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The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...
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The growing importance of ethics in ERA: From moral philosophy to ...

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  • 1. Prof. Margit Sutrop Director of the Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu, Estonia HEALTH-NCP-NET 1st Training, Brussels, 21.10.2008
  • 2.  Morality and ethics  Reasons of the boom in ethics  Ethics as an integral part of research  Plurality of morals and unity of ethics: In search of universal principles  Changes in ethical frameworks: new challenges to ethics
  • 3. The use of terms  Morality is the embodiment of norms and values which have been collectively acknowledged as binding. Morality refers to historically emerged practices of people and cultures.  Ethics refers to the whole domain of morality and to the theoretical reflection on moral values, norms and principles.
  • 4. Theoretical ethics  Normative ethics (justification of norms)  Metaethics (language of morals, nature of value judgements) Practical ethics  Applied ethics ( moral issues of different fields of life)  Professional ethics (values, obligations codified in professional practices)
  • 5.  Medical ethics  Bioethics  Environmental ethics  Public ethics  Media ethics  Business ethics  Ethics of sports  Research ethics
  • 6.  A search for shared values  Institutionalization of ethics (first centre in 1969 Hastings Centre on Hudson)  More courses of ethics in university curricula  Creation of special journals for ethics  Ethical review system established  Codes of ethics for different professions
  • 7.  Institutionalization of ethics: neither of the previous booms produced centres for ethics  Ethics is treated as a subject where controversies are normal (courses of ethics are problem-oriented)  Philosophers not ministries leading the discussions  Training in ethics for all professions required
  • 8.  Fundamental changes in society (values under change, growing individual choices)  Urbanization, huge cities  Globalization  Secularization of Western societies  Diversity of religions  Growth of individual autonomy  People are more aware of their rights and less about their duties and responsibilities
  • 9. Ethics in science  Research ethics: a kind of professional ethics which sets and justifies the ethical standards of conduct in research  Bioethics: a kind of applied ethics which deals with ethical issues in biomedical research
  • 10. Research ethics  Standards of ethical conduct in science: honesty, carefulness, openness, freedom, credit, social responsibility, mutual respect,respect for subjects.  Ethical standards of conduct in research play a key role in advancing the goals of science; in promoting cooperation, collaboration, and trust among researchers; and in attaining the public’s trust and support.  European Science Foundation’s “Good scientific practice in research and scholarship”, 2000
  • 11.  Advances in science and technology create new ethical issues of research. From the question “what we can do?” to the question “what we should/may do”?  Max Weber: the natural sciences can give us answers to questions about what we should do if we want to rule the world technologi-cally. But to answer the question whether we must or should rule the world technologically, we must step outside science.
  • 12. Continously pivoted, disputed concepts & issues  concept of human dignity  the concept of personhood: when does human life begin?  the moral status of the human embryo (abortion, stem cell research)  the right of the individual versus the right of the community  respect for the human life versus beneficence (duty to alleviate the suffering)
  • 13. Attempts to formulate universal principles  The Belmont Report (1979)  Beauchamp and Childress “Principles of Biomedical Ethics” (1979)  The Oviedo Convention on Human Rights & Biomedicine (1997)  UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005)
  • 14.  The globalisation of medical resarch: the need to capture universal values and formulate universal principles (global bioethics)  The emerging reality of the diversity of moral cultures: the need to respect plurality and ethical diversity (Asian, American, European bioethics)
  • 15. American versus European principles of bioethics Tom Beauchamp and James Childress (1979)  autonomy  beneficence,  non-maleficence  justice Peter Kemp, a.o Barcelona Declaration (2000)  autonomy  dignity  integrity  vulnerability
  • 16.  The disagreement is often not the result of the uptake of different values but of different interpretation or prioritization of values.  Moral values depend on our self-understanding, conception of good life, which depend on historical and economic situation, cultural tradition, and religious convictions.
  • 17. Is there a need for changing ethical frameworks?  From individual liberal ethics towards communitarian approach  individual rights versus the common good?  Individual interests versus public interest?
  • 18. Individualist framework in medical ethics  Medical ethics, and more recently bioethics, have been guided by values of liberal individualism.  Values of autonomy and privacy introduced later than beneficence and non-maleficence  Principle of informed consent codified after World War II to denounce the practices of Nazi medicine (Nuremberg code etc)
  • 19. The Academy of Medical Sciences report, January 2006 Report “Personal data for public good: using health information in medical research”:  Overemphasis on privacy and autonomy, including an insistence on the need for explicit consent even though this may be impractical or undesirable for other reasons.  The Academy invoked the “public interest” argument, suggesting that inhibiting the use of medical records for research is unethical because lives which could otherwise have been saved by epidemiological research were being lost.
  • 20. Reasons for re-thinking ethical frameworks  Instrumental reasons: - epidemiological research is more difficult since without a subject’s informed consent it is impossible to gather statistical data - restrictions requiring new informed consent on the re- use of biological samples and data severely limit research;  Substantial reasons: genetic information is by nature shared among others thus raising doubts about the traditional applicability of concepts like ownership and privacy .
  • 21. How to proceed? Arguing for a pluralist approach to values.  No need to see individual-interest based and collective-interest based ethical frameworks in opposition. This is not an either/or issue. An appropriate balance between the individual and public interests should be maintained.  Values we care about are plural and contextual.  There is no one overriding value, yet values are objective and not relative.  Ranking of values only reasonable in particular settings.
  • 22. Thank you for your attention!

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