Human Characteristics

Publication Title: 
The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy

Physicians often appear more troubled by moral dilemmas than would seem justified given the present social and professional consensus on many of the questions involved. Their discomfort arises not only at ethical, technical, and behavioral levels (the most commonly identified sources of difficulty), but also at an existential level, that is, as the manifestation of conflicts rooted in the processes and conditions of our coming-to-be as persons.

Author(s): 
Barnard, D.
Publication Title: 
Bioethics

[I]nterest in animals as a source of organs and tissues for human beings remains strong. New developments in immunosuppression technology promise to lower the technical barriers to a routine use of nonhumans as organ donors, and the image of colonies of animals kept at the ready for supplying the growing human need for new organs seems a much more plausible scenario now than it did when broached by transplantation specialists in the Sixties. As Arthur Caplan has powerfully argued, the prospects that other sources of organs may resolve the supply problem are grim....

Author(s): 
Nelson, James Lindemann
Publication Title: 
The American journal of bioethics: AJOB

This essay explores a proper Confucian vision on genetic enhancement. It argues that while Confucians can accept a formal starting point that Michael Sandel proposes in his ethics of giftedness, namely, that children should be taken as gifts, Confucians cannot adopt his generalist strategy. The essay provides a Confucian full ethics of giftedness by addressing a series of relevant questions, such as what kind of gifts children are, where the gifts are from, in which way they are given, and for what purpose they are given.

Author(s): 
Fan, Ruiping
Publication Title: 
Journal of Medical Ethics

Since emotions give contradictory signals about animal experimentation in medical science, man's relationship to animals must be based upon reason. Thomas Aquinas argues that man is essentially different from animals because man's intellectual processes show evidence of an abstract mechanism not possessed by animals. Man's rights arise in association with this essential difference. The consequence is that only man possesses true rights by Aquinas's definition; animals have them only by analogy.

Author(s): 
Martin, J.
Publication Title: 
Journal of Medical Ethics

Since emotions give contradictory signals about animal experimentation in medical science, man's relationship to animals must be based upon reason. Thomas Aquinas argues that man is essentially different from animals because man's intellectual processes show evidence of an abstract mechanism not possessed by animals. Man's rights arise in association with this essential difference. The consequence is that only man possesses true rights by Aquinas's definition; animals have them only by analogy.

Author(s): 
Martin, J.
Publication Title: 
Bioethics

Certain restrictions on public funding for assisted reproductive technology (ART) are articulated and defended by recourse to a distinction between medical infertility and social infertility. We propose that underlying the prioritization of medical infertility is a vision of medicine whose proper role is to restore but not to improve upon nature. We go on to mark moral responses that speak of investments many continue to make in nature as properly an object of reverence and gratitude and therein (sometimes) a source of moral guidance.

Author(s): 
Carter, Drew
Braunack-Mayer, Annette
Publication Title: 
The Journal of Medical Humanities

If a couple wishes to have children, is able to have them through the usual biological process, and there are no known genetic problems facing such children, then that couple would be best advised to have biological offspring. In fact, most people would consider this to be simply the natural "default setting" for such decisions. But if they are not able to have such offspring, or if there is a significant probability that such offspring would have some catastrophic genetic problem, then it might be better for the couple to adopt a child not related to them biologically.

Author(s): 
Murphy, George L.
Publication Title: 
Politics and the Life Sciences: The Journal of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences

Editor's note: In this engaging talk given last February on a particularly cold and blustery day at Texas Tech University, Professor Gad Saad of Concordia University discusses his work in the area of evolutionary consumption. In making the case for understanding consumerism from a Darwinian perspective, Saad addresses several key tenets from his books The Consuming Instinct (1) and The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption.

Author(s): 
Saad, Gad
Publication Title: 
The Quarterly Review of Biology

Evolutionary theory predicts rigorous competition in nature and selfish behavior is thus seen as its inevitable consequence. Evidence of altruistic and cooperative behavior therefore appears at odds with evolutionary theory. However, evolutionary psychology suggests that past environments may be different from the current environments that humans inhabit. Here it is hypothesized that competition in two past environments might have led to strategies that favored altruism and cooperation toward nonkin.

Author(s): 
Phillips, Tim
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