We’re all Gonna Die… Eventually

It might just be a product of the turnover of people with whom I have much professional contact, but I’ve not heard as much about human enhancement in the past couple of years as I had in, say, 2010.  In particular, there seems to be less being said about radical life extension.  Remember Aubrey de […]

Read More…

Free Labour and Quiet Doubts

Those of us on the academic side of things will almost certainly recognise the situation: you’re sitting in your school’s Teaching & Learning committee, or a staff/student committee meeting, or something like that, and you hear the complaint from students that they should get more contact time.  Academics should spend more time teaching rather than […]

Read More…

There’s Argument, and there’s Disputation.

Very well, then: let’s allow that the quality of argument in bioethics – and clinical ethics in particular – is not of high quality.  What should be done about it? That’s a hard question, though it’s predictable and wholly justifiable that it should be asked.  And, to be honest, I don’t know offhand.  I might […]

Read More…

Writers Whose Expertise is Deplorably Low

Something popped up on my twitter feed the other day: this document from Oxford’s philosophy department.  (I’m not sure quite what it is.  Brochure?  In-house magazine?  Dunno.  It doesn’t really matter, though.)  In it, there’s a striking passage from Jeff McMahan’s piece on practical ethics: Even though what is variously referred to as ‘practical ethics’ or […]

Read More…

Why Brits? Why India?

Julie Bindel had a piece in The Guardian the other day about India’s surrogate mothers.  It makes for pretty grim reading.  Even if the surrogates are paid, and are paid more than they might otherwise have earned, there’s still a range of problems that the piece makes clear. For one thing, the background of the surrogates is […]

Read More…

Thumbs Up for Privacy

“Hey, Iain,” says Fran, a Manchester alumna, “What do you make of this?”  I won’t bother rehearsing the whole scenario described in the post, but the dilemma it describes – set out by one Simon Carley – is fairly easily summarised: you work in A&E; a patient is rolled in who’s unconscious; there’s no ID, […]

Read More…

Mature Content?

There’s an aisle at the supermarket that has a sign above it that reads “ADULT CEREALS”.  Every time I see it, I snigger inwardly at the thought of sexually explicit cornflakes.  (Pornflakes.  You’re welcome.)  It’s not big, and it’s not clever: I know that.  But all these years living in south Manchester have taught me to […]

Read More…

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Here’s an intriguing letter from one John Doherty, published in the BMJ yesterday: Medical titles may well reinforce a clinical hierarchy and inculcate deference in Florida, as Kennedy writes, but such constructs are culture bound. When I worked in outback Australia the patients called me “Mate,” which is what I called them. They still wanted me to be in […]

Read More…

Assisted Dying’s Conscience Claws

Aaaaaaaand so the latest attempt to get assisted dying of some sort onto the statute books in the UK has bitten the dust.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  Watching the debate in the Commons – I didn’t watch it all, but I did watch a fair chunk of it – it was striking just how […]

Read More…