In 1970 Van Rensselaer Potter was the first to use the term "bioethics" in a publication to advocate the development of a new discipline to address the basic problems of human flourishing. This article analyzes Potter's notion of bioethics in order to understand its origins, sources, and substance. In early publications, Potter conceptualized bioethics as a bridge: between present and future, nature and culture, science and values, and finally between humankind and nature. In later publications, disappointed by a predominant focus (...) on individual and medical issues, and with a wish to underscore the need for a broader perspective, Potter introduced the new term "global bioethics," meant to transcend ethics specialties and integrate them into a new interdisciplinary endeavor to address global problems. A growing interest in global bioethics today means that Potter's original insights are more timely than ever. (shrink)
This paper explores the relevance of the debate about ethical expertise for the practice of clinical ethics. We present definitions, explain three theories of ethical expertise, and identify arguments that have been brought up to either support the concept of ethical expertise or call it into question. Finally, we discuss four theses: the debate is relevant for the practice of clinical ethics in that it (1) improves and specifies clinical ethicists' perception of their expertise; (2) contributes to improving the perception (...) of moral competence of non-ethicists; (3) gives insight into complementary styles of argumentation of ethicists and non-ethicists; and (4) contributes to the awareness of the problem of profession-building of (clinical) ethicists. (shrink)
This paper explores the role of ‘community’ in the context of global bioethics. With the present globalization of bioethics, new and interesting references are made to this concept. Some are familiar, for example, community consent. This article argues that the principle of informed consent is too individual-oriented and that in other cultures, consent can be community-based. Other references to ‘community’ are related to the novel principle of benefit sharing in the context of bioprospecting. The application of this principle necessarily requires (...) the identification and construction of communities. On the global level there are also new uses of the concept of community as ‘global community.’ Three uses are distinguished: (1) a diachronic use, including past, present, and future generations, (2) a synchronic ecological use, including nonhuman species, and (3) a synchronic planetary use, including all human beings worldwide. Although there is a tension between the communitarian perspective and the idea of global community, this article argues that the third use can broaden communitarianism. The current development towards cosmopolitanism is creating a new global community that represents humanity as a whole, enabling identification of world citizens and evoking a sense of global solidarity and responsibility. The emergence of global bioethics today demonstrates this development. (shrink)
The concept of âgeneticizationâ has been introduced in the scholarly literature to describe the various interlocking and imperceptible mechanisms of interaction between medicine, genetics, society and culture. It is argued that Western culture currently is deeply involved in a process of geneticization. This process implies a redefinition of individuals in terms of DNA codes, a new language to describe and interpret human life and behavior in a genomic vocabulary of codes, blueprints, traits, dispositions, genetic mapping, and a gentechnological approach to (...) disease, health and the body. This article analyses the thesis of âgeneticizationâ. Explaining the implications of the thesis, and discussing the critical refutations, it is argued that âgeneticizationâ primarily is a heuristic tool that can help to re-focus the moral debate on the implications of new genetic knowledge towards interpersonal relations, the power of medicine, the cultural context and social constraints, rather than emphasizing issues as personal autonomy and individual rights. (shrink)
The current model of technology assessment treats ethics itself as just another problem‐solving technology. Ethics should resist this model to play a more critical role in technology assessment by better understanding the complex relationship between society, medicine, and technology—and by recasting how problems are defined.
The Dutch system of obstetric care is often recommended for midwife-attended births, the high number of home deliveries, and the low rate of intervention during pregnancy and labour. In this contribution, the question is addressed whether processes of medicalization can be demonstrated in the Dutch midwife practice. Medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth is often criticized because it creates dependency on the medical system and infringement of the autonomy of pregnant women. It is concluded that medicalization is present in the practice (...) of Dutch independent midwives, however it is less clear and outspoken than in hospital policies. (shrink)
UNESCO is an intergovernmental organization with 193 Member States. It is concerned with a broad range of issues regarding education, science and culture. It is the only UN organisation with a mandate in science. Since 1993 it is addressing ethics of science and technology, with special emphasis on bioethics. One major objective of the ethics programme is the development of international normative standards. This is particularly important since many Member States only have a limited infrastructure in bioethics, lacking expertise, educational (...) programs, bioethics committees and legal frameworks. UNESCO has recently adopted the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The focus of current activities is now on implementation of this Declaration. Three activities are discussed that aim at improving and reinforcing the ethics infrastructure in relation to science and technology: the Global Ethics Observatory, the Ethics Education Programme and the Assisting Bioethics Committees project. (shrink)
This book critically analyses experiences with bioethics education in various countries across the world and identifies common challenges and interests. It presents ethics teaching experiences in nine different countries and the basic question of the goals of bioethics education. It addresses bioethics education in resource-poor countries, as the conditions and facilities are widely different, and set limits and provide challenges to bioethics educators. Further, the question of how bioethics education can be improved is explored by the contributors. Despite the volume (...) of journal publications agreement on bioethics education is rather limited. There are only few examples of core curricula, demonstrating consensus on the contents, goals, methods and assessment of teaching programs. We need ask: How can agreement on the best modalities of bioethics education be promoted? (shrink)
Health technology assessment (HTA) is often biased in the sense that it neglects relevant perspectives on the technology in question. To incorporate different perspectives in HTA, we should pursue agreement about what are relevant, plausible, and feasible research questions; interactive technology assessment (iTA) might be suitable for this goal. In this way a kind of procedural ethics is established. Currently, ethics too often is focussed on the application of general principles, which leaves a lot of confusion as to what really (...) is the matter in specific cases; in an iTA clashes of values should not be approached by use of such ethics. Instead, casuistry, as a tool used within the framework of iTA, should help to articulate and clarify what is the matter, as to make room for explication and consensus building. (shrink)
Solidarity belongs to the basic principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) and is part of the ethical repertoire of European moral traditions and European healthcare systems. This paper discusses how leaders of Catholic healthcare organizations (HCOs) can understand their institutional moral responsibility with regard to the preservation of solidarity. In dealing with this question, we make use of Taylor's philosophy of modern culture. We first argue that, just as all HCOs, Catholic ones also can embody and strengthen solidarity by just (...) doing their quintessential job, that is, to care for people with ill health. Second, we focus on the Catholic identity of these organizations and argue that this characteristic can empower a radical commitment to solidarity. Finally, we argue that CST provides a critical ethical framework for approaching solidarity from the perspective of the common good. (shrink)
Clarifying and analysing moral problems arising in the practice of palliative care was the objective of participatory observations in five palliative care settings. The results of these observations will be described in this contribution. The moral problems palliative caregivers have to deal with in their daily routines will be explained by comparison with the findings of a previously performed literature study. The specific differences in the manifestation of moral problems in the different palliative care settings will be highlighted as well.
The growth of knowledge and its effects on the practice of medicine have been issues of philosophical and ethical interest for several decades and will remain so for many years to come. The outline of the present volume was conceived nearly three years ago. In 1987, a conference on this theme was held in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on the occasion of the founding of the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care (ESPMH). Most of the chapters of this (...) book are derived from papers presented at that meeting, and for the purpose of editing the book Stuart Spicker, Ph. D., joined two founding members of ESPMH, Henk ten Have and Gerrit Kimsma. The three of them successfully brought together a number of interesting contribu tions to the theme, and ESPMH is grateful and proud to have initiated the production of this volume. The Society intends that annual meetings be held in different European countries on a rotating basis and to publish volumes related to these meetings whenever feasible. In 1988, the second conference was held in Aarhus, Denmark on "Values in Medical Decision Making and Resource Allocation in Health Care". In 1989, a meeting was held in Czestochowa, Poland, on "European Traditions in Philosophy of Medicine. From Brentano to Bieganski". It is hoped that these conferences and the books to be derived from them, will initiate a new European tradition, lasting well into the 21 st century! P. J. (shrink)