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Any resource on Objectivist Bioethics?

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I am currently taking a Master in Bioethics. Although I have found some essays on abortion and other issues, I would love to know whether there is any book on Objectivist Bioethics published or in preparation.

Advancements in biology and medicine should not change ethics. So why would there need to be a book on Obj. Bioethics?

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Advancements in biology and medicine should not change ethics. So why would there need to be a book on Obj. Bioethics?

Because there are many health care profesionals, academicians and politicians involved in these issues who need guidance. Most of the times the only guidance they get is from utilitarist, sociobiologist and personalist (meaning Catholic) points of view.

I am talking about a book that, in addition to an introduction about the philosophical basis of Ethics, would give special coverage to topics like transgenics, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, organ transplantation, frozen embryos, clinical research, animal research, eugenetics, and the like.

There are dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of books about Bioethics, simply because thi is such a hot topic. Just go and hit amazon.com

If we do not strike on the iron while it is hot, other mystical and collectivist bioethicists will do it.

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Because there are many health care profesionals, academicians and politicians involved in these issues who need guidance. Most of the times the only guidance they get is from utilitarist, sociobiologist and personalist (meaning Catholic) points of view.

I am talking about a book that, in addition to an introduction about the philosophical basis of Ethics, would give special coverage to topics like transgenics, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, organ transplantation, frozen embryos, clinical research, animal research, eugenetics, and the like.

There are dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of books about Bioethics, simply because thi is such a hot topic. Just go and hit amazon.com

If we do not strike on the iron while it is hot, other mystical and collectivist bioethicists will do it.

All of those issues have been addressed at one time or another, but keep in mind that these cases require the application of Objectivist theory to specific concretes. The term "bioethics" itself sounds highly dubious (yes, I've heard the term before.) It implies that there are different ethics for different categories of things, when there is only one ethics, i.e. that which applies to man and his survival.

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All of those issues have been addressed at one time or another, but keep in mind that these cases require the application of Objectivist theory to specific concretes. The term "bioethics" itself sounds highly dubious (yes, I've heard the term before.) It implies that there are different ethics for different categories of things, when there is only one ethics, i.e. that which applies to man and his survival.

Well, then it will be a mission of my life to write the first book on Objectivist Bioethics ! I will have to study hard and learn a lot from you guys :thumbsup:

Believe me, there are thousands of people in the Biomedicine field that go to Barnes & Noble looking for a text on Bioethics, not for a text on Ethics, and if they don't see ours on the shelves, they'll get The Witch Doctor's one!

Edited by Hotu Matua
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Well, then it will be a mission of my life to write the first book on Objectivist Bioethics ! I will have to study hard and learn a lot from you guys :thumbsup:

Believe me, there are thousands of people in the Biomedicine field that go to Barnes & Noble looking for a text on Bioethics, not for a text on Ethics, and if they don't see ours on the shelves, they'll get The Witch Doctor's one!

Here is starting point for your research toward your new book: The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts

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Believe me, there are thousands of people in the Biomedicine field that go to Barnes & Noble looking for a text on Bioethics, not for a text on Ethics, and if they don't see ours on the shelves, they'll get The Witch Doctor's one!

I see your point.

Suggestion: write, or get others to write, in Bioethics journals et al to explain how Objectivist ethics applies to all fields of endeavor. Prepare lectures for conferences to educate on how it applies.

If a separate text is still necessary, it could refer to Objectivist publications for the fundamentals and then discuss the concretes for your specific field. But such scientists should be intelligent enough to grasp Objectivism and apply it. If not, then they won't likely buy what you say anyway.

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Well, then it will be a mission of my life to write the first book on Objectivist Bioethics ! I will have to study hard and learn a lot from you guys :thumbsup:

Believe me, there are thousands of people in the Biomedicine field that go to Barnes & Noble looking for a text on Bioethics, not for a text on Ethics, and if they don't see ours on the shelves, they'll get The Witch Doctor's one!

I found this definition of bioethics from Princeton:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=bioethics

"the branch of ethics that studies moral values in the biomedical sciences "

This strikes me as bad concept formation. It's a non-essential way of separating out concretes. All you need to is apply the Oist ethics to the field of biology, and, I assure you, it has solid answers.

Btw, Objectivist concept formation will be the real work horse if you want to deal with these issues, so it's best to start off on the right foot.

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I found this definition of bioethics from Princeton:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=bioethics

"the branch of ethics that studies moral values in the biomedical sciences "

This strikes me as bad concept formation. It's a non-essential way of separating out concretes. All you need to is apply the Oist ethics to the field of biology, and, I assure you, it has solid answers.

Btw, Objectivist concept formation will be the real work horse if you want to deal with these issues, so it's best to start off on the right foot.

Thank you, Grames for the link and Thales for your recommendations. I will for sure follow them.

And you're right, Thales: it is better to start with the right foot.

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All of those issues have been addressed at one time or another, but keep in mind that these cases require the application of Objectivist theory to specific concretes. The term "bioethics" itself sounds highly dubious (yes, I've heard the term before.) It implies that there are different ethics for different categories of things, when there is only one ethics, i.e. that which applies to man and his survival.

It only really implies a contextual analysis of ethics in the medical sciences. For instance, context like assisted suicide. Such an analysis is a lot easier with a philosophy like Objectivism and, but any analysis would also include why other viewpoints are wrong. Also even how the medical sciences have affected ethics (i.e. how have they affected that believing universal healthcare is good, if at all?)

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It only really implies a contextual analysis of ethics in the medical sciences. For instance, context like assisted suicide. Such an analysis is a lot easier with a philosophy like Objectivism and, but any analysis would also include why other viewpoints are wrong. Also even how the medical sciences have affected ethics (i.e. how have they affected that believing universal healthcare is good, if at all?)

Yes, the analysis of other prevalent views should be included, as well as the demostrations on why they are wrong.

We must take into account that most readers will want to go from the specific, concrete cases, to the basic principles, and not the other way round, unfortunately.

This means that by addressing the concrete ethical problems, we could have a nice chance to get people interested in knowing, as a second setp Objectivist Metaphysics, Episetmiology, Aesthetics.

Ideally we should work the other way round, I know, but our readers will be doctors and biologists eager to solve daily life situations as well as situations that will become an issue within a couple of decades.

Why can a fetus with Down syndrome be aborted, but a baby with Down syndrome cannot be killed?

Why clonation of humans can be morally good?

Can laws permitting active euthanasia lead to abuses?

Why should we strive to engineer people with genes that promote higher inteligence or physical strength, even if only wealthy couples are able to afford it? etc.

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It only really implies a contextual analysis of ethics in the medical sciences. For instance, context like assisted suicide. Such an analysis is a lot easier with a philosophy like Objectivism and, but any analysis would also include why other viewpoints are wrong. Also even how the medical sciences have affected ethics (i.e. how have they affected that believing universal healthcare is good, if at all?)

It's presented as a concept. "Bio-ethics" is a word, which denotes a concept. Ethics, however, applies to man's life. If I'm to study the ethics of doing something in medicine, I'd do it as against man's life as the standard. I wouldn't need a new category of ethics.

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Yes, the analysis of other prevalent views should be included, as well as the demostrations on why they are wrong.

We must take into account that most readers will want to go from the specific, concrete cases, to the basic principles, and not the other way round, unfortunately.

This means that by addressing the concrete ethical problems, we could have a nice chance to get people interested in knowing, as a second setp Objectivist Metaphysics, Episetmiology, Aesthetics.

Ideally we should work the other way round, I know, but our readers will be doctors and biologists eager to solve daily life situations as well as situations that will become an issue within a couple of decades.

Why can a fetus with Down syndrome be aborted, but a baby with Down syndrome cannot be killed?

Why clonation of humans can be morally good?

Can laws permitting active euthanasia lead to abuses?

Why should we strive to engineer people with genes that promote higher inteligence or physical strength, even if only wealthy couples are able to afford it? etc.

While I agree that we do not need a new special ethics for biology, I do agree that the concepts you mention need to be addressed from a rational perspective. There are several reasons to address them. At this point, the more issues that are addressed rationally, the more we get reason placed into the debate. We need to attack on all sides.

The subject does need a philosopher to consider it. If you do write about it, see if you can get one of the students from ARI to assist you. Even better would be Tara Smith, as she is focusing on ethics.

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  • 1 year later...

I've found no better thread to post my question in, so I hope this is within the broader scope of this thread.

From an Objectivist viewpoint, would assisted suicide be moral (for the person assisting)?, i.e. taking the life of someone that consciously desires it but cannot perform the task of ending his life by himself.

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I say yes, assisted suicide is moral, if and when there is objective evidence of the fact that a rational being wants to end his life and cannot do it himself.

The crux of the matter is to have that objective evidence.

Most prejudices around assisted suicide lie on the belief that the immorality of killing hinges on the mere interruption of the vital functions of other person.

In reality, the immorality of a murder lies on violating the mind of other person, acting against his consent, denying his capacity for reason and choice.

Murder is immoral because we act as if the other person didn't exist qua man. We deny reality and by doing so we deny our own mind. That's what makes murder immoral.

In a proper act of assisted suicide (meaning, one in which there is no doubt of the intentions of the subject and his mental capacity), nobody is faking reality.

Indeed, we are honouring each one's reality of being rational, volitional beings.

"I am injecting this high dose of medication into your veins because I recognize you as the owner of your own life, and by doing this I am honouring that fact."

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