Mindel Scott

Ethical Implications Definition Biology

In the debate on bioethics, many solutions have been proposed, none of them is without problems. I will briefly mention one of them that claims that the embryo has been a member of the moral community since fertilization, that is, that the embryo is a person in a morally relevant sense. This is, of course, a socially and politically important opinion. In fact, some of its proponents not only take it for granted, but also take it for granted, claiming that anyone who denies it must have a vested interest in promoting abortion and other “immoral” behaviors toward prenatal life. Sometimes they also claim that their position is a clear consequence of the discoveries of modern biology: does not science claim that since fertilization, a new genome different from the genomes of both parents has formed and thus marks the origin of a new individual? Here we have an example of how scientific knowledge is instrumentalized and put at the service to support a certain moral position. It is therefore important to understand why things are much more complicated than the defenders of the thesis of personality in fertilization allow. Decisions regarding bioethical issues are made daily in different situations, such as: the relationship between patients and their physicians, the treatment of people in biomedical experiments, the allocation of scarce medical resources, the complex issues surrounding the beginning and end of a human life, and clinical medicine and life science research. In addition, bioethics has been condemned for its lack of diversity of thought, especially when it comes to race. Even though the field has expanded to include the domains of public opinion, policy-making, and medical decision-making, few or no academic papers have been written on the intersection between race—particularly the cultural values contained in this concept—and the bioethical literature.

John Hoberman illustrates this in a 2016 critique, in which he points out that bioethicists have traditionally been reluctant to expand their discourse to include sociological and historically relevant applications. [55] Central to this is the concept of white normativity, which establishes the dominance of white hegemonic structures in bioethical science[56] and tends to reinforce existing prejudices. Clinical neuroethics is a field at the intersection of neuroethics and clinical ethics, two dynamic and exciting disciplines. While neuroethics has evolved at a time when neuroscience is making important discoveries and developments at a rapid pace, clinical-ethical questions have been on the table since the early days of medicine. Clinical neuroethics combines these established problems with problems raised by interventions, medications, and treatments that affect mental and neurological conditions. For example, the use of ventilators has raised questions about who is alive and who has died, as ventilators could maintain blood flow and oxygen flow. Now, imaging tools can detect brain function in those who appear clinically dead, and these questions are being asked again. Clinical neuroethics deals with topics such as consciousness, death, deep brain stimulation, pain, and improving the clinical setting.

This reasoning is understandable because it comes from a philosophical tradition that defines a person as “an individual substance of a rational nature” (Boethius). If one accepts this definition, one may have the impression that with the assertion that X is an individual substance, one has already half met the requirements of the definition. But these kinds of arguments are fundamentally unhealthy. Even if we can say that an embryo is an individual from a biological point of view, this has very little to do with the classical notion of “individual substance”, a term that belongs to a pre-scientific ontological scheme. The biologically informed concept of individuality is operational and relative. For one thing, there is no unified concept of individuality that can be applied consistently to the entire living world, which is not surprising given that individuality in multicellular organisms is a developed property, not an a priori. But even if we limit ourselves to Homo sapiens, what do we really mean when we say “the embryo is an individual”? Nowadays, everyone seems to realize more or less that this has something to do with genetics, but the connection is much more complex than is generally believed. Genetic individuality in the etymological sense of divisum ab alio, distinction and separation in genetic terms, is neither necessary nor sufficient to establish a digital identity. In fact, if genetic distinction through the interposition of genetic modification were the only defining characteristic of an individual, we would have to say that gametes – sperm and eggs – are also individuals.

But unlike the famous Monty Python sketch, no moral tradition I know of claims that “every sperm is sacred.” We can then turn to what could be called a genomic concept of individuality: a new individual appears during fertilization, but not during meiosis, that is to say during the formation of a new diploid genome. But it is fundamentally a definition, by no means an empirical discovery about the nature of individuality. In addition, it is a rather strange definition, since it does not correspond to the notion of digital identity, as evidenced by the existence of identical twins. When a zygote divides to produce twins, the two resulting individuals are obviously not identical. Therefore, the zygote from which they come cannot be numerically identical to both twins at the same time. It is a matter of elementary logic, not even biology. However, it illustrates a biological point, namely that genomic individuality is not mapped individually with the concepts of the individual and the person in ordinary speech because it is not stably preserved at the beginning of embryonic development. Genomic individuality cannot be used as a modern substitute for individualis substantia. As a result, the tactic of taking the moral intuitions associated with the ordinary concept of person and bringing them back to ever earlier stages of prenatal development is doomed to failure. The communication strategies proposed by ethicists reduce patient autonomy.

Clinicians discuss treatment options among themselves before talking to patients or their families to present a united front that limits patient autonomy and hides uncertainty among clinicians. Decisions about general goals of treatment were reframed as technical issues to the exclusion of patients and their families. Palliative care physicians have been used as facilitators to guide patients towards less invasive end-of-life treatment. [19]:11 In their study, Hauschild and Vries found that 76% of ethics advisors were trained as clinicians. [19]: 12 The term bioethics (Greek bios, life; Ethos, behavior) was invented in 1926 by Fritz Jahr, who anticipated many of the arguments and discussions that are underway today in biological animal research. Many religious communities have their own history of research on bioethical issues and have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from the perspective of their respective beliefs. Subscribe to America`s largest dictionary and get thousands of other definitions and an advanced search – ad-free! In general, biological considerations should not be expected to provide much support for conventional morality.