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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 32 / 115





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562Challenges for Bioethics from Asia

B.  Basic ethical categories & introduction to practical ethics (6th semester)

     Moral goodness & rightness. Conscience. Virtue (with a special consideration of dignity). Tolerance (with a special account of communication/discourse as a moral fact. Duty & Responsibility. Justice (in the context of contractualism tradition). Social applications - case studies.

3. Bioethics (part 1)

Formula: 60-hour seminar (with employment of audio-video documentaries).

Assignments: Students' own written essays at the end of semester or unified  presentations

                       in the course of semester,  as well as their  creative activity during seminars.

Contents: Theoretical (metaethics, ontology of value) and terminological foundations; enhancement of  the integrated structure of neonaturalistic approach to bioethics; the review of bioethical issues. The philosophical status of neonaturalism in comparison with Cartesian, Kantian and utilitarian approaches. Classes serve formulation of basic conceptual and methodological tools to be employed, in the next step, for considering the spectrum of solutions of particular bio-moral dilemmas. The main of these categories are: Environmental Life-Quality (ELQ), Transcendental Subject (TS) of cognition & valuation, intrinsic and contributory value, valuableness, and brute fact. The metaethical consequences of neonaturalistic axiology, especially, the neonaturalistic solution - rooted both in the ontology of values and analytic metaethics – of the is-ought problem is promoted.       

Selected references:

Attfield, R., Value, Obligation, and Meta-Ethics; Callicott, J.B., Animal Liberation: A Triangular Affair ; Caplan, A.L., (ed.), The Sociobiology Debate; Hargrove, E.E., Foundations of Environmental Ethics; Light, E., & Rolston, H.,III., Environmental Ethics - An Anthology; Lorenz, K., On Aggression Behind the Mirror ; Lovelock, J., Gaia. A New Look at Life on Earth ; Naess, A., Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle ; Passmore, J., Man's Responsibility for Nature; Rachels, J., Created from Animals - The Moral Implications of Darwinism; Regan, T. & Singer, P., Animal Rights and Human Obligation; Rolston, H. III., Conserving Natural Values, Environmental Ethics; Ruse, M., Taking Darwin Seriously; Sepänmaa, Y., The Beauty of Environment; Singer, P. Animal Liberation; Taylor, P., Respect for Nature - A Theory of Environmental Ethics; Wilson, E.O., On Human Nature, Sociobiology - The New Synthesis (fragments)

3.1. Evolutionary axiology/ethics as the axio-metaphysical foundations of  bioethics.

I take the subject-matter of evolutionary ethics to be the natural history of moral sensitivity and value-ability (ability to value). Relevant inquiries concern the origin and adaptive function of moral sense and valuation, the functional interdependence between valuation and cognition, the range of morally relevant states-of-affairs, and the moral status of the cultural eco-niche of human species. Neonaturalism expounds the origins of human spiritual abilities in terms of the natural sciences, in accordance with the Darwinian legacy.

A key category - one highlighted by evolutionary ethics and focusing the axiological conflict between nature and culture, and one which humans used to deny to other species - is that of the "soul". I take general sensitivity, or soul as an ability to perceive exo- and endogenous stimuli selectively and to react to them functionally, or as a teleonomic (adaptively functional) structure of informational metabolism between an organism and its environment.

In neonaturalistic axiology, the active agent of valuation as well as cognition is the evolutionary Transcendental (panspecific) Subject (TS), or Living Being (resp. the intrinsically differentiated mass total of Life) as such. This abstract category represents the bio-community of values. Since the TS can be comprehended as the genetic algorithm of life's self-continuation, this category embodies the evolutionary continuity of organic systems of information processing. TS is the exclusive and complete source of valuation, effecting the genetically conditioned open program of value-ability.

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