Study Guides (238,586)
Canada (115,230)
Philosophy (528)
PHI2396 (94)

Mid-Term 1 review.docx

11 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Ottawa
Iva Apostolova

PHI 2396: Bioethics Mid-term review September 5th, 2013 Ethical Theories What is Bioethics? • the study of typically controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. It is also moral discernment as it relates to medical policy, practice, and research. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy. • applies general ethical theories to specific health care issues • considered applied ethics • dates back to the 5th century BC with the Hippocratic Oath • bioethics and law are a close relationship o on the one hand the law defines boundaries and conditions of health care delivery o other hand, ethical theory and research may seve as a resouce for developing a case=law (Morgnteller's case) General Ethical Theories: • ethical non-cognitivism: we think we are right because it feel right • ethical relitivism: right or wrong is relative to the point of view o based on reasoning o no universal right or wrong • ethical objectivism: right/wrong are objective in nature o we will accept this as true Objectivist Theories: • Teleological or consequentialist: the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence o most common one is Utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill): based on the principle of utility—the greatest good and the least harm for the greatest number of people  nature of good or harm not defined o Act Utilitarianism: apply principle of utility on case by case basis o Rule Utilitarianism: utility cannot be calculated for individual acts, but only for general rules of conduct • Deontology: is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules o Kantian: Kant argues that to act in the morally right way, people must act from duty (deon). o Kant argued that it was not the consequences of actions that make them right or wrong but the motives of the person who carries out the action. September 13th, 2013 Health Daniel Callahan & W. Miller Brown Health and disease as an ethical issue Callahan believes concept of "health is overly general • general but not useless World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Objections to the WHO definition of health: 1. makes a link between health and peace a. there is evidence to the contrary 2. too vague too broad Happiness appears too often to be linked to health • turns happiness into medical problem Callahan sees this as "absurd" for three reasons: 1. medical profession has only partial grasp of physical/mental illness and the cures 2. other social evils which represent a far greater historical evidence of our failure to achieve social well being than the lack of physical and mental health 3. if we reduce all of our social problems to health problems, we will become incapable of saying who is responsible for a given social evil. If medical profession in charge of social well being, criminals will go to mental institutions instead of prisons Callahan's criticisms: 1. health is only a part of life 2. role of medicine in our lives is important but limited 3. if label all deviant behavior as "sickness," those who exhibit such a deviant behavior will be free of responsibility 4. medicine doesn't and shouldn't have a normative power 5. we should keep the roles and responsibilities separate and clear. Two conditions: 1. a minimal level of health is necessary for some happiness 2. one can be happy without being in a state of "complete physical, mental, and social well- being" If we take the WHO definition at face value we demand that life be perfect Callahan's suggestion: • Definition of health: a state of physical well being • says definition does not have to be complete, but only has to be workable September 17th, 2013 Health Callahan & Brown W. Miller Brown: "On defining disease" Objectivist approach tries to fit the notion of disease within biological science descriptive approach: we can define disease without appealing to non-objective approach disease" is then an impairment deviation from the normal functioning of the body mal-adaptive, incapacity, or mal-functioning o biology to describe what is normal Boorse's definition: a type of internal state which is either an impairment of deficiency or a limitation on functional ability cause by environmental agents Key concepts of Boorse's definition: • functional • normal Functional goal-oriented Brown: many non-goal oriented functions Boorse: normalcy = statistical normalcy Brown: choice of target population unclear high goal Boorse: survival and reproduction highest goal of a species Brown: enough examples of species behaving in an abnormal way before or after reproduction (salmon) Brown suggests normative element to definition of disease • normative approach: considers what we as a culture to be good, valuable, etc. • under normative approach: "disease" means an undesirable, disvalued, or bad physical state or process of an organism normative to disease: bound to concepts of harm and benefit Whitback (normative) definition: disease is a psycho-physiological state that people want to avoid Brown: it is an improvement over Boorse • limited to humans • disease as a process • problems: o if we decide something we tried to avoid in the past is not something we want to avoid anymore, we are left with no concept of disease • Brown: problem with both approaches: o work under assumption medicine is a theoretical discipline o looking for the perfect theoretical definition of disease medicine is practical, therefore, simple definition of health and disease definition may be incomplete at the moment, but they can worked with philosophical definition are helpful to medicine but cannot be leading medicine September 20th, 2013 Abortion Susan Sherwin & Mary Anne Warren Sherwin and Warren look through feminist ethical lens • Sherwin's text complements Warren's • Sherwin: Social Conditions • Warren: Ethical Sherwin: relational ontology • autonomy cannot be handled without considering the relationship between different social groups first arguments against abortion argue that fetus is a human being with a right to live September 24th, 2013 Abortion Sherwin, Warren, & Don Marquis relationship between mother and fetus is asymmetrical only persons full-fledged members of the moral community are entitled to full moral rights • moral rights come with moral obligations and responsibilities two questions: 1. resemblance to personhood: a seven-months old fetus resembles a person more than an embryo a. Warren: yes, a seven-months old fetus is somewhat like a person (it can feel pain) but this only means that it has somewhat of a moral status b. therefore it is immoral to abort a fetus in the later stages of development (may be indecent 2. potentiality: what about the fetus being a potential human being/person? a. Warren: potential human beings/persons have some status and value (they are not mere objects) in the sense that we shouldn't want only to destroy them i. ontologically speaking, actuality outweighs potentiality ii. therefore if there is a conflict of rights, the full-fledged member's moral value over a potential member dged moral agent out Page 32 • shows that the right to life of a full-fledge moral agent outweighs the right to life of a potential one • any basic, human right of full-fledged moral rights outweigh the right to life of any potential moral agent Infanticide: why following Warren's logic isn't infanticide automatically permitted Warren's two points: 1. ex-utero baby is not fully dependant on mother a. the newborn is an ontologically independent entity unlike a fetus b. mother cannot decide the fate because it is no longer an extension of her body 2. under reasonably humane conditions it would be morally wrong to destroy infant (on grounds of compassion, potentiality, and the fact that there may be others who may be willing to care for it) a. cannot talk about infanticide and abortion in same context Sherwin: the moral issues concerning abortion should be discussed in a perspective which doesn't operate with absolute categories • Personhood is a social category and as such it appears in a complex web of concrete desires and duties performed by concrete individuals and not by abstract moral agents potential points of criticism of Warren's standpoint: 1. the five points of personhood a. vague 2. the universal rights: are they all on par? 3. question Warren's notion of morality understood as a moral community Derivative issue (more for Sherwin): • we say that we work with relational rather than absolute moral concepts which require a web of social relationships • however we have to establish certain moral norms Don Marquis: "Why abortion is immoral" • not religiously based Marquis' thesis: abortion is, except in rare cases, seriously immoral, and it is in the same category as killing an innocent adult human First premise: decision on the morality of abortion depends on if fetus is considered a human being, whose life it is wrong to take Thinks standard anti-abortion and standard pro-choice arguments are at a stand-off about what is considered a person He has problems with both sides: • "sanctity of life" (pro-life) argument too broad, leads to absurd conclusions (i.e. human cancer cells shouldn't be killed) • "Personhood" position (Warren & Sherwin) is too narrow and leads that only rationa
More Less

Related notes for PHI2396

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.