Tag: life style

Bioethics Blogs

On Deanthropologizing Anthropology — An Essay on Tarek Elhaik’s “The Incurable Image” by Tobias Rees

“Are cultural anthropologists ready to shed their habit of using society and culture? (…) No, I don’t feel so. (…) It seems to me that many anthropologists wish to keep the human (…). There is a tricky problem here: concentrating around the human could mean either maintaining this character apart from other entities — the former beings of ‘nature’ defining by contrast what could be called the ‘humanistic’ position —, or it could mean accepting that, as soon as you take the human into consideration, it is suddenly redistributed (not disintegrated, that’s the whole point, but redistributed) in many other roles and connections that make its earlier figurations unrecognizable.”

Bruno Latour

 

1.

Could one deanthropologize anthropology? Is it possible to differentiate anthropology, science of the human, from the figure of ‘Man’ as it emerged in the 18th century and made anthropology possible (Foucault 1966)?

At first these questions may sound bizarre — and an anthropology journal an odd choice for asking them. However, the will to leave the human behind is a prominent feature of what one could call contemporary anthropologies of nature. The reference here is largely to the so-called ontological turn (for reviews see Kohn 2015; Boellstorff 2016) and multi-species anthropology (Helmreich and Kirksey 2010; Kirksey 2014).[1]

 

2.

Admittedly, I find the writings of the multi-species anthropologists and the ontologists — the two groups are best kept separate, precisely insofar as many of the former are not actually ontologists at all — hugely fascinating: I find myself intrigued by the effort to break free from ‘the human.’

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Expanding The Moral Community: Why is it so hard?


Much of American history can be described as the struggle to
expand the moral community in which an increasing number of human beings are
seen as having basic rights under the constitution. We forget sometimes that
though the inclusion of all people was perhaps implied in our early documents,
as in “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal…” from the Declaration of Independence, it has taken historical time and
struggle to come closer to realizing that ideal. This struggle has been the
quest for recognition of more and more individuals not assumed initially to have
the right to vote and exercise control over their lives, which included African
Americans, women, minorities, and more recently the LGBT community. The growing
recognition of more and more individuals as being full fledged citizens has
been a slow, often painful, birthing process of freedom, in the sense of
unleashing human potential and possibilities, within the democratic process.


 


The recent uproar over the
Anti-LGBT law
passed in North Carolina is a reminder of how difficult it is
for many states and communities to accept and accommodate historically
marginalized people into the mainstream of society. This law was a quick
reaction by the right wing North Carolina legislature and governor to an
ordinance passed in Charlotte, similar to what other cities around the country
are doing, allowing transgender people to use restrooms according to their
gender identity. Perhaps this law also should be seen as a reaction to the
Supreme Court ruling in 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage, which has been
propelling society toward greater openness and acceptance of LGBT life styles,
integrating them into the mainstream.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

My Fair Trade Journey: Evaluating Personal Responsibility and Consumerism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STUDENT VOICES | CHYNN PRIZE FIRST-PLACE WINNER 

By: Tiffany Melillo

Every day, regardless of what I do, I use forced labor.

No, I am not a plantation owner in the South during the Civil War, nor am I a current factory owner in Asia. Rather, I am a 21-year-old Fordham student from the Bronx. I grew up in a loving, middle-class family with happily married parents, a brother, and a cat. I do not fit the stereotype of someone who uses forced labor, but I assure you that I do.

According to Made in a Free World, I currently use 26 “slaves”, but I am positive that number is low. My consumerism is contributing to a cycle full of injustice. The goods I buy come at the cost of the marginalized both domestically and internationally. Child, forced, or under-paid labor are a woven part of a majority of the items I own, yet, there is only so much that I can — perhaps willing is a better word — do about it.

I am trying to find a way to live a “normal” life in such a manner that I do not contribute to the human rights abuses that are happening every day and help those whose lives have been adversely affected, or ruined, by this social sin[i],[1]. I do not have a solution to these problems, but I know that Fair Trade can help. Throughout this essay I will described my Fair Trade journey and the ethical challenges I have faced throughout it.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Truth Telling In Medicine: Problems Old and New

The issue of truth telling in medicine was a lively concern in the early days of modern medical ethics during the 1970’s. A new moral awareness had emerge that provided a clear moral rejection of the paternalistic approach taken in the physician-patient relationship that prioritized the traditional values of beneficence and non-maleficence over truth telling. Of course the key development that fueled this new moral perspective as well as the growing passion for medical ethics was the newfound sense that arose beginning in the 1960’s that patients with capacity have a fundamental right both to refuse unwanted treatment and give voluntary informed consent to treatments they were considering. It became obvious to students of medical ethics that if patients are to be able to exercise their right to give voluntary informed consent they must receive a full and accurate disclosure of the relevant information necessary for them to make a decision.

Up to the early 1960’s, patients coming into the health care system very well may not have had an opportunity to give voluntary informed consent. Giving patients this opportunity just wasn’t part of the medical culture. In the early 1960’s it was common for oncologists to not disclose a diagnosis of cancer; by the late 1970’s there was almost universal agreement that full disclosure was the expectation. The full moral force of the principle of respect for patient autonomy happened relatively quickly, especially after the Belmont Report of 1978, which articulated the basic principles of medical ethics (though non-maleficence was subsumed under beneficence). There is no question that the physician-patient relationship has been evolving ever since with new levels of expectations and involvement of patients and their surrogates.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Belief In Ultimate Truth: Does it make for peaceful living?

As I have been saying in recent blogs, most of what we do in
clinical ethics, but also in most areas of bioethics, is procedural ethics.
That is when we are faced with an ethical dilemma, our approach, whether
consciously or unconsciously is usually to try to reach a reasonable compromise
or consensus among the key participants that are in conflict consistent with
well-established values and principles. This tendency reflects an obvious
reality about the nature of contemporary ethics that we often ignore: in the
current Western moral setting, our only viable methodology for resolving value
laden disputes, whether at the micro level in clinical ethics or macro level in
healthcare policy, is to attempt to craft an agreement or consensus among those
with a say. Whether we are dealing with patients and families at odds with
their physician on how to define the goals of care in the hospital setting or
trying to build a consensus of opinion among voters in the political arena, we
assume there are no final, authoritative moral answers that avail themselves to
us. Whether we like it or not, we humans must figure out ethical dilemmas for
ourselves and learn to get along.

Yet the idea of procedural ethics remains very worrisome for
many people, including such bioethicists and Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. He believes
that procedural ethics, such much of what we do in clinical ethics, is not
really ethics in because it is based on convention and legalistic type
standards. For him ethics worthy of the name must flow from a content-rich,
canonical moral tradition that provides moral authority to our everyday ethical
and moral judgments.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.