often evangelically led in the US, but which is at loggerheads with an equally growing social science-based movement of experts and ethicists pressing for greater autonomy and freedom of expression for children. Looking beyond the US, the book also addresses some of the practical obstacles that have emerged to implementing the CRC in both developed countries (for example, Canada and the United Kingdom) and in poorer nations. This book, polemical and yet balanced, helps the reader evaluate both positive and the negative implications of this influential piece of international legislation from a variety of ethical, legal, and social science perspectives.
Human Rights Ethics makes an important contribution to contemporary philosophical and political debates concerning the advancement of global justice and human rights. Butler's book also lays claim to a significant place in both normative ethics and human rights studies in as much as it seeks to vindicate a universalistic, rational approach to human rights ethics. Butler's innovative approach is not based on murky claims to "natural rights" that supposedly hold wherever human beings exist; nor does it succumb to the traditional problems of justification associated with utilitarianism, Kantianism, and other procedural approaches to human rights studies. Instead, Butler proposes "a dialectical justification of human rights by indirect proof" that claims not to be question begging. Very much in the spirit of Hegel and Habermas, Butler proposes to vindicate a "totally rational account of human rights," but one that depends concretely and historically on a dialectically constructed "right to freedom of thought in its universal modes."
Written in the context of critical dialogues about the war on terror and the global crisis in human rights violations, authors of the collected volume Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror, edited by Sophia A. McClennen and Henry James Morello, ask a series of questions: What definitions of humanity account for the persistence of human rights violations? How do we define terror and how do we understand the ways that terror affects the representation of those that both suffer and profit from it? Why is it that the representation of terror often depends on a distorted (for example, racist, fascist, xenophobic, essentialist, eliminationist) representation of human beings? And, most importantly, can representation, especially forms of art, rescue humanity from the forces of terror or does it run the risk of making it possible?The authors of the volume's articles discuss aspects of terror with regard to human rights events across the globe, but especially in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Their discussion and reflection demonstrate that the need to question continuously and to engage in permanent critique does not contradict the need to seek answers, to advocate social change, and to intervene critically. With contributions by scholars, activists, and artists, the articles collected here offer strategies for intervening critically in debates about the connections between terror and human rights as they are taking place across contemporary society. The work presented in the volume is intended for scholars, as well as undergraduate and graduate students in fields of the humanities and social sciences including political science, sociology, history, literary study, cultural studies, and cultural anthropology.