Couldn’t find the language – the positive counterparts of risk and hazards

Continuing my recent theme of the impact of language on ethics and decision making I’m presently writing a paper on the use of claims based on justice to object to new technologies such as human enhancement or synthetic biology. In the process of writing this paper I’ve encountered a rather odd gap in our language. […]

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Ethics (without the brain?)

I’ve set my RSS to receive updates from Secondhand Smoke, which is one of the blogs at First Things.  It’s written by Wesley Smith, who is affiliated to the Discovery Institute, the creationist thinktank in Seattle: that gives you an indication of the sort of position he occupies – not just on bioethics, but also […]

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German Court Rules on Withdrawal of Treatment

German courts have today ruled that it is legal to withdraw lifesaving treatment with consent.  According to Deutsche Welle, Germany’s highest criminal court has ruled that passive assisted suicide is legal if the patient has explicitly decreed his or her wish that treatment used to keep the patient alive should be terminated. “Turning off a […]

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Does it Matter when Life Begins?

PZ Meyers recently blogged about his response to one of the perennial claims of pro-life advocates: that life begins at conception.  Predictably, he accuses pro-lifers of misunderstanding the question, and he does this by denying that life begins at conception because life began billions of years ago: everything else is just a part of a […]

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A Bad Day to Detox… and a Diversion to Mill

Sense about Science are truly wonderful people, but, I fear, are engaged in a somewhat futile attempt to rid the world of gobbledygook.  Nevertheless, with Stakhanovite determination, they’re putting the boot into the detox industry.  Again.  On a similar theme, Ben Goldacre showed his mettle on Today and elsewhere. I wish them luck, but I […]

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And the language of bioethics is… ?

Going to conferences can often be a frustrating experience. Going may be good for refreshing your academic network but there is rarely any deep discussion of the topics on the agenda and many of the presentations are to be blunt rather boring. I therefore count myself very lucky to have attended 3 interesting conferences within […]

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