Traces the search for evidence that Kierkegaard was familiar with the works of Kant, sparked by the observation that Kierkegaard's treatment of ethics and sin is organized exactly as Kant's treatment of the same topics, and even seems to ...
Using the theoretical approach he introduced in his acclaimed Religious Reason (Oxford, 1978), and drawing on contemporary rationalist ethical theory as well as a variety of religious traditions and issues, Ronald M. Green here provides a simple, effective model for understanding the complexity of religious life. He shows clearly and convincingly that the basic processes of religious reasoning are the same everywhere and that they give rise, in perfectly understandable ways, to the rich diversity of religious expression worldwide. This is (...) a major resource for courses in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Before curing was a possibility, medicine was devoted to the relief of suffering. Attention to the relief of suffering often takes a back seat in modern biomedicine. This book seeks to place suffering at the center of biomedical attention, examining suffering in its biological, psychological, clinical, religious, and ethical dimensions.
: Debates about commodification in bioethics frequently appeal to Kant's famous second formulation of the categorical imperative, the formula requiring us to treat the rational (human) being as "an end in itself" and "never as a means only." In the course of her own treatment of commodification, Margaret Jane Radin observes that Kant's application of this formula "does not generate noncontroversial particular consequences." This is so, I argue, because Kant offers three different--and largely incompatible--interpretations of the formula. One focuses on (...) the obligation to preserve rational willing; the second stresses respect for human (physical) dignity and integrity; the third views respect for others as "ends in themselves" as primarily involving a willingness to govern one's conduct by a procedure of impartial co-legislation. Only the third of these interpretations, I conclude, offers a reasonable and coherent approach to moral judgment about the limits of commodification. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13.4 (2003) 393-406 [Access article in PDF] U.S. Defunding of UNFPA:A Moral Analysis Ronald M. Green Ethical decisions made inside the Beltway sometimes have global consequences. Nowhere is this more true than with respect to the decision by Secretary of State Colin Powell on 21 July 2002 to halt $34 million in U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Behind this decision (...) lay the forces of America's abortion politics as well as tangled issues in law and bioethics.I became involved in this debate when, in early September 2003, I served as a member of a nine-person delegation of U.S. religious leaders and ethicists that traveled to China to meet with those associated with the UNFPA program there. The delegation was assembled by Frances Kissling, of Catholics for a Free Choice, which also provided support and funding for the necessary travel and administrative services. In China, our contacts included UNFPA administrators, Chinese government officials, and ordinary villagers touched by UNFPA efforts. In the middle of its week-long stay, the delegation left Beijing in three separate groups to travel to remote provincial regions (Hubei, Gansu, and Ningxia). Our goal was to respond to the Bush administration's defunding decision by deepening our understanding of the current Chinese population program and UNFPA's relationship to it. In the course of this enquiry, I encountered challenging questions that drew on my own training in ethics in novel ways. Historical Background UNFPA is the world's largest organization providing family planning and reproductive health services. It was established in 1969 as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. In 1987, the Economic and Social Council decided to rename it the United Nations Population Fund, but to retain the original abbreviation-acronym. UNFPA works to improve access to and the quality of family planning services in more than 140 of the poorest countries in the world. It is also very active in providing services aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. It does not provide abortion services, but works to prevent abortion through family planning and to help countries provide services for women suffering from the complications of unsafe abortion. [End Page 393]Although UNFPA is officially an agency of the United Nations, its budget, currently about $200 million per year, comes from voluntary payments by donors, including UN member states. U.S. funding has been irregular. In 1985, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a foreign operations appropriations measure that has come to be known as the "Kemp-Kasten Amendment." This measure, which has been repassed in substantially unchanged form every year since, forbids funding for "any organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."1 From 1986 on, the Reagan and Bush administrations halted all U.S. funding for UNFPA activities around the world on the grounds that the agency's activities in China caused it to be involved in supporting or participating in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization, and, hence, put it in violation of Kemp-Kasten.Efforts by the People's Republic of China to slow the increase of its population date from the early 1970s when, in a striking departure from classical Marxist theory, which had insisted on the positive value of added labor power and denied the need for demographic controls, the government imposed a policy of delayed marriage and birth spacing. In 1979, these efforts intensified with the advent of the "one child policy." (In fact, this name is misleading since the number of children allowed a couple varies significantly from urban to rural areas, with rural residents and members of ethnic minorities permitted to have larger families.) To implement this program, the government established a National Family Planning Commission (now National Population and Family Planning Commission) which, among other things, set up a network of family planning service centers around the country, where birth control... (shrink)
H. G. Wells warned, in 1895, not to allow economic injustices to become to so acute that they ultimately transform human biology. Wells's warning is all the more pertinent today as society contemplates the use of biotechnologies to manipulate or "enhance" the human genome.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Bioethics Inside the BeltwayNHGRI’s Intramural Ethics ExperimentRonald M. Green (bio)Early in 1995, the National Human Genome Research Institute (then known as the National Center for Human Genome Research) began a novel experiment. It established the Office of Genome Ethics in its Division of Intramural Research (DIR). An extramural “ELSI” funding program for research on the ethical, legal, and social implications of the Human Genome Project had been in existence (...) since 1990, and a joint Department of Energy, NIH Working Group to consider larger policy issues raised by the genome project had also been in existence since that date. But the establishment of the Office of Genome Ethics was the first effort to provide an in-house ethics service for the several hundred NHGRI genetic researchers working on the NIH campus.The experiment was also novel by NIH standards. The Clinical Center, which serves all NIH research institutes as a patient-care facility, has long had a bioethics program, but, to my knowledge, none of the 23 other institutes, centers, or divisions of the NIH had ever developed an ethics program to assist its on-campus researchers in identifying and addressing the ethical issues arising from their research. Behind this initiative lay the commitment to ethics in genetic research shared by Francis Collins, Director of NHGRI, Jeff Trent, Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research, and other senior scientists and administrators of the Institute.I was fortunate to be asked to serve as Director of this office. My previous experience in the federal context was limited. I had served on many NIH study sections and for a nine-month period had been a member of the Human Embryo Research Panel, but none of this amounted to an “insider’s view” of government bioethics. The preponderance of my bioethics career had transpired in the university and medical school/medical center environment.Because I had to continue to fulfill many Dartmouth commitments, I agreed to serve on an interim and half-time basis (one week in Bethesda; one week at home) for an 18-month period. I was assisted in maintaining this schedule by the appointment of a deputy, Mathew Thomas, a recent bioethics graduate of Duke University, who would serve on a full-time basis and provide continuity for our [End Page 181] work. Our objectives, established in consultation with NHGRI personnel, were to learn which functions would be most useful, to set up a program to provide them, and, eventually, to aid in the process of determining how an office like this might fit into NHGRI’s future.As this 18-month stint draws to a close, I can report that it has been an exhilarating experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding scientists in an area of growing importance and interest. I believe we have pioneered in the provision of bioethics education and counsel to a diverse group of genetic researchers. We have helped to “open the doors and windows” of the Genome Institute, facilitating two-way communication between NHGRI researchers and others interested in genetic and ethics. We have assisted with some knotty problems in genetic research while building a base of knowledge about highly specialized issues that is useful to researchers inside and outside NHGRI. What follows is an abbreviated overview and evaluation of our activities during this period.Main ActivitiesWorking with a core of interested supporters from every branch of the DIR, our office quickly established a roster of activities aimed at meeting identified needs. These included: (1) a consult service able to help investigators address urgent problems arising in their research or in the IRB review process; (2) a program of workshops and discussion groups dealing with challenging ethical issues raised by genetic research; (3) a program of public seminars bringing together NHGRI researchers and other clinicians, scientists, and scholars in the greater Washington area who are interested in genetic ethics; (4) a course on science research ethics to be offered to all NHGRI personnel; and (5) an ongoing program of research activities in genetics and ethics designed to provide depth and substance to the office’s work.ConsultationsIn an institute with scores of... (shrink)