Ethics & the New Genetics

Ethics & the New Genetics: An Integrated Approach

Edited by H. DANIEL MONSOUR
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv388
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  • Book Info
    Ethics & the New Genetics
    Book Description:

    Timely, innovative, and wide-ranging, this collection will be of interest to bioethicists and philosophers, as well as religious and Lonerganian scholars.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8432-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
    MICHAEL VERTIN
  4. INTRODUCTION Employing Functional Specialization: Overview of a Group Experiment
    (pp. 3-12)
    MICHAEL VERTIN

    The Preface of this volume recounted the formidable organizational and epistemological challenges faced by any systematic inquiry that aspires to be genuinely multidisciplinary, and the method of ‘functional specialization’ elaborated by Canadian philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan to meet those challenges. Though he developed it for multidisciplinary theological investigation in particular, Lonergan envisioned functional specialization as potentially fruitful for any multidisciplinary scholarly or scientific investigation and, indeed, for the complete set of such investigations.¹

    The present chapter provides more details about functional specialization and about the effort by the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute to utilize it for the multidisciplinary study...

  5. PART ONE: SOME BIOETHICAL ISSUES IN HUMAN GENETICS:: DELINEATING THE OPPOSED STANCES
    • 1 Research in Human Genetics: Technology, Information, Therapeutic Promise, and Challenge
      (pp. 15-27)
      ROBERT ALLORE

      While it is true that genetics is currently experiencing a revolutionary period of development, many of the important scientific and philosophical ideas associated with modern genetics have been the source of significant debate for over a century. Since the time of Charles Darwin’s work on heritable traits in different species and breeding populations, the subjects of evolution and heredity have been important topics for scientific and public discourse. Although the publication ofThe Origin of Speciesin 1859 marks a critical stage in the development of modern life sciences, it is important to recognize the ways in which Darwin’s insights...

    • 2 Clinical Applications of Research in Human Genetics
      (pp. 28-47)
      CHRISTINE E. JAMIESON

      Genetics is the branch of science dealing with heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics in living organisms. Since the inception of the multinational Human Genome Project (HGP), whose goal is to map the human genome, scientific and medical knowledge about human genetics has grown exponentially. In June 2000, the HGP announced the completion of a draft sequence of the human genome. The benefit of this new knowledge includes a deeper understanding of the person, of the genetic component of disease, and of possible correctives to hereditary diseases. The increasing accuracy and proliferation of genetic screening and testing are concrete...

    • 3 Genetics in Health Care
      (pp. 48-57)
      ANNE SUMMERS

      With the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP), the biological science of genetics is coming into its own. Genetics will play a role in helping to solve many problems facing humankind today – problems in agriculture and animal husbandry, in waste management and environmental clean-up, and even in the development of energy sources. However, for the immediate future at least, the major impact of the HGP will be in health care.

      The practice of clinical genetics is a relatively new discipline, although genetics research has been under way for well over a hundred years. Gregor Mendel’s landmark work on...

    • 4 Commercialization of Human Genetic Research
      (pp. 58-76)
      DAVID BLAKE FARRELL and EILEEN DE NEEVE

      The scale of the penetration of commercial interests into basic scientific research is causing concern among both research communities and the general public. Currently, at least four trends are making people uneasy:

      1 The rush to establish property rights in novel genetic discoveries.

      2 The search for commercial links between private industry and publicly funded institutions.

      3 The search for new genetic products to offer the consumer.

      4 Governments’ attempts to profit from these trends by establishing direct links with private industry.

      The first of the four trends identified above can be described as the search for ways to control...

  6. PART TWO: DIFFERENTIATING THE PRE-EMPIRICAL COMPONENTS OF THE OPPOSED STANCES
    • 5 The Character of Moral Value, Moral Knowledge, and Moral Debate
      (pp. 79-92)
      CYNTHIA CRYSDALE

      In different ways, the previous essays have alluded to the distinct cultural situation in which we find ourselves. First, there is the emphasis on the human individual, and particularly on his or her ability to think and choose for himself or herself. In conjunction with the rise of capitalism, this emphasis makes our culture a culture of choice. The right of the individual to choose, particularly as a consumer, is highly valued. Furthermore, the modern age has seen science and technology wedded to each other in an unprecedented way. The quest to know, simply for the joy of understanding and...

    • 6 Religion as the Dynamic Horizon of Moral Discernment
      (pp. 93-107)
      GORDON RIXON

      How are we to understand the role and significance of religion within the diverse, at times clashing, matrices of meaning and value that are formed by the kaleidoscopic intersection of the sciences, cultures, and philosophies? Does one’s religious commitment function as an ultimate arbiter of truth that, as such, is able to evaluate and correct the contributions of the natural and social sciences? Some have argued that the autonomy of the methods and norms of the various sciences is necessary for the advancement of knowledge. Does one’s religious tradition afford insights adequate for the amelioration of the meanings and values...

    • 7 Discerning Catholic Positions on Particular Ethical Issues
      (pp. 108-120)
      JOHN DOOL

      The previous essays have outlined how a variety of stances on a given ethical issue can emerge from differing stances on the character of moral value, and how a religious horizon within consciousness might contribute to ethical reflection. Yet a religious horizon within consciousness may find itself embodied in and specified by a particular religious tradition. Religious meaning and value can be expressed personally, symbolically, and linguistically as, for example, in a narrative; and each of these outward expressions is historically conditioned.¹ In the case of Christianity (especially Catholic Christianity), these manifold expressions of meaning and value can be integrated...

  7. PART THREE: TOWARD DETERMINING THE NORMATIVE STANCES
    • 8 Who Owns the Human Genome?
      (pp. 123-133)
      DANIEL P. SULMASY

      Those who favour the patenting of human genes argue that the genetic code holds great promise as a source of social benefit. Achieving this benefit depends upon sequencing genes and translating the science into clinical results. They argue that government cannot afford the whole cost of rapidly sequencing the genome and bringing its potential to market, and that the only way to attract enough private capital for such risky projects would be to provide patent protection.

      Two kinds of moral questions have been raised about patenting human genes. First, there are concerns that the patenting of genes will actually restrict...

    • 9 Genetics, Medicine, and the Human Person: The Papal Theology
      (pp. 134-142)
      JOSEPH BOYLE

      Papal teaching has been a central factor shaping Roman Catholic approaches to moral questions, especially during the last century. This teaching essentially involves instruction and explanation, a form of theology in which the popes seek to relate moral issues, and the Catholic prescriptions evoked by them, to central elements of the Christian world view.

      There is relatively little papal teaching on the moral issues specifically raised by genetics, but two papal statements addressing these issues underlie much of what the church has taught about genetics, whether by Vatican congregations or by bishops and bishops’ conferences. The first of these is...

    • 10 Key Issues in Genetic Research, Testing, and Patenting
      (pp. 143-164)
      BARRY F. BROWN and RUSSELL J. SAWA

      Other contributors to this volume have presented their views on a variety of key issues in genetic testing, research, and patenting. Here we present not a complete summary of the views of each contributor, but rather a selection of important points or overriding themes.

      Knowledge, including genetic knowledge, is a basic human good. Genetic knowledge can be directed toward the prevention, treatment, and cure of many illnesses, and in this lies its appeal. For example, population genetic studies carried out on the founder population in the province of Quebec seek to find the genetic basis of many different diseases. The...

    • 11 Expanding Horizons for Moral Discernment: A Retrospective Synthesis
      (pp. 165-178)
      WILLIAM F. SULLIVAN

      A century ago a farmer working in his field was startled by a galloping horse racing toward him, pulling a wagon and rider. As the horse and wagon flew past him, the farmer called out, ‘Where are you going in such a hurry?’ From a rising cloud of dust into which the wagon disappeared came a voice, ‘I don’t know. Ask the horse!’

      A half century ago James Watson and Francis Crick discovered DNA, and the modern era of genetics took off. During the last fifty years, developments in the field of genetics have occurred at an increasingly rapid rate....

  8. Index
    (pp. 179-196)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 197-198)