Biomedical Ethics

Edited by L. Syd M Johnson (Michigan Technological University)
Assistant editor: Tyler John (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
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History/traditions: Biomedical Ethics

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  1. A Moral Case for Legal Age Change.Joona Räsänen - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2018-105294.
    Should a person who feels his legal age does not correspond with his experienced age be allowed to change his legal age? In this paper, I argue that in some cases people should be allowed to change their legal age. Such cases would be when: 1) the person genuinely feels his age differs significantly from his chronological age and 2) the person’s biological age is recognized to be significantly different from his chronological age and 3) age change would likely prevent, (...)
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  2. Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America – By Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer, and James Colgrove. [REVIEW]Alan Rubel - 2009 - Review of Policy Research 26:633-634.
    Review of Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America – By Amy L. Fairchild, Ronald Bayer, and James Colgrove.
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  3. Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm.Maura Priest - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (2):45-59.
    Published in the American Journal of Bioethics.
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  4. Moving Beyond Mismatch.Robin Dembroff - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (2):60-63.
    In this peer commentary on Maura Priest's "Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm", I argue against the "mismatch" model of trans identity. On this model, which is prevalent in institutional and medical contexts, to be trans is to have one's gender identity "mismatch" with one's sexed body.
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  5. Informed Consent in Computed Tomography: A Case for Standardization.Casey Rentmeester - 2019 - Radiologic Technology 90 (3):300-306.
    Informed consent has become the most obvious instantiation of patient autonomy in contemporary medicine, though as a practice it does not encompass all spheres of medicine. While diagnostic radiological procedures carry some risk due to the use of radiation, there is no standardized practice of informed consent in the United States. The authors describe the ethical justification of informed consent, the legal background surrounding it, and a brief history of radiology and radiological protection. They ultimately argue that informed consent should (...)
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  6. Equipping Police with Naloxone Spray and Decriminalizing All Opioid Use in the U.S.: An Ethical Analysis.Marvin J. H. Lee - 2018 - Journal of Healthcare Ethics and Administration 4 (2):17-25.
    The number of police departments carrying Narcan keeps increasing at a fast pace throughout the U.S., as it is considered an effective measure to fight the opioid epidemic. However, there have been strong oppositions to the idea of the police Narcan use. Still, in 2018, the nation is debating about it. Though not clearly visible to the public, there are important ethical arguments against the police Narcan use which necessarily involve understanding of the ethical roles and responsibilities of police as (...)
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  7. Casuismo, ética biomédica y derecho.Oscar Vergara - 2014 - Persona y Derecho 71:307 - 333.
    Este trabajo gira en torno al casuismo. Se hace hincapié en su necesidad para la ética biomédica. A través de su carácter analógico, se pone de manifiesto, a su vez, su dependencia de los principios. Sin embargo, ni principios ni casos bastan por sí solos para iluminar completamente las decisiones biomédicas, que presentan un notable componente de incertidumbre. Una decisión no es un objeto preexistente, sino algo que hay que producir, un operable. Aquí se pone de manifiesto que esta realidad (...)
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  8. Ecological and Ethical Issues in Virtual Reality Research: A Call for Increased Scrutiny.Erick Jose Ramirez - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (2):211-233.
    We argue that moral judgment studies currently conducted utilizing virtual reality (VR) devices must confront a dilemma due to how virtual environments are designed and how those environments are experienced. We begin by first describing the contexts present in paradigmatic cases of naturalistic moral judgments. We then compare these contexts to current traditional (vignette-based) and VR-based moral judgment research. We show that, contra to paradigmatic cases, vignette-based and VR-based moral judgment research often fails to accurately model the situational features of (...)
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  9. Response to Open Peer Commentaries on “Health Research Priority Setting: The Duties of Individual Funders”.Leah Pierson & Joseph Millum - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (1):W5-W7.
    We respond to open peer commentaries on our target article, "Health Research Priority Setting: The Duties of Individual Funders".
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  10. Health Research Priority Setting: The Duties of Individual Funders.Leah Pierson & Joseph Millum - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (11):6-17.
    The vast majority of health research resources are used to study conditions that affect a small, advantaged portion of the global population. This distribution has been widely criticized as inequitable and threatens to exacerbate health disparities. However, there has been little systematic work on what individual health research funders ought to do in response. In this article, we analyze the general and special duties of research funders to the different populations that might benefit from health research. We assess how these (...)
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  11. Mexico and Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: What a Mess.César Palacios-González - 2018 - British Medical Bulletin 128.
    Abstract Background The first live birth following the use of a new reproductive technique, maternal spindle transfer (MST), which is a mitochondrial replacement technique (MRT), was accomplished by dividing the execution of the MST procedure between two countries, the USA and Mexico. This was done in order to avoid US legal restrictions on this technique. -/- Sources of data Academic articles, news articles, documents obtained through freedom of information requests, laws, regulations and national reports. -/- Areas of agreement MRTs are (...)
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  12. Autonomy-Centered Healthcare.Maura Priest - 2018 - HEC Forum 30 (3):297-318.
    In this paper, I aim to demonstrate that the consequences of the current United States health insurance scheme on both physician and patient autonomy is dire. So dire, in fact, that the only moral solution is something other than what we have now. The United States healthcare system faces much criticism at present. But my focus is particular: I am interested in the ways in which insurance interferes with physician and patient autonomy. I will argue in favor of an expansion (...)
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  13. A Storytelling Approach: Insights From the Shambaa.Camillo Lamanna - 2018 - Journal of Medical Humanities 39 (3):377-389.
    Narrative medicine explores the stories that patients tell; this paper, conversely, looks at some of the stories that patients are told. The paper starts by examining the ‘story’ told by the Shambaa people of Tanzania to explain the bubonic plague and contrasts this with the stories told by Ghanaian communities to explain lymphatic filariasis. By harnessing insights from memory studies, these stories’ memorability is claimed to be due to their use mnemonic devices woven into stories. The paper suggests that stories (...)
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  14. Libertarianism and Collective Action: Is There a Libertarian Case for Mandatory Vaccination?Charlie T. Blunden - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (1):71-74.
    In his paper ‘A libertarian case for mandatory vaccination’, Jason Brennan argues that even libertarians, who are very averse to coercive measures, should support mandatory vaccination to combat the harmful disease outbreaks that can be caused by non-vaccination. He argues that libertarians should accept the clean hands principle, which would justify mandatory vaccination. The principle states that there is a (sometimes enforceable) moral obligation not to participate in collectively harmful activities. Once libertarians accept the principle, they will be compelled to (...)
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  15. Richards, J. R., The Ethics of Transplants. [REVIEW]Tomas Hribek - 2014 - Filosoficky Casopis 62:915-919.
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  16. Reflections on Morality in Renaissance Thought.Vasil Gluchman - 2015 - Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe) 5 (3-4):131-139.
    We can read about the morality of that time in works by authors who describe or criticize the conduct and activity of the members of those classes taking the lead in the morality of that time. Thus, we can find a lot of information about ancient Greece and its morality in Plato’s presentation of Socrates, Peter Abelard presenting the Middle Ages, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Niccolo Machiavelli, Baldesar Castiglione, but even also Slovak authors such as Martin Rakovský and Juraj Koppay presenting (...)
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  17. Ethics and Politics of Great Moravia of the 9th Century.Vasil Gluchman - 2018 - Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe) 8 (1-2):15-31.
    The author studies the role of Christianity in two forms of 9th century political ethics in the history of Great Moravia, represented by the Great Moravian rulers Rastislav and Svatopluk. Rastislav’s conception predominantly uses the pre-Erasmian model of political ethics based on the pursuit of welfare for the country and its inhabitants by achieving the clerical-political independence of Great Moravia from the Frankish kingdom and, moreover, by utilising Christianity for the advancement of culture, education, literature, law and legality, as well (...)
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  18. Commentary: Why Couldn't I Be Nudged to Like a Big Mac.Luc Bovens - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (8):495-6.
    In this commentary on Yashar Saghai's article "Salvaging the Concept of Nudge" (JME 2013) I discuss his distinction between a 'prod' (which is 'substantially controlling') and a 'nudge' (which is ‘substantially non-controlling’).
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  19. The Embodied and Social Dimensions of Free Will: The Value of Phenomenology.Andreas Elpidorou - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (2):23-24.
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  20. What Does Consciousness Have to Do With It? Quality of Life in Patients With Disorders of Consciousness.Michal Klincewicz & Lily E. Frank - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (1):50-52.
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  21. Consciousness Is More Complicated Than That: Theoretical Limitations of Interactive Capacity.Michal Klincewicz - 2013 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 4 (4):38-39.
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  22. Vaccineskepsis, forældreautonomi og ytringsfrihed.Frej Klem Thomsen - 2018 - Politica 50 (2):177-200.
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  23. Will Cognitive Enhancement Create Post‐Persons? The Use(Lesness) of Induction in Determining the Likelihood of Moral Status Enhancement.Emilian Mihailov & Alexandru Dragomir - 2018 - Bioethics 32 (5):308-313.
    The prospect of cognitive enhancement well beyond current human capacities raises worries that the fundamental equality in moral status of human beings could be undermined. Cognitive enhancement might create beings with moral status higher than persons. Yet, there is an expressibility problem of spelling out what the higher threshold in cognitive capacity would be like. Nicholas Agar has put forward the bold claim that we can show by means of inductive reasoning that indefinite cognitive enhancement will probably mark a difference (...)
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  24. Advance Directives: Regarding the Recovery of Subjectivity Between Independence and Self-Narration.Giuliana Leocata - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Criticism 1 (1):89-106.
    After 41 years from the approval of the first living will law in 1976 in California, on December 22nd 2017 the bill on “Rules on in- formed consent and advance directives” has been approved in Italy. The applicability of the law highlights a lack of a univocal methodol- ogy regarding the recovery process of the patient’s subjective dimension under a testamentary will; so, it seemed useful to highlight the passages that occur between the drafting and the use of an advance (...)
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  25. A New Path for Humanistic Medicine.Juliette Ferry-Danini - 2018 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39 (1):57-77.
    According to recent approaches in the philosophy of medicine, biomedicine should be replaced or complemented by a humanistic medical model. Two humanistic approaches, narrative medicine and the phenomenology of medicine, have grown particularly popular in recent decades. This paper first suggests that these humanistic criticisms of biomedicine are insufficient. A central problem is that both approaches seem to offer a straw man definition of biomedicine. It then argues that the subsequent definition of humanism found in these approaches is problematically reduced (...)
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  26. Infotality: On Living, Loving, and Dying Through Information.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):33-35.
    Responding to Danaher et al. on self-tracking technologies, I argue that human lived experience is becoming increasingly mediated by generalized, statistical information, which I term our "infotality." Drawing on the work of Foucault, I argue that infotality is historically novel and best understood as the product of biopolitics, healthism, and informatics. I then critique the authors' "stance of cautious openness,” which misunderstands the aims of the technology in question and the fundamental ambiguity of the role information plays in the achievement (...)
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  27. Swiping Left on the Quantified Relationship: Exploring the Potential Soft Impacts.Lily Frank & Michał Klincewicz - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):27-28.
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  28. The Quantified Relationship.John Danaher, Sven Nyholm & Brian D. Earp - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):3-19.
    The growth of self-tracking and personal surveillance has given rise to the Quantified Self movement. Members of this movement seek to enhance their personal well-being, productivity, and self-actualization through the tracking and gamification of personal data. The technologies that make this possible can also track and gamify aspects of our interpersonal, romantic relationships. Several authors have begun to challenge the ethical and normative implications of this development. In this article, we build upon this work to provide a detailed ethical analysis (...)
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  29. Responsabilité éthique face aux biotechnologies.Carole Berset - 2016 - Swiss Philosophical Preprints.
    Ce dossier traite du concept de responsabilité en tant qu‘il constitue l‘une des bases d‘une réflexion éclairée en ce qui concerne les enjeux éthiques engen- drés par les biotechnologies. Qu‘entend-on par le concept de responsabilité ? L‘être humain est-il responsable des artéfacts qu‘il crée ? Si oui, de quel type de responsabilité s‘agit-il ? N‘est-elle que d‘ordre juridique ? Ou également d‘ordre éthique ou morale ? Comment et qui détermine l‘acceptation ou le re- fus des possibilités que nous offrent les (...)
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  30. What Makes Health Care Special?: An Argument for Health Care Insurance.L. Chad Horne - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (4):561-587.
    Citizens in wealthy liberal democracies are typically expected to see to basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter out of their own income, and those without the means to do so usually receive assistance in the form of cash transfers. Things are different with health care. Most liberal societies provide their citizens with health care or health care insurance in kind, either directly from the state or through private insurance companies that are regulated like public utilities. Except perhaps for small (...)
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  31. G. E. Moore and Theory of Moral/Right Action in Ethics of Social Consequences.Vasil Gluchman - 2017 - Ethics and Bioethics (in Central Europe) 7 (1-2):57-65.
    G. E. Moore’s critical analysis of right action in utilitarian ethics and his consequentialist concept of right action is a starting point for a theory of moral/right action in ethics of social consequences. The terms right and wrong have different meanings in these theories. The author explores different aspects of right and wrong actions in ethics of social consequences and compares them with Moore’s ideas. He positively evaluates Moore’s contributions to the development his theory of moral/right action.
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  32. Being Better Bodies. [REVIEW]Joel Michael Reynolds - 2017 - Hastings Center Report 47 (6):46-47.
    [Excerpt]: Bioethics has an uneasy relationship with embodiment. Only with vigilance does knowledge of the body as it is lived counterbalance the momentous inertia of knowledge of the body as an object brought about by modern medical sciences. As a field tethered to detached, technical ways of knowing the world, bioethics must toil to treat the body as more than mere material and machine. To be more is, among other things, to be social—to live in the thickets of interdependence and (...)
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  33. My Conscience May Be My Guide, but You May Not Need to Honor It.Hugh LaFollette - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (1):44-58.
    A number of health care professionals assert a right to be exempt from performing some actions currently designated as part of their standard professional responsibilities. Most advocates claim that they should be excused from these duties simply by averring that they are conscientiously opposed to performing them. They believe that they need not explain or justify their decisions to anyone; nor should they suffer any undesirable consequences of such refusal. Those who claim this right err by blurring or conflating three (...)
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  34. The Ethics of Betel Nut Consumption in Taiwan.Joseph Tham, Geoffrey Sem, Eugene Sit & Michael Cheng-tek Tai - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (11):739-740.
    The ethics of betel nut use in Taiwan are examined in this article. It first presents scientific facts about the betel quid, its consumption and negative health consequences and then analyses the cultural background and economic factors contributing to its popularity in Asia. Governmental and institutional attempts to curb betel nut cultivation, distribution and sales are also described. Finally, the bioethical implications of this often ignored subject are considered.
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  35. ¿Es la medicalización un fenómeno negativo? Un análisis de las consecuencias que suelen atribuirse a la medicalización?Alberto Oya - 2017 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía (71):7-18.
    En este artículo expondré un análisis de la valoración negativa de las consecuencias que suelen atribuirse al fenómeno de la medicalización y, partiendo de aquí, mi objetivo básico será mostrar que la medicalización no es en sí mismo un fenómeno negativo. Sólo lo será cuando se obtenga un valor negativo del cálculo entre, por un lado, la efectividad de la propuesta médica para solucionar el problema y, por otro lado, el balance entre los beneficios de dicha propuesta médica y sus (...)
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  36. Fertility, Immigration, and the Fight Against Climate Change.Jake Earl, Colin Hickey & Travis N. Rieder - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (8):582-589.
    Several philosophers have recently argued that policies aimed at reducing human fertility are a practical and morally justifiable way to mitigate the risk of dangerous climate change. There is a powerful objection to such “population engineering” proposals: even if drastic fertility reductions are needed to prevent dangerous climate change, implementing those reductions would wreak havoc on the global economy, which would seriously undermine international antipoverty efforts. In this article, we articulate this economic objection to population engineering and show how it (...)
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  37. Liberty, Fairness and the ‘Contribution Model’ for Non-Medical Vaccine Exemption Policies: A Reply to Navin and Largent.Giubilini Alberto, Douglas Thomas & Savulescu Julian - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (3).
    In a paper recently published in this journal, Navin and Largent argue in favour of a type of policy to regulate non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccination which they call ‘Inconvenience’. This policy makes it burdensome for parents to obtain an exemption to child vaccination, for example, by requiring parents to attend immunization education sessions and to complete an application form to receive a waiver. Navin and Largent argue that this policy is preferable to ‘Eliminationism’, i.e. to policies that do not (...)
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  38. The Human Genome as Public: Justifications and Implications.Michelle J. Bayefsky - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (3):209-219.
    Since the human genome was decoded, great emphasis has been placed on the unique, personal nature of the genome, along with the benefits that personalized medicine can bring to individuals and the importance of safeguarding genetic privacy. As a result, an equally important aspect of the human genome – its common nature – has been underappreciated and underrepresented in the ethics literature and policy dialogue surrounding genetics and genomics. This article will argue that, just as the personal nature of the (...)
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  39. The Precautionary Principle and the Social Institution of Blood Donation.Cristian Timmermann - 2017 - American Journal of Bioethics 17 (3):52-54.
    As a policy instrument that is deeply rooted in technology assessment, the precautionary principle examines the effects of a given object on humans and the environment. In practice the principle is rarely used to analyze the effects of our safety measures on the object itself or the way it is produced. Yet it is exactly in the effect on the blood procurement system that blood safety regulations based on the precautionary principle have to be particularly careful, as the vast majority (...)
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  40. Improving Nonmedical Vaccine Exemption Policies: Three Case Studies.Mark Christopher Navin & Mark Aaron Largent - 2017 - Public Health Ethics 10 (3).
    Some communities that exempt parents from vaccine mandates have recently reformed their exemption policies by eliminating nonmedical exemptions, allowing nonmedical exemptions only for parents who object to vaccination for religious reasons, or making exemptions more difficult to obtain. We argue against eliminating nonmedical exemptions because there are weighty moral reasons to offer these exemptions and because eliminating them will likely have unfortunate social and political consequences. We also argue against allowing nonmedical exemptions only for parents who object to vaccination for (...)
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  41. Is There a Right to the Death of the Foetus?Eric Mathison & Jeremy Davis - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (4):313-320.
    At some point in the future – perhaps within the next few decades – it will be possible for foetuses to develop completely outside the womb. Ectogenesis, as this technology is called, raises substantial issues for the abortion debate. One such issue is that it will become possible for a woman to have an abortion, in the sense of having the foetus removed from her body, but for the foetus to be kept alive. We argue that while there is a (...)
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  42. The Ethics of Vaccination Nudges in Pediatric Practice.Mark Navin - 2017 - HEC Forum 29 (1):43-57.
    Techniques from behavioral economics—nudges—may help physicians increase pediatric vaccine compliance, but critics have objected that nudges can undermine autonomy. Since autonomy is a centrally important value in healthcare decision-making contexts, it counts against pediatric vaccination nudges if they undermine parental autonomy. Advocates for healthcare nudges have resisted the charge that nudges undermine autonomy, and the recent bioethics literature illustrates the current intractability of this debate. This article rejects a principle to which parties on both sides of this debate sometimes seem (...)
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  43. Heroism, Meaning and Organ Donation: A Reply to Fruh.Fuller Lisa - 2016 - American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Medicine 15 (2):27-29.
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  44. The Social Value of Health Research and the Worst Off.Nicola Barsdorf & Joseph Millum - 2017 - Bioethics 31 (2):105-115.
    In this article we argue that the social value of health research should be conceptualized as a function of both the expected benefits of the research and the priority that the beneficiaries deserve. People deserve greater priority the worse off they are. This conception of social value can be applied for at least two important purposes: in health research priority setting when research funders, policy-makers, or researchers decide between alternative research projects; and in evaluating the ethics of proposed research proposals (...)
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  45. The Case Against Forced Methadone Detox in the US Prisons.Daniel D’Hotman, Jonathan Pugh & Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - Public Health Ethics:phw040.
    Methadone maintenance therapy is a cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for heroin dependence. In the USA, a majority of heroin-dependent offenders are forced to detox from methadone when incarcerated. Recent research published in The Lancet has demonstrated the negative health and economic outcomes associated with such policies. Methadone Continuation Versus Forced Withdrawal on Incarceration in a Combined US Prison and Jail: A Randomised, Open Label Trial. The Lancet, 386, 350–359). This novel evidence raises questions as to the justification for current policies of (...)
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  46. Rethinking the Ethical Approach to Health Information Management Through Narration: Pertinence of Ricœur’s ‘Little Ethics’.Corine Mouton Dorey - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (4):531-543.
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  47. Bioethics, Culture and Collaboration.Nicholas Tonti-Filippini - 2012 - Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics 2 (1):Article 5.
    The practical problem of how to conduct oneself as a Christian and a Philosopher or Bioethicist in public debate an when asked to be engaged in government committees is difficult. One solution that has had some support has been to approach the issues on the grounds of our natural law tradition but understood anthropocentrically – the ultimate end is not communion with God by integral human development. This is often called New Natural Law (NNL). This separation of Philosophy and Theology (...)
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  48. Borrowed Beauty? Understanding Identity in Asian Facial Cosmetic Surgery.Yves Saint James Aquino & Norbert Steinkamp - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (3):431-441.
    This review aims to identify (1) sources of knowledge and (2) important themes of the ethical debate related to surgical alteration of facial features in East Asians. This article integrates narrative and systematic review methods. In March 2014, we searched databases including PubMed, Philosopher’s Index, Web of Science, Sociological Abstracts, and Communication Abstracts using key terms “cosmetic surgery,” “ethnic*,” “ethics,” “Asia*,” and “Western*.” The study included all types of papers written in English that discuss the debate on rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty (...)
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  49. Autonomy and the Moral Authority of Advance Directives.Eric Vogelstein - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (5):500-520.
    Although advance directives are widely believed to be a key way to safeguard the autonomy of incompetent medical patients, significant questions exist about their moral authority. The main philosophical concern involves cases in which an incompetent patient no longer possesses the desires on which her advance directive was based. The question is, does that entail that prior expressions of medical choices are no longer morally binding? I believe that the answer is “yes.” I argue that a patient’s autonomy is not (...)
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  50. Ethical Reflections on Genetic Enhancement with the Aim of Enlarging Altruism.David DeGrazia - 2016 - Health Care Analysis 24 (3):180-195.
    When it comes to caring about and helping those in need, our imaginations tend to be weak and our motivation tends to be parochial. This is a major moral problem in view of how much unmet need there is in the world and how much material capacity there is to address that need. With this problem in mind, the present paper will focus on genetic means to the enhancement of a moral capacity—a disposition to altruism—and of a cognitive capacity that (...)
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