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In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG): Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in Development

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In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) research has been growing in countries like Japan, US, and China after the development of stem cell research and other scientific advancements as well as because of the perception of infertility as a domestic and international

In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) research has been growing in countries like Japan, US, and China after the development of stem cell research and other scientific advancements as well as because of the perception of infertility as a domestic and international problem. IVG research’s progress has been deliberated internationally, with discussion of questions, challenges, and possibilities that have arisen and may arise in the future as the technology is adopted by different countries. The first section introduces the meaning of IVG, explains the importance of review by scientists and citizens for IVG, and describes a rise in infertility reported in multiple developed countries that could be addressed by IVG. The second section discusses IVG’s applications and implications using 5 ethical categories articulated by Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues: Public Beneficence, Responsible Stewardship, Intellectual Freedom and Responsibility, Democratic Deliberation, and Justice and Fairness. These five ethical principles were intended for analysis of emerging technologies, and IVG is an emerging technology with possible integration into clinical settings. Among the principles, it seemed that a major weak point of inquiry concerns LGBT+ and disability inclusion, especially of gender dysphoric and transgender people who may experience higher rates of infertility and have a harder time conceiving due to a mix of discrimination, gender dysphoria, and infertility due to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) treatment or gender/sex reassignment surgeries (GRSs/SRSs) that may impair or remove reproductive body parts. A number of other ethical considerations arise about this technology.

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2019-05

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Cultural Continuity and Impediments to Queer Rights in Romania

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Romania is in the midst of an identity emergency due to its relatively recent departure from a communist dictatorship. This paper will take a look at identities within Romania while paying close attention to the way that emerging political, economic,

Romania is in the midst of an identity emergency due to its relatively recent departure from a communist dictatorship. This paper will take a look at identities within Romania while paying close attention to the way that emerging political, economic, religious and gender identities have been and are being used to oppress the Romanian queer population. This paper seeks to justify an application of Western values towards the call for enfranchisement of Romanian queers. Western values, in this sense, will be based on Enlightenment notions of equality in all people and based on philosophers whose writings and paradigms are centered in the Western world. Furthermore, it will discuss violence and masculinity in hopes that understanding and critically examining these topics may be used in application towards the emerging Romanian identities and statistics which highlight and implicate queer oppression. Again, this paper will not seek to definitely link as causal any one emerging identity towards the oppression of the queer minority in Romania nor will it seek to undermine any single Romanian institution, but rather question the correlative elements of Romanian society that may be implicated in potential oppression, violences, and a neglect of the Romanian queer minority.

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2014-05

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Global bioethics: a descriptive analysis of the function of bioethics in health and medicine on a global scale

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This thesis explores concept of "global bioethics" in both its development as well as its current state in an effort to understand exactly where it fits into the larger field of bioethics. Further, the analysis poses specific questions regarding what

This thesis explores concept of "global bioethics" in both its development as well as its current state in an effort to understand exactly where it fits into the larger field of bioethics. Further, the analysis poses specific questions regarding what it may contribute to this field and related fields, and the possibility and scope associated with the continued development of global bioethics as its own discipline. To achieve this, the piece addresses questions regarding current opinions on the subject, the authorities and their associated publications related to global bioethics, and what the aims of the subject should be given its current state. "Global Bioethics" is a term that, while seen frequently in bioethics literature, is difficult to define succinctly. While many opinions are provided on the concept, little consensus exists regarding its application and possible contributions and, in some cases, even its very possibility. Applying ethical principles of health and medicine globally is undoubtedly complicated by the cultural, social, and geographical considerations associated with understanding health and medicine in different populations, leading to a dichotomy between two schools of thought in relation to global bioethics. These two sides consist of those who think that universality of bioethics is possible whereas the opposing viewpoint holds that relativism is the key to applying ethics on a global scale. Despite the aforementioned dichotomy in addressing applications of global bioethics, this analysis shows that the goals of the subject should be more focused on contributing to ethical frameworks and valuable types of thinking related to the ethics health and medicine on a global scale. This is achieved through an exploration of bioethics in general, health as a function of society and culture, the history and development of global bioethics itself, and an exploration of pertinent global health topics. While primarily descriptive in nature, this analysis critiques some of the current discussions and purported goals surrounding global bioethics, recommending that the field focus on fostering valuable discussion and framing of issues rather than the pursuit of concrete judgments on moral issues in global health and medicine.

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2011

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Reproductive Cloning and the Perception of Individuality

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Reproductive cloning is the duplication of genetic material to reproduce a living organism. The sheep Dolly was the first adult mammal to be cloned and her birth unveiled a multitude of questions about the potential for cloning humans and how

Reproductive cloning is the duplication of genetic material to reproduce a living organism. The sheep Dolly was the first adult mammal to be cloned and her birth unveiled a multitude of questions about the potential for cloning humans and how that might threaten human individuality. Given those questions, my project delves into how reproductive cloning relates to the idea of individuality across three subgroups: humans, utility animals such as those used for research or agriculture, and pets.

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2013-05

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Empathy, enhancement, and responsibility

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This dissertation engages with the philosophical, psychological, and scientific literature on two important topics: empathy and human enhancement. My two broad goals are to clarify the role of empathy in ascriptions of responsibility and to consider how enhanced empathy might

This dissertation engages with the philosophical, psychological, and scientific literature on two important topics: empathy and human enhancement. My two broad goals are to clarify the role of empathy in ascriptions of responsibility and to consider how enhanced empathy might alter those ascriptions.

First, I argue that empathy is best thought of as a two-component process. The first component is what I call the rational component of empathy (RCE). RCE is necessary for moral responsibility as it allows us to put ourselves in another's shoes and to realize that we would want help (or not to be harmed) if we were in the other's place. The second component is what I call the emotive component of empathy (ECE). ECE is usually an automatic response to witnessing others in distress. Expanding on Michael Slote's view that moral distinctions track degrees of empathy, I argue that it is ECE that varies in strength depending on our relationship to specific people.

Second, I argue that in order to achieve Peter Singer's goal an "expanding circle" of care for all human beings, it will be necessary to use some form of artificial empathy enhancement. Within this context, I try to show that empathy enhancement is 1) a reasonably foreseeable possibility within the next decade or so, and 2) morally defensible.

Third, I argue that philosophers who argue that psychopaths are not morally responsible for their actions are mistaken. As I see it, these philosophers have erred in treating empathy as a singular concept and concluding that because psychopaths lack empathy they cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. The distinction between RCE and ECE allows us to say that psychopaths lack one component of empathy, ECE, but are still responsible for their actions because they clearly have a functional RCE.

Fourth, I paint a portrait of the landscape of responsibility with respect to the enhanced empath. I argue that the enhanced empath would be subject to an expanded sphere of special obligations such that acts that were previously supererogatory become, prima facie, morally obligatory.

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Date Created
2016

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Assessing corporate bioethics: a qualitative exploration of how bioethics is enacted in biomedicine companies

Description

Corporations in biomedicine hold significant power and influence, in both political and personal spheres. The decisions these companies make about ethics are critically important, as they help determine what products are developed, how they are developed, how they are promoted,

Corporations in biomedicine hold significant power and influence, in both political and personal spheres. The decisions these companies make about ethics are critically important, as they help determine what products are developed, how they are developed, how they are promoted, and potentially even how they are regulated. In the last fifteen years, for-profit private companies have been assembling bioethics committees to help resolve dilemmas that require informed deliberation about ethical, legal, scientific, and economic considerations. Private sector bioethics committees represent an important innovation in the governance of emerging technologies, with corporations taking a lead role in deciding what is ethically appropriate or problematic. And yet, we know very little about these committees, including their structures, memberships, mandates, authority, and impact. Drawing on an extensive literature review and qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with executives, scientists and board members, this dissertation provides an in-depth analysis of the Ethics and Public Policy Board at SmithKline Beecham, the Ethics Advisory Board at Advanced Cell Technology, and the Bioethics Committee at Eli Lilly and offers insights about how ideas of bioethics and governance are currently imagined and enacted within corporations. The SmithKline Beecham board was the first private sector bioethics committee; its mandate was to explore, in a comprehensive and balanced analysis, the ethics of macro trends in science and technology. The Advanced Cell Technology board was created to be like a watchdog for the company, to prevent them from making major errors. The Eli Lilly board is different than the others in that it is made up mostly of internal employees and does research ethics consultations within the company. These private sector bioethics committees evaluate and construct new boundaries between their private interests and the public values they claim to promote. Findings from this dissertation show that criticisms of private sector bioethics that focus narrowly on financial conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency obscure analysis of the ideas about governance (about expertise, credibility and authority) that emerge from these structures and hamper serious debate about the possible impacts of moving ethical deliberation from the public to the private sector.

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2012

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Substance-exposed newborns in Arizona: an analysis of medically, ethically, and legally appropriate federal and state responses

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Intake of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances such as marijuana and methamphetamine during pregnancy can have significant deleterious effects on a developing fetus and the resulting infant. The existence of substance-exposed newborns also has negative impacts on society as a

Intake of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances such as marijuana and methamphetamine during pregnancy can have significant deleterious effects on a developing fetus and the resulting infant. The existence of substance-exposed newborns also has negative impacts on society as a whole; these include financial burdens placed on taxpayers and the additional time and resources required by health care professionals, social workers, and law enforcement authorities to properly care for such infants. Existing literature show a strong correlation between prenatal care and improved birth outcomes, including abstinence from or reduction of prenatal substance abuse. The Health Start Program in the state of Arizona attempts to mitigate the incidence of substance-exposed newborns, among other goals, by employing community health workers who identify high-risk pregnant and postpartum women, inform these women about how to receive prenatal care services, educate them on appropriate prenatal and neonatal care, and provide program and referral services to both pregnant and postpartum women. Community health workers interact directly with women most at-risk for prenatal substance abuse and should be well-versed in the understanding of the complex issues related to substance-exposed newborns. In an attempt to discover, analyze, and compile those complex issues with which community health workers should be knowledgeable, this project explores existing federal regulations regarding substance-exposed newborns, compares Arizona’s regulations to Minnesota’s, Virginia’s, and Washington’s, and analyzes prevailing literature in the field about the various implications associated with screening and reporting substance-exposed newborns to law enforcement authorities. After an intensive literature review, this project concludes that the Health Start Program needs a comprehensive resource document which enumerates federal and select state policies, landmark cases involving substance-abusing pregnant women and the precedence set by each, and recommendations from medical and public health experts. The document should also provide clear guidelines by which each stakeholder should abide and why, and recommend potential best practices the state of Arizona could adopt into law based on other state policies which have proven to be effective.

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2015

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Three worries about moderate deontology

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Perhaps the most common and forceful criticism directed at absolutist deontological theories is that they allow for the occurrence of morally catastrophic events whenever such events could only and certainly be prevented by the violation of a deontological constraint. Some

Perhaps the most common and forceful criticism directed at absolutist deontological theories is that they allow for the occurrence of morally catastrophic events whenever such events could only and certainly be prevented by the violation of a deontological constraint. Some deontologists simply bite the bullet, accept this implication of their theory, and give their best arguments as to why it does not undermine absolutism. Others, I think more plausibly, opt for an alternative deontological theory known as ‘moderate deontology’ and are thereby able to evade the criticism since moderate deontology permits violations of constraints under certain extreme circumstances. The goal of this thesis is to provide a defense of moderate deontology against three worries about the view, namely, that it is more accurately interpreted as a kind of pluralism than as a deontology, that there is no non-arbitrary way of setting thresholds for deontological constraints, and that the positing of thresholds for constraints would lead to some problematic results in practice. I will respond to each of these worries in turn. In particular, I will argue that moderate deontology is properly understood as a deontological theory despite its partial concern for consequentialist considerations, that thresholds for deontological constraints can be successfully located without arbitrariness by democratic appeal to people’s commonsense moral intuitions, and that the alleged problematic results of positing thresholds for constraints can be effectively explained away by the moderate deontologist.

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Date Created
2017

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Promises, expectations, and obligations : an examination of American Indian health outcomes

Description

American Indian literature is replete with language that refers to broken or hollow promises the US government has made to American Indians, one of the most prominent being that the US government has not kept its promises regarding health services

American Indian literature is replete with language that refers to broken or hollow promises the US government has made to American Indians, one of the most prominent being that the US government has not kept its promises regarding health services for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Some commenters refer to treaties between tribes and the US government as the origin of the promise for health services to AI/AN. Others point to the trust relationship between the sovereign nations of American Indian tribes and the US government, while still others assert that the Snyder Act of 1921 or the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) contained the promise for health care. While the US has provided some form of health care for AI/AN since the country was in its infancy, and continues to do so through the Indian Health Service, the promise of health services for AI/AN is not explicit.

Philosophers have articulated that a promise contains a moral obligation to fulfill it because of others’ expectations created by that promise. As the US government made its first promises in early treaties with AI/AN tribes and subsequently made promises in the years since, it is morally obligated to fulfill those promises, be they lying promises or not, because of resulting expectations. Yet, the US government has historically acted to restrict the rights of AI/AN—rights that include access to health services—through assimilation, separation, or termination policies. Further, the policies of the US government have kept the AI/AN populations socioeconomically impoverished, dependent on the US government for basic needs, and susceptible to health-compromising conditions.

Using case studies, this dissertation looks not only at the policies and events that directly affected health services and health status, but also at how those policies and events contributed to health outcomes and the expectations of AI/AN. Given the history of the US government in fulfilling (or not fulfilling) its promises, this dissertation examines the expectations of AI/AN for their own future health outcomes under the policy of self-governance.

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Date Created
2016

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Universal Love as a Moral Ideal

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Moral philosophy should create concepts and formulate arguments to articulate and assess the statements and behaviors of the morally devoted and the traditions (such as religious and ethical systems) founded by the morally devoted. Many moral devotees and their traditions

Moral philosophy should create concepts and formulate arguments to articulate and assess the statements and behaviors of the morally devoted and the traditions (such as religious and ethical systems) founded by the morally devoted. Many moral devotees and their traditions advocate love as the ideal to live by. Therefore, moral philosophy needs an account of love as an ideal. I define an ideal as an instrument for organizing a life and show that this definition is more adequate than previous definitions. Ideals can be founded on virtues, and I show that love is a virtue.

I define love as a composite attitude whose elements are benevolence, consideration, perception of moment (importance or significance), and receptivity. I define receptivity as the ability to be with someone without imposing careless or compulsive expectations. I argue that receptivity curbs the excesses and supplements the defects of the other elements. Love as an ideal is often understood as universal love.

However, there are three problems with universal love: it could be too demanding, it could prevent intimacy and special relationships, and it could require a person to love their abuser. I argue that love can be extended to all human beings without posing unacceptable risks, once love is correctly defined and the ideal correctly understood.

Because of the revelations of ecology and the ongoing transformation of sensibilities about the value of the nonhuman, love should be extended to the nonhuman. I argue that love can be given to the nonhuman in the same way it is to the human, with appropriate variations. But how much of the nonhuman would an ideal direct one to love? I argue for two limits to universal love: it does not make sense to extend it to nonliving things, and it can be extended to all living things. I show that loving all living things does not depend on whether they can reciprocate, and I argue that it would not prevent one from living a recognizably human life.

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Date Created
2020