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 […]

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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 […]

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Bad Surgeons and Good Faith

This is a bit of a strange post, not least because it involves citing sources – a blog post, and a whole blog -that have since been taken down from the net, for reasons that will become clear.  It’s also going to involve a pair of fairly hefty quotations, largely because it’s the absence of […]

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How to be a good (consequentialist) bioethicist…

There has recently been a pattern of papers (and I am not going to identify which ones) which I take as being slightly embarrassing to academic bioethicists because they portray us in a less than flattering light because of the naive mistakes they seem to make, or the outlandish poorly argued claims they make. I […]

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Jeremy Hunt and Costs to the Taxpayer

“Personal responsibility” is a strange phrase: while not as slippery as some, it can mean any number of things, and be put to use in any number of political contexts.  It was the title of the speech that the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, gave yesterday.  In that, he spoke of three aspects to the concept. First […]

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On Being a Hypocrite

A piece appeared in The Atlantic a few days ago that aims to prick the perceived bubble of professional ethicists.  In fact, the headline is pretty hostile: THE HYPOCRISY OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICISTS.  Blimey.  The sub-headline doesn’t pull its punches either: “Even people who decide what’s right and wrong for a living don’t always behave well.” I […]

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Animal Liberation: Sacrificing the Good on the Altar of the Perfect?

For my money, one of the best papers at the nonhuman animal ethics conference at Birmingham a couple of weeks ago was Steve Cooke’s.*  He was looking at the justifications for direct action in the name of disrupting research on animals, and presented the case – reasonably convincingly – that the main arguments against the permissibility of […]

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