The Ethics Blog

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

Category: Musings (Page 1 of 14)

Ethical fitness apps for high performance morality

In an unusually rhetorical article for being in a scientific journal, the image is drawn of a humanity that frees itself from moral weakness by downloading ethical fitness apps. The authors claim that the maxim “Know thyself!” from the temple of Apollo at Delphi is answered today more thoroughly than ever. Never has humanity known […]

We cannot control everything: the philosophical dimensions of life

Life always surpasses us. We thought we were in control, but then something unexpected happens that seems to upset the order. A storm, a forest fire, a pandemic. Life appears as a drawing in sand, the contours of which suddenly dissolve. Of course, it is not that definitive. Even a storm, a forest fire, a […]

What is a moral machine?

I recently read an article about so-called moral robots, which I found clarifying in many ways. The philosopher John-Stewart Gordon points out pitfalls that non-ethicists – robotics researchers and AI programmers – may fall into when they try to construct moral machines. Simply because they lack ethical expertise. The first pitfall is the rookie mistakes. […]

Herb Terrace about the chimpanzee Nim – do you see the contradiction?

Have you seen small children make repeated attempts to squeeze a square object through a round hole (plastic toy for the little ones)? You get puzzled: Do they not see that it is impossible? The object and the hole have different shapes! Sometimes adults are just as puzzling. Our intellect does not always fit reality. […]

Artificial intelligence and living consciousness

The Ethics Blog will publish several posts on artificial intelligence in the future. Today, I just want to make a little observation of something remarkable. The last century was marked by fear of human consciousness. Our mind seemed as mystic as the soul, as superfluous in a scientific age as God. In psychology, behaviorism flourished, […]

Exactly when does a human being actually come into existence?

The one who prepares the food may announce, “The food is ready now!” when the food is ready. However, when exactly is the food actually ready? When the kitchen timer rings? The potatoes are cooked then. Or when the saucepan is removed from the stove? The cooking ends then. Or when the saucepan is emptied […]

Christmas blog post about contemplation and wide horizons

What does it mean to be contemplative? In a conversation, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein addresses the issue through a contrast: professional racing motorists. A successful racing driver has one goal in mind: to break the speed record. It is not wrong to have such a well-specified goal. It is required if you want to be […]

Communicating thought provoking research in our common language

After having been the editor of the Ethics Blog for eight years, I would like to describe the research communication that usually occurs on this blog. The Ethics Blog wants to avoid the popular scientific style that sometimes occurs in the media, which reports research results on the form, “We have traditionally believed that…, but […]

Ethical issues when gene editing approaches humanity

Gene editing technology, which already is used to develop genetically modified organisms (GMOs), could in the future also be used clinically in humans. One such application could be genetic modification of human embryos, editing genes that would otherwise cause disease. Of course, the scenario of ​​clinical uses of genetic modification in humans arouses deep concern […]

Honest questions examining our intellectual sinfulness

Why should we hold our philosophical tradition in high esteem? Why should we admire Socrates and other great thinkers? Because they strengthened reason? Because they taught humanity to set emotions aside and instead purify facts and logic? If that were true, we should admire the philosophers for armoring humanity. For turning us into clever neurotics […]

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