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New Site for Experimental Philosophical Bioethics

BioXphi aims to be an online hub for experimental philosophical bioethics. What is experimental philosophical bioethics? It’s an emerging field that will use traditional research methods of experimental philosophy and the empirical social and psychological sciences to investigate key premises in the arguments of various positions in theoretical bioethics. Though bioethicists have occasionally drawn on empirical data to supplement arguments and normative bioethical analysis, bioXphi by contrast seeks to uniquely probe the intuitions of patients and possible stakeholders in order to extrapolate—and make explicit wherever possible—the underlying cognitive and psychological processes that inform their responses. In this way, a major purpose of bioXphi is to make bioethical theorizing increasingly responsive to empirical insights in the formulation of clinical practice, institutional policy, and ongoing theoretical debate. As an interdisciplinary line of research, bioXphi can be thought of as advancing at least two types of inquiry: descriptive questions about the psychology and mechanism of bioethical decision-making, and prescriptive questions that constitute the core of bioethics. The site, developed by Brian Earp (Yale, Oxford), contains a bibliography of work in and related to experimental philosophical bioethics, information about an upcoming conference, and a blog. The post New Site for Experimental Philosophical Bioethics appeared first on Daily [More]

Daniel Callahan (1930-2019)

Daniel Callahan, co-founder and longtime director of the Hastings Center, the first-ever bioethics research institute, has died. Dr. Callahan was known as one of the founders of contemporary biomedical ethics research, and the Hastings Center he created with Willard Gaylin has served as the home to many influential figures in the field. A prolific author, Dr. Callahan’s own research covered a wide range of subjects, from abortion to euthanasia, embryo research to elder care, autonomy to the common good, health care policy to the idea of a good death, and much more. Dr. Callahan was an undergraduate at Yale, received his MA from Georgetown, and earned his PhD at Harvard. During his time at Harvard he became editor of Commonweal, a Catholic magazine, but later left the Catholic Church, traveled the world to study how different cultures thought about and regulated abortion, and in 1969 launched the Hastings Center (originally called the Institute for Society, Ethics, and Life Sciences). Straddling the academic and non-academic worlds, Dr. Callahan may be thought of as one of the world’s most influential public philosophers. As Mildred Z. Solomon puts it in a detailed obituary of Dr. Callahan that she wrote for the Hastings Center: When Callahan began his philosophical career in the 1950s, many philosophers in American universities were doing work in the analytic tradition, far from the public square. At that time, the philosophers who did broach policy questions [More]

Bioethicists’ Letter on the “Ethically Abhorrent” Treatment of Children at the U.S. Border

Over 800 bioethicists have signed a letter calling for the United States government to remedy its failures to assure the children it is detaining at its border are in safe and sanitary conditions.  The letter has been provided to the lawyers representing the class of children covered by the Flores settlement, which set the government’s policies for the detention of children. There have been numerous reports regarding the horrible conditions in which the children are being kept. Below are some excerpts from the letter: We are experts in medical ethics who have devoted our careers to rigorous analysis of challenging ethical issues relevant to health and well-being, to advancing the ethical treatment of all people and especially the most vulnerable, and to examining historical failures to uphold basic ethical principles so that we can prevent future atrocities. It does not take any special expertise, however, to recognize that the conditions in which children are being detained at U.S. border facilities are ethically abhorrent and demand immediate remediation… We should not have to convince the U.S. government of its obvious ethical obligations to protect vulnerable children in its custody or of its obvious failure to satisfy those obligations to date. And yet, it appears that argument is needed. The basic principles of medical ethics entail respect for persons, avoidance of harm, and fair treatment. These principles apply whenever individual and community health [More]

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