The Ethics Blog

A blog from the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

Month: February 2014

Is it human fan club mentality?

Philosophers often put humans on display as beings that have some unique quality, like rationality or conceptual powers. And conversely they present animals as beings that lack that quality. What comparison underlies such a notion of “human positivity” and “animal negativity”? One could suspect that the dualism arises through a human-centered comparison. As if intellectual […]

Stress turns ordinary cells into pluripotent stem cells

Tissues of the body originally form when “naïve” undifferentiated embryonic stem cells differentiate to form the “mature” cells of specific tissues: liver cells, brain cells, skin cells, and so on. The mature cells are then locked in their differentiated forms, as if they met their fate. I recently mentioned that Yamanaka and Gurdon were awarded […]

Self-contradictions of anti-movements

One cannot say, “I’m the humblest person in the world,” without displaying arrogance. One cannot protest, “How dare you call me arrogant? My whole life I’ve served individuals who don’t even deserve to tie my shoelaces!” without once again displaying arrogance. Or listen to this: “Nothing is certain; here is the proof.” Anti- and post-movements […]

Why do cancer patients participate in clinical trials?

Hearsay and good intentions won’t suffice. If a new treatment is chosen for a patient with cancer, one must first have seen that the treatment is at least as efficient as the conventional treatment. And one must have looked at side effects and right dosages. Seeing this, however, presupposes that some patients agree to test the […]