Critical thinking: a central element in developing action competence in health and environmental education.
In the field of educational philosophy, health and environmental education share many common goals and challenges on the level of curriculum theorizing as well as the level of pedagogical practice. One of these challenges is to develop a radical philosophy of education which is critical and takes a controversial point of departure rather than the one of accommodation. It highlights, in other words, the socially critical role of education. From this point of view some key concepts are discussed in the paper in relation to health and environmental education: democracy as means and end, critical thinking, the critical orientation, and the action perspective. One of these concepts, critical thinking, is elaborated in particular as it is considered to be essential to pupils' development of action competence. A description is given how it can be seen from four perspectives: the epistemological, the transformative, the dialectical and the holistic. (+info)
Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue for transplantation.
The most publicly justifiable application of human cloning, if there is one at all, is to provide self-compatible cells or tissues for medical use, especially transplantation. Some have argued that this raises no new ethical issues above those raised by any form of embryo experimentation. I argue that this research is less morally problematic than other embryo research. Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy, followed by abortion of the embryo or fetus. (+info)
Persons and their copies.
Is cloning human beings morally wrong? The basis for the one serious objection to cloning is that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. I sketch a fragment of moral theory to make sense of the objection. I then outline several ways in which it might be claimed that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. In particular, I look at various ideas connected with autonomy. I conclude that there is no basis to the claim that, because of what a clone is, clones would have much worse lives than non-clones. I therefore reject the claim that cloning human beings is morally wrong. (+info)
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis and the 'new' eugenics.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PID) is often seen as an improvement upon prenatal testing. I argue that PID may exacerbate the eugenic features of prenatal testing and make possible an expanded form of free-market eugenics. The current practice of prenatal testing is eugenic in that its aim is to reduce the numbers of people with genetic disorders. Due to social pressures and eugenic attitudes held by clinical geneticists in most countries, it results in eugenic outcomes even though no state coercion is involved. I argue that technological advances may soon make PID widely accessible. Because abortion is not involved, and multiple embryos are available, PID is radically more effective as a tool of genetic selection. It will also make possible selection on the basis of non-pathological characteristics, leading, potentially, to a full-blown free-market eugenics. For these reasons, I argue that PID should be strictly regulated. (+info)
Genetically determined obesity in Prader-Willi syndrome: the ethics and legality of treatment.
A central characteristic of people with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is an apparent insatiable appetite leading to severe overeating and the potential for marked obesity and associated serious health problems and premature death. This behaviour may be due to the effects of the genetic defect resulting from the chromosome 15 abnormalities associated with the syndrome. We examine the ethical and legal dilemmas that can arise in the care of people with PWS. A tension exists between a genetic deterministic perspective and that of individual choice. We conclude that the determination of the capacity of a person with PWS to make decisions about his/her eating behaviour and to control that behaviour is of particular importance in resolving this dilemma. If the person is found to lack capacity, the common law principles of acting in a person's "best interests" using the "least restrictive alternative" may be helpful. Allowing serious weight gain in the absence of careful consideration of these issues is an abdication of responsibility. (+info)
Ancient Chinese medical ethics and the four principles of biomedical ethics.
The four principles approach to biomedical ethics (4PBE) has, since the 1970s, been increasingly developed as a universal bioethics method. Despite its wide acceptance and popularity, the 4PBE has received many challenges to its cross-cultural plausibility. This paper first specifies the principles and characteristics of ancient Chinese medical ethics (ACME), then makes a comparison between ACME and the 4PBE with a view to testing out the 4PBE's cross-cultural plausibility when applied to one particular but very extensive and prominent cultural context. The result shows that the concepts of respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice are clearly identifiable in ACME. Yet, being influenced by certain socio-cultural factors, those applying the 4PBE in Chinese society may tend to adopt a "beneficence-oriented", rather than an "autonomy-oriented" approach, which, in general, is dissimilar to the practice of contemporary Western bioethics, where "autonomy often triumphs". (+info)
Ethnicity, bioethics, and prenatal diagnosis: the amniocentesis decisions of Mexican-origin women and their partners.
Bioethical standards and counseling techniques that regulate prenatal diagnosis in the United States were developed at a time when the principal constituency for fetal testing was a self-selected group of White, well-informed, middle-class women. The routine use of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing, which has become widespread since the mid-1980s, introduced new constituencies to prenatal diagnosis. These new constituencies include ethnic minority women, who, with the exception of women from certain Asian groups, refuse amniocentesis at significantly higher rates than others. This study examines the considerations taken into account by a group of Mexican-origin women who had screened positive for AFP and were deciding whether to undergo amniocentesis. We reviewed 379 charts and interviewed 147 women and 120 partners to test a number of factors that might explain why some women accept amniocentesis and some refuse. A woman's attitudes toward doctors, medicine, and prenatal care and her assessment of the risk and uncertainty associated with the procedure were found to be most significant. Case summaries demonstrate the indeterminacy of the decision-making process. We concluded that established bioethical principles and counseling techniques need to be more sensitive to the way ethnic minority clients make their amniocentesis choices. (+info)
Response of paramedics to terminally ill patients with cardiac arrest: an ethical dilemma.
BACKGROUND: In an environment characterized by cuts to health care, hospital closures, increasing reliance on home care and an aging population, more terminally ill patients are choosing to die at home. The authors sought to determine the care received by these patients when paramedics were summoned by a 911 call and to document whether do-not-resuscitate (DNR) requests influenced the care given. METHODS: The records of a large urban emergency medical services system were reviewed to identify consecutive patients with cardiac arrest over the 10-month period November 1996 to August 1997. Data were abstracted from paramedics' ambulance call reports according to a standardized template. The proportion of these patients described as having a terminal illness was determined, as was the proportion of terminally ill patients with a DNR request. The resuscitative efforts of paramedics were compared for patients with and without a DNR request. RESULTS: Of the 1534 cardiac arrests, 144 (9.4%) involved patients described as having a terminal illness. The mean age of the patients was 72.2 (standard deviation 14.8) years. Paramedics encountered a DNR request in 90 (62.5%) of these cases. Current regulations governing paramedic practice were not followed in 34 (23.6%) of the cases. There was no difference in the likelihood that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) would be initiated between patients with and those without a DNR request (73% v. 83%; p = 0.17). In patients for whom CPR was initiated, paramedics were much more likely to withhold full advanced cardiac life support if there was a DNR request than if there was not (22% v. 68%; p < 0.001). INTERPRETATION: Paramedics are frequently called to attend terminally ill patients with cardiac arrest. Current regulations are a source of conflict between the paramedic's duty to treat and the patient's right to limit resuscitative efforts at the time of death. (+info)