To what extent should there be limits on scientific research? 1. Topoi
A. Cause and Effect:
a. means/end: Is science means to what?
b. assumptions and antecedents: what does precede scientific research? c. Implications and Consequences: what will follow from ethically unhealthy scientific research?
a. Tension/opposition: what is the tension existing between ethics and scientific research? b. contradictions: What is the contradiction between preserving ethics and developing scientific research? c. paradox: What is paradox inherent in preserving ethics and developing scientific research?
a. evolutionary: What kinds of changes can evolve through science? b. revolutionary: are revolutionary changes involved with science? c. growth/decay: Is the scientific research growing nowadays?
a. ethical/moral: Is reckless scientific research ethically right? b. practical: does the scientific research have practical values? c. social: How do social opinions vary between ethics and science? d. political: what does the politics support between these two? e. spiritual/metaphysical: what is the spiritual value of science?
a. superficial vs. deep: what is the relationship between superficial appearance and deep significance in scientific research? b. form vs. function: Why people are constantly calling for more scientific development?
People should pursue scientific research until the point at which individual rights are not severely violated and objects—being animals or humans or whatever they might be—are not physically and mentally injured. The advancement of science, which is the pursuit of knowledge, is the primary value by itself.
a. If one wanted to attribute intrinsic value to animals, one should try to argue by analogy that vertebrate animals had conscious experiences as well. b. ‘yes-but’ policy goes together with a consequentialist approach in ethics. c. The change from yes-but to no-unless is change from a consequentialist to a deontologist approach. d. With this new interpretation of intrinsic value it can be argued that the production of transgenic animals by crossing species-barriers violates the nature or integrity of the animals involved, even if there is no indication of suffering by the modified animal. e. The experience described here shows that it is very difficult to integrate science and ethics…but the natural scientists themselves seem to have great reservations in actually doing it. f. Between the responsibility of the ‘scientist as scientist’ and the responsibility of the ‘scientist as citizen.’ g. Ethical discourse, on the other hand, is said to be subjective, to consensus. There is no objective foundation upon which consensus in ethics should be grounded. h. Two things stand in the way of further integration, the scientist’s self-image of science as objective, and the complementary view of ethics as totally subjective. i. Good reasons approach-it is based upon the idea that in normative decision-making a specific kind of rationality is involved, in which, beside factual elements, normative premises play a role. j. An important consequence of this view of ethical reasoning is that both facts and values are treated as rationally comprehensible, having inter-subjective meaning. k. The argument that, in actual social practice, contextual values interfere with constitutive values in many parts of science is not enough. l. Wanting to separate science from ethics, as two totally independent spheres of life, is to deny that the scientist is first of all a moral agent, with a moral responsibility for what she/he is doing in a social context. m. Another reason is that human attitudes toward nature and towards animals are changing rather rapidly from the attitude of ruler and steward to that of partner of nature. n. Splitting up the world into facts and values, into science and ethics, is not a logical necessity. 2. Allen
a. There can be no higher, better, more trustworthy authority about the direction of knowledge than knowledge. b. The same modernization that destroyed the idea of forbidden knowledge also destroyed that idea of responsibility for knowledge. c. What continues to make us adaptable is our capacity to change, and what guides that change so far as it is guided and not left up to change, is knowledge. d. The low value of operational how-to-knowledge in contrast to contemplative knowledge of the truth. e. Knowledge is already as good as it gets.
f. Knowledge which it is forbidden to seek is already known by those who ought to know. g. It must therefore be sinful to seek knowledge you do not have, and it is forbidden to do so. h. This futile curiosity masquerades under the name of science and learning…for the same reason men are lead to investigate the secrets of nature, which are irrelevant to our lives, although such knowledge is of no value to them and they wish to gain it merely for the sake of knowing. i. For the adept, the vest knowledge is not contemplative knowledge of truth, but effective, operational knowledge tested by trials and perfected through experiences. j. The operational knowledge they esteem is powerful, excellent, rare, and should not be mistreated by allowing it to become common or usual. k. The regime of forbidden knowledge has reappeared among our secular, scientific, orthodox, lacking only the candor to call itself what it is. Knowledge today is not cloacked in hermetic secrecy, though its circulation is jealously guarded by institutional, administrative, disciplinary, and professional restrictions. Out academic-technoscientific complex is an unfortunately obvious example of the new amoral regime of forbidden knowledge. l. Codification corporate monopoly, bureaucratic administration have in this way destroyed knowledge, laid it to waste for the sake of tighter control. m. What modern science lost in the way of an ethics of knowledge was compensated by the gain in objectivity, credibility, reliability, and rigor. n. Double injustice: to the adept, whose knowledge it unjustly discredits, and to our knowledge, which it endows with a methodological certitude it does not have. o. Rather than an extra-scientific prohibition we should think about how scientific training undermines any nascent moral sense students may have of their responsibility for the knowledge entrusted to them. p. No prohibition, no forbidding of knowledge can begin to address a problem that can only be solved through\ changes in practice, especially in education, especially in the universities and polytechnic institutions. q. If authority wins, knowledge will not merely be forbidden but corrupted, wasted, and lost. 3. Mckee
a. The current American policy is dangerous for many reasons. Most obviously, it will lead to policies being implemented that are simply wrong, with potential adverse consequences for human health. b. The history of twentieth century provides many examples. But equally worrying is its impact on public trust. While the situation in the United Kingdom is nothing like that in the United States, politicians tainted by the distortion of evidence on subjects such as BSE and the war in Iraq face difficulties persuading a skeptical population of the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.