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Ciurria, Michelle. Is There a Duty to Use Moral Neurointerventions?
2017, Topoi 38(1): 37-47.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Emma Gordon

Abstract: Do we have a duty to use moral neurointerventions to correct deficits in our moral psychology? On their surface, these technologies appear to pose worrisome risks to valuable dimensions of the self, and these risks could conceivably weigh against any prima facie moral duty we have to use these technologies. Focquaert and Schermer (Neuroethics 8(2):139–151, 2015) argue that neurointerventions pose special risks to the self because they operate passively on the subject-s brain, without her active participation, unlike ‘active- interventions. Some neurointerventions, however, appear to be relatively unproblematic, and some appear to preserve the agent-s sense of self precisely because they operate passively. In this paper, I propose three conditions that need to be met for a medical intervention to be considered low-risk, and I say that these conditions cut across the active/passive divide. A low-risk intervention must: (i) pass pre-clinical and clinical trials, (ii) fare well in post-clinical studies, and (iii) be subject to regulations protecting informed consent. If an intervention passes these tests, its risks do not provide strong countervailing reasons against our prima facie duty to undergo the intervention.

Comment: Proposes an account of low-risk medical interventions and argues that the risks attached to moral enhancements falling into this category are insufficient to provide us with strong reasons against our duty to undergo the intervention. Useful to read when exploring the issue of whether we are obligated to morally enhance (as e.g. Savulescu and Persson have argued).

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Kittay, Eva. At the Margins of Moral Personhood
2005, Ethics 116 (1):100-131.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Chris Howard

Summary: Considers the particular case of CSMR individuals in detail and makes a strong case for incorporating relational elements into an account of moral personhood.

Comment: Best used as a specialised or further reading addressing the topics of moral personhood and justice. This paper is sure to generate and discussion and debate, particularly when paired Jeff McMahan's work on the topic, to which the paper is responsive (see in particular McMahan, "Cognitive Disability, Misfortune, and Justice"). Some of Kittay's arguments rely on somewhat fine metaphysical distinctions, so some background in philosophy would be useful, but the distinctions aren't so fine that any additional reading would be required -- in-class discussion of the nature of the relevant distinctions should suffice.

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Kittay, Eva Feder. Forever Small: The Strange Case of Ashley X
2011, Hypatia, 26 (3): 610-631.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord

Abstract: I explore the ethics of altering the body of a child with severe cognitive disabilities in such a way that keeps the child ‘forever small.’ The parents of Ashley, a girl of six with severe cognitive and developmental disabilities, in collaboration with her physicians and the Hospital Ethics Committee, chose to administer growth hormones that would inhibit her growth. They also decided to remove her uterus and breast buds, assuring that she would not go through the discomfort of menstruation and would not grow breasts. In this way she would stay ‘forever small’ and be able to be carried and handled by family members. They claimed that doing this would ensure that she would be able to be part of the family and of family activities and to have familial care. But the procedure has raised thorny ethical questions. I wish to explore these questions philosophically by bringing to bear my own experiences as a mother of a grown daughter with severe cognitive impairments.

Comment: This reading both introduces the controversial case of Ashley X and also provides a set of ethical considerations concerning altering the bodies of persons with severe cognitive disabilities. It would serve as an excellent introduction to a unit on disability, a unit on the ethics of care, or concerning the limits of parental paternalism.

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Kraemer, Felicitas. Authenticity Anyone? The Enhancement of Emotions via Neuro-Psychopharmacology
2011, Neuroethics 4(1): 51-64.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Emma Gordon

Abstract: This article will examine how the notion of emotional authenticity is intertwined with the notions of naturalness and artificiality in the context of the recent debates about ‘neuro-enhancement- and ‘neuro-psychopharmacology.- In the philosophy of mind, the concept of authenticity plays a key role in the discussion of the emotions. There is a widely held intuition that an artificial means will always lead to an inauthentic result. This article, however, proposes that artificial substances do not necessarily result in inauthentic emotions. The literature provided by the philosophy of mind on this subject usually resorts to thought experiments. On the other hand, the recent literature in applied ethics on ‘enhancement- provides good reasons to include real world examples. Such case studies reveal that some psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants actually cause people to undergo experiences of authenticity, making them feel ‘like themselves- for the first time in their lives. Beginning with these accounts, this article suggests three non-naturalist standards for emotions: the authenticity standard, the rationality standard, and the coherence standard. It argues that the authenticity standard is not always the only valid one, but that the other two ways of assessing emotions are also valid, and that they can even have repercussions on the felt authenticity of emotions. In conclusion, it sketches some of the normative implications if not ethical intricacies that accompany the enhancement of emotions.

Comment: Discusses how the idea of authenticity relates to debates on enhancement. Best read after literature exploring different types of cognitive and emotional enhancement.

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O'Neill, Onora. Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics
2002, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Chris Howard, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Publisher’s Note: Onora O’Neill suggests that the conceptions of individual autonomy (so widely relied on in bioethics) are philosophically and ethically inadequate; they undermine rather than support relationships based on trust. Her arguments are illustrated by issues raised by such practices as the use of genetic information by the police, research using human tissues, new reproductive technologies, and media practices for reporting on science, medicine, and technology. The study appeals to a wide range of readers in ethics, bioethics, and related disciplines.

Comment: Parts of this book are an excellent supplement to units on autonomy and informed consent in an intermediate-advanced level medical ethics course. In particular, chapters 1, 2, and 4 would be excellent additions to a unit on autonomy, and chapter 7 would be a similarly excellent addition to a unit on informed consent.

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Purdy, Laura M.. Reproducing Persons: Issues in Feminist Bioethics
1996, Cornell University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Publisher’s Note: Controversies about abortion and women’s reproductive technologies often seem to reflect personal experience, religious commitment, or emotional response. Laura M. Purdy believes, however, that coherent ethical principles are implicit in these controversies and that feminist bioethics can help clarify the conflicts of interest which often figure in human reproduction. As she defines the underlying issues, Purdy emphasizes the importance of taking women’s interests fully into account. Reproducing Persons first explores the rights and duties connected with conception and pregnancy. Purdy asks whether conceiving a child or taking a pregnancy to term can ever be morally wrong. She challenges the thinking of those who feel the prospect of disability or serious genetic disease should not constrain conception or justify abortion. The essays next look at abortion from a variety of angles. One contends that killing fetuses is not murder; others emphasize the moral importance of access to abortion. Purdy considers the conflicting interests of women and men regarding abortion, and argues against requiring a husband’s consent. The book concludes with a consideration of new reproductive technologies and arrangements, including the controversial issue of surrogacy, or contract pregnancy. Throughout, Purdy combines traditional utilitarianism with some of the most powerful insights of contemporary feminist ethics. Her provocative essays create guidelines for approaching new topics and inspire fresh thinking about old ones.

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Sherman, Nancy. From Nuremberg to Guantánamo: Medical Ethics Then and Now
2007, Washington University Global Studies Law Review 6(3): 609-619.
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Added by: John Baldari

Abstract: On October 25, 1946, three weeks after the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg entered its verdicts, the United States established Military Tribunal I for the trial of twenty-three Nazi physicians. The charges, delivered by Brigadier General Telford Taylor on December 9, 1946, form a seminal chapter in the history of medical ethics and, specifically, medical ethics in war. The list of noxious experiments conducted on civilians and prisons of war, and condemned by the Tribunal as war crimes and as crimes against humanity, is by now more or less familiar. That list included: high-altitude experiments; freezing experiments; malaria experiments; sulfanilamide experiments; bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration and bone transplantation experiments; sea water experiments; jaundice and spotted fever experiments; sterilization experiments; experiments with poison and with incendiary bombs. What remains less familiar is the moral mindset of doctors and health care workers who plied their medical skill for morally questionable uses in war. In his 1981 work, The Nazi Doctors, Robert Jay Lifton took up that question, interviewing doctors, many of whom for forty years continued to distance themselves psychologically from their deeds. The questions about moral distancing Lifton raised (though not the questions about criminal experiments) have immediate urgency for us now. Military medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists serve in U.S. military prisons in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Kandahar, and, until very recently, in undisclosed CIA operated facilities around the world where medical ethics are again at issue. Moreover, they serve in top positions in the Pentagon, as civilian and military heads of command, who pass orders and regulations to military doctors in the field, and who are in charge of the health of enemy combatants, as well as U.S. soldiers. Because we recently marked the sixtieth anniversary of the judgment at Nuremberg, I want to awaken our collective memory to the ways in which doctors in war, even in a war very different from the one the Nazis fought, can insulate themselves from their moral and professional consciences.

Comment: This text is best used as an additional reading in bioethics, or in just war theory (post ad bellum).

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Steinbock, Bonnie. Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses
1994, Ethics 104 (2):408-410.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: This book provides a coherent framework for addressing bioethical issues in which the moral status of embryos and fetuses is relevant. It is based on the ‘interest view,’ which ascribes moral standing to beings with interests, and connects the possession of interests with the capacity for conscious awareness or sentience. The theoretical framework is applied to up-to-date ethical and legal topics, including abortion, prenatal torts, wrongful life, the crime of feticide, substance abuse by pregnant women, compulsory cesareans, assisted reproduction, and stem cell research. Along the way, difficult philosophical problems, such as identity and the nonidentity problem are thoroughly explored.

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Steinbock, Bonnie. The case for physician assisted suicide: not (yet) proven
2005, Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (4):235-241.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The legalisation of physician assisted suicide in Oregon and physician assisted death in the Netherlands has revitalised the debate over whether and under what conditions individuals should be able to determine the time and manner of their deaths, and whether they should be able to enlist the help of physicians in doing so. Although the change in the law is both dramatic and recent, the basic arguments for and against have not really changed since the issue was debated by Glanville Williams and Yale Kamisar nearly 50 years ago. In this paper, the author argues in favour of Kamisar’s consequentialist framework. Any change in law and social policy should not be based solely on individual cases, heart wrenching though these may be. Instead, we need to assess the need for PAS, and weigh this against the risks of mistake and abuse

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Tangwa, Godfrey B.. Bioethics: An African perspective
1996,
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Clotilde Torregrossa

Abstract: In this paper I have attempted to open a window on an African approach to Bioethics – that of the Nso’ of the Bamenda Highlands of Kamerun – from the vantage position of someone who has familiarity with both African and Western cultures. Because of its scientific-cum-technological sophistication and its proselytising character, Western culture, as well as Western systems of thought and practice, have greatly affected and influenced other cultures, particularly African culture. But Western culture, systems of thought and practice, have been highly impervious and immune to influences from other cultures, philosophies, systems of thought and practice, even where these might have been salutary and enriching to Western culture and systems. What I have here termed Nso’ eco-bio-cummunitarianism clearly indicates a viable alternative world-view within which some of the bioethical perplexities and controversies of today might be more satisfactorily resolved than within a Western framework. I have further attempted to show, by way of example, how within such a world-view, abortion and suicide, for instance, would be disapproved of while euthanasia, in its etymological purity, is approved of

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Tangwa, Godfrey B.. Elements of African Bioethics in a Western Frame
2010, Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Jonathan Wolff

Abstract: For millennia, Africans have lived on the African continent, in close contact with the diversities of nature: floral, faunal and human; and in so doing they have developed cultures, values, attitudes and perspectives to the problems, ethical and otherwise, that have arisen from the existential pressures of their situation. The problem, however, is that such values and perspectives do not necessarily form coherent ethical theories. Theory-making is a second order activity requiring a certain amount of leisure and comfort which the existential conditions of life on the African continent have not easily permitted in the retrospect-able past. The elements of African bioethics are to be found in its cultural values, traditions, customs and practices. These are research-able, highlight-able and usable by those who would. The bioethical problems of our current global existential situation are such that all possible solutions, no matter their provenance, ought to be tried. Western culture has far too loud a voice combined with deaf ears in contemporary ethical discourse. But it should never be forgotten that other cultures have their own word to say and that alternative values, ways of thinking and practices exist, and attempt should always be made to bring these out and to highlight them, if they could possibly contribute to the satisfactory solution of a global problem. This book brings together various papers on bioethical issues and problems, written at different times, some previously published, each of which attempts to bring out some African elements, perspective or concern. The African narrative style predominates through these essays but their framing conforms, more or less, to the Western paradigm for presenting academic issues.

Comment: Could be used in 'global bioethics' classes.

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Zutlevics, T. L.. Markets and the needy: Organ sales or aid?
2001,
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: As organ shortages have become more accute, support for a market in organs has steadily increased. Whilst many have argued for such a market, it is Gerald Dworkin who most persuasively defends its ethics. As Dworkin points out, there are two possibilities here – a futures market and a current market. I follow Dworkin in focusing on a current market in the sale of organs from living donors, as this is generally considered to be the most difficult to justify. One of the most pressing concerns here is that such a market will exploit the poor. I outline this concern and scrutinise Dworkin’s and others’ rejection of it. Briefly, I argue that the arguments Dworkin employs for allowing the poor to sell their organs fail, and in fact better support an argument for increasing aid to the needy.

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