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Morality of the Past: How Two Committees Judged Past Human Subject Experiments

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In 1996, President Clinton ordered the formation of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE), which undertook to evaluate the morality of a myriad of secret and publicized radiation experiments ranging from 1944 to 1974. The goal of this

In 1996, President Clinton ordered the formation of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE), which undertook to evaluate the morality of a myriad of secret and publicized radiation experiments ranging from 1944 to 1974. The goal of this thesis is to analyze the ways in which that committee formed moral evaluations and the extent to which its strategies related to a broader historical and philosophical discourse. Here I attempt to describe two specific techniques of simplification the committee deploys in order to make a retrospective moral analysis possible. Although the techniques comprise specific problems, frameworks, subjective perspectives, and conceptual links, their unifying principle is the field of choices the techniques produce. In the first technique I outline, I argue that by focusing on the problem of historical relativism, the committee gains a platform through which it would be granted flexibility in making a distinction between moral wrongdoing and blameworthiness. In the second technique of simplification I outline, I argue that the committee's incorporation of a principle to reduce uncertainty as an ethical aim allow it to establish new ways to reconcile scientific aims with moral responsibility. In addition to describing the structure of these techniques, I also demonstrate how they relate to the specific experiments the analysts aim to evaluate, using both the ACHRE experiments as well as the Nuremberg Trial experiments as my examples. My hope is not to show why a given committee made a particular moral evaluation, or to say whether a decision was right or wrong, but rather to illustrate how certain techniques open up a field of choices that allow moral analysts to form retrospective moral judgments.

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2015-05

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NGOs in the global conservation movement: can they prevent extinction? : (African apes as an example)

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Development throughout the course of history has traditionally resulted in the demise of biodiversity. As humans strive to develop their daily livelihoods, it is often at the expense of nearby wildlife and the environment. Conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among other

Development throughout the course of history has traditionally resulted in the demise of biodiversity. As humans strive to develop their daily livelihoods, it is often at the expense of nearby wildlife and the environment. Conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among other actors in the global agenda, have blossomed in the past century with the realization that there is an immediate need for conservation action. Unlike government agencies, conservation NGOs have an independent, potentially more objective outlook on procedures and policies that would benefit certain regions or certain species the most. They often have national and international government support, in addition to the credibility and influencing power to sway policy decisions and participate in international agendas. The key to their success lies in the ability to balance conservation efforts with socioeconomic development efforts. One cannot occur without the other, but they must work in coordination. This study looks at the example of African Great Apes. Eight ape-focused NGOs and three unique case studies will be examined in order to describe the impact that NGOs have. Most of these NGOs have been able to build the capacity from an initial conservation agenda, to incorporating socioeconomic factors that benefit the development of local communities in addition to the apes and habitat they set out to influence. This being the case, initiatives by conservation NGOs could be the key to a sustainable future in which humans and biodiversity coexist harmoniously.

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2019