Introduction to Bioethics. Introduction Lesson 1. When was the last time you said, “can we talk about ethics?”. Why? Because the reputation of ethics says it is often regarded as an abstract topic debated in two classes…. Religion and Philosophy.
Ethics is used (in its simplest form) everyday!
“Ethics….Seeks to determine what a person should do, or the best course of action, and provides reasons why.”
“Ethics addresses questions.”
Today, ethics is one of the main branches of philosophical study. It is a systematic, formal inquiry into the nature of right and wrong actions. The most common goal of ethics is to discover universal moral rules. In order to achieve this goal, ethicists (philosophers who study and apply ethics) often explore the nature of “the good” for human beings.
The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which translates to “disposition” or “spirit of the community.” With discoveries from ancient China, ancient India, and ancient Mesopotamia, it is clear that moral codes have existed at least as long as writing itself. But, the first formal ethical theories belong to Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These ethical theories were the first attempts to establish standards of human conduct based on rational arguments. What set these theories apart from all those that came before, was that each tried to establish standards based on rational arguments, rather than faith, superstition, consensus, or convention. Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, ethics has assumed a very important role in philosophical study and many philosophers today still devote their careers to its study.
Consider these sentences
Jon acted ethically
Jane acted morally
How are the two sentences different?
Can sometimes be defined as the beliefs and standards of good and bad, right or wrong that people actually do and should follow in a society.
Can be defined systematic study of morality.
In other words….
Ethics is the theory and morality is the practice.
Morality is what people do and believe,
Ethics gives a philosophical account of justified behavior and belief.
Things that people prize and promote
Values are names for states of affairs that conform to what is ethically right and that further the human good.
Metaethics: Clarifies the rational standards and methods for the study of ethics
Normative ethics: develops ethical principles, rules, and ideals that spell out standards of good and bad, right and wrong.
Bioethics is normative ethics applied to decision making and public policy in the domains of biology, medicine and health care
Bioethics is not about having strong personal convictions on one side or another but having a good grasp of the issues on all sides of a question in order to arrive at a good decision
Six Steps can be used
What has to be decided
What ethical problem (s) does this decision seem to raise?
Of the facts known: which ones are relevant to the ethical problem, and which ones are not relevant?
Example: The fact that a pregnant woman has brown hair is not relevant to the issue of genetic screening, while the fact that she has a history of cystic fibrosis in her family is.
What is not known that should be known before a decision is made.
How reliable is the information we have; and what type of information is it?
Who will be affected by the decision, and in what ways?
How exactly will they be affected?
Is the harm intended by the decision-maker or is it merely
Thales of Miletus 640 BC
1st titled philosopher
Earth was a mass floating on water.
Socrates 469- 399 BC
Contemplated the meaning of “self”
Often exposed the errors of men who claimed to have wisdom
Was sent to trial and sentenced to death by poison
Democritus 460-370 BC
Theorized about “atomism”
Believed a man’s conscience is the only thing that could determine right from wrong
Plato 428-347 BC
Student of Socrates
Wrote 26 dialogues on philosophy
Earliest were memoires of Socrates that led up and through his trial
Labeled as one of the most important thinkers of the ancient world
Aristotle 384-322 BC
Student of Plato
Taught Alexander the Great
Was accused of teaching dangerous teachings and was exiled
Believed that supreme good consists of contemplation and action combined, and virtue is the gold between the 2 vices
Archimedes 287-212 BC
Labeled as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time
Set attacking ships on fire with an array of mirrors
Was killed during an invasion by Romans (Roman’s were ordered not to kill the great mind of Archimedes
By yourself, identify at least 3 instances you thought ethically. Be able to reason why you think it was an ethical situation.