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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 37 / 115





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Bioethics Education567

Wawrzyniak: The main goal is to give students a spectrum of possible approaches given an area of biomedical and environmental ethics problems.  We can provide student with a range of philosophical options and we don’t prefer any particular option.  The main value is intellectual diversity. Students are encouraged to present their own point of view in the form of speeches.  They can quarrel among themselves rather than the teachers trying to force their own opinion.

Gupta: I have been teaching environmental ethics in both ecology and philosophy departments in my university at the post graduate level. One thing that I noticed based on my experience in the past 2 to 3 years, is that there is some sort of stonewalling.  Yes, students take some interest in the topic but I don’t think that students are really influenced by this. One reason I think is that we should start in the high schools, we should start at an earlier level when students are more open to new ideas. So what is your experience in your university in Poland?

Wawrzyniak: In our university there are some animal experiments that students protested against. And they also protested against animal vivisection. So I think that’s a considerable influence of their environmental ethics classes.

Leavitt: We show students which bioethical options exist, but I wonder maybe we shouldn’t doing that. Maybe we should show them what options we know about. And to think maybe that these options are wrong and that they could think about other options.

Wawrzyniak: If you take any option, any point of view representing by a given individual you can find quite clear philosophical, virtual truth of reason of this option. Generally, from my observation, traditional ethical modes of ethical thinking will always be in dialectic opposition- rule ethics against act ethics, deontology against teleology, utilitarianism against Kantianism- it is unavoidable. If behind the ethics wouldn’t be hidden, ethics in plural, there will be no discussion. That will be death of the field, the death of ethics. It is a process of discussion to reach particular modes of ethical thinking fitting a particular arena in life, certain modes of conduct for example in palliative care, others in intensive medical care. There is no one universal ethics. There will never be a situation where you call an ethicist to make everyone’s lives happy. Ethical decisions and ethical problems are always painful. This is my opinion. So this discussion, the state of discussion is a certain philosophical journey.

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