Current anti-doping in competitive sports is advocated for reasons of fair-play and concern for the athlete's health. With the inception of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), anti-doping effort has been considerably intensified. Resources invested in anti-doping are rising steeply and increasingly involve public funding. Most of the effort concerns elite athletes with much less impact on amateur sports and the general public.
Moral status is a vexing topic. Linked for so long to the unending debates about ensoulment and the morality of abortion, it has recently resurfaced in the embryonic stem cell controversy. In this new context, it should benefit from new insights originating in recent scientific advances. We believe that the recently observed capability of somatic cells to return to a pluripotential state (a capability we propose to name 'reversed potency') in a controlled manner requires us to modify the traditional concept (...) of moral status and to consider it as referring not only to intrinsic properties (like 'to possess reason' or 'to be a person'), but also to extrinsic or relational ones. (shrink)
This article analyses neuronal determinism and mentions that at first sight it appears to be a type of qualified determinism. Neurodeterminism is better conceived as determinism tout court when it is applied to human beings. It differs importantly from genetic determinism, together the two views that are often regarded as similar in form if not in content. Moreover, the article examines the question of genetic determinism, because it is a paradigm of qualified determinism. It then explains the meaning of determinism (...) tout court, its relation with the notions of “free will” and “responsibility,” and the debate about their alleged incompatibility. It provides an understanding of what neurodeterminism consists of, shows that it should be conceived as determinism tout court when it is applied to human beings, imparting an empirical turn to a very old metaphysical conundrum. (shrink)
As elsewhere, the ethical debate on embryonic stem cell research in Central Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, involves controversy over the status of the human embryo. There is a distinctive Kantian flavor to the standard arguments however, and we show how they often embody a set of misunderstandings and argumentative shortcuts we term "embryological Kantianism." We also undertake a broader analysis of three arguments typically presented in this debate, especially in official position papers, namely the identity, continuity, and potentiality arguments. (...) It turns out that these arguments do not support the strong, quasi-personal status accorded to the embryos in these official opinions. (shrink)