News from our Academicians

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Our Academician prof. John Keown announces the publication by Cambridge University Press of the 2nd edition of his book Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy

This book argues against the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide on the ground that, even if they were ethically defensible in certain 'hard cases', neither could be effectively controlled by law. It maintains that the experience of legalisation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Oregon lends support to the two 'slippery slope' arguments against legalisation, the 'empirical' and the 'logical'. The empirical argument challenges the feasibility of drafting and enforcing adequate safeguards against abuse and mistake; the logical argument shows that acceptance of the case for euthanasia in the case of suffering patients who request it logically involves acceptance of euthanasia for suffering patients who are unable to request it, such as infants and those with advanced dementia.

  • Whereas most books on the subject argue in favour of legalisation, this book argues against legalisation
  • Focuses on the two 'slippery slope' arguments against legalisation, the 'practical' and the 'logical' arguments
  • Documents the failure of the law in three key jurisdictions - the Netherlands, Belgium and Oregon - to ensure effective control
  • Provides an up-to-date account of international developments, and how they have done nothing to weaken the argument against legalisation.
An article of Prof. Keown published by The Tablet is available here.
Our Academician dr. Carlo Valerio Bellieni, Neonatologist of the University Hospital of Siena, has been appointed by the President of the Regional Council to be part of the Tuscany Regional Bioethics Commission, as an expert in Neonatal Resuscitation. 
Our Academician prof. Marie-Jo Thiel has published: The Challenge of Fraternity (with contributions in Fr/En/De). 
Un temps galvaudée, oubliée, la fraternité est aujourd’hui redécouverte au contact d’immenses défis éthiques comme la migration, le terrorisme, l’économie libérale, l’environnement, la médecine. Mais d’où vient-elle? Le christianisme a joué un rôle déterminant dans sa compréhension et l’ouvrage revisite nombre d’écrits bibliques, théologiques, tout en convoquant largement les sciences humaines. La Révolution française l’a bien compris, qui a tenté de se démarquer de cet héritage religieux. Écrit à la lumière d’un colloque international (AETC), l’ouvrage comprend des textes en français, en anglais et en allemand. 

Our Academician Professor Henk ten Have has published  two new books. Both are in the field of Global Bioethics:

Global education in bioethics (2018) Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland, 198 pages. ISBN 978-3-319-78983-5. ISBN 978-3-319-78984-2 (eBook).

This book presents and elaborates on how the teaching of global ethics in healthcare contributes to furthering ideals of cosmopolitanism: solidarity, equality, respect for differences and concern with what human beings, and specifically patients have in common, regardless of where they live and who they are. Global problems such as pandemic diseases, disasters, lack of care and medication, homelessness and displacement call for global responses. The new area of global bioethics is providing answers by arguing that ethical discourse should first of all criticize the structures of violence and injustice that underlie many threats to global health. Education of health professionals should articulate that they are ‘citizens of the world’, like their patients.

This book first demonstrates that a moral vision of global education is necessary to gain a global dimension. It is argued that a global framework of ethical principles is available; the challenge is to elaborate and specify that framework into specific educational approaches and models. The book subsequently analyzes goals and challenges of global education in biomedicine and healthcare. It is shown how such challenges (e.g. inequities and cultural differences) can be overcome.

Finally, the book presents concrete examples (cases, methods, and practices) of global education in bioethics. The unique feature of the book is that it addresses global education challenges specifically in the area of healthcare, medicine, and medical science. It combines two areas of research and experience that are usually not connected: global bioethics and global education. This book is written for all those involved in global ethics teaching in medicine, nursing, ethics, philosophy, law, and theology courses.

Wounded Planet. How declining biodiversity endangers health and how bioethics can help (2019) Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2019, 376 pages; ISBN: 9781421427454

We all depend on environmental biodiversity for clean air, safe water, adequate nutrition, effective drugs, and protection from infectious diseases. Today's healthcare experts and policymakers are keenly aware that biodiversity is one of the crucial determinants of health—not only for individuals but also for the human population of the planet. Unfortunately, rapid globalization and ongoing environmental degradation mean that biodiversity is rapidly deteriorating, threatening planetary health on a mass scale.

In Wounded Planet, Henk A.M.J. ten Have argues that the ethical debate about healthcare has become too narrow and individualized. We must, he writes, adopt a new bioethical discourse—one that deals with issues of justice, equality, vulnerability, human rights, and solidarity—in order to adequately reflect the serious threat that current loss of biodiversity poses to planetary health. Exploring modern environmental challenges in depth, ten Have persuasively demonstrates that environmental concerns can no longer be separated from healthcare challenges, and thus should be included in global bioethics.

Going beyond an individualized perspective, he poses audacious questions: What does it mean that patients are poor or uninsured and cannot afford suggested medicines? How can we deal with the air and water pollution that are producing a patient's illness? How do we respond to patients complaining about the safety and quality of drinking water in their neighborhood? Touching on infectious and noncommunicable diseases, as well as food, medicine, and water, Wounded Planet transcends the limited vision of mainstream bioethics to compassionately reveal how healthcare and medicine must take a broad perspective that includes the social and environmental conditions in which individuals live.