Tag Archives: ethics

Conner, TD. Nazi Medical Experiments

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Nazism cursed the European continent and tried to dominate the world. It was a racist dogma established and enforced by ruthless bullies and brutal criminals. Before Adolf Hitler was crushed, 60 million people died. Nazis murdered people around the clock on their treadmills-of-death after developing fast, modern ways to kill large masses of human beings quickly. They extended their cruelties into the realm of medicine, grinning doctors–many of them once distinguished professors with advanced degrees– torturing thousands, including children, to death in grisly ways in filthy back rooms in the many Nazi camps or in special murder “clinics.” This book discusses some of the hideous crimes against humanity they committed, all with a clear conscience and without a second thought. There is also a section on medical “experiments” and atrocities carried out, even in the days of the 21st Century, in a developed country near you.

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Schmidt, Ulf. Secret Science: A Century of Poison Warfare and Human Experiments

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From the early 1990s, allegations that servicemen had been duped into taking part in trials with toxic agents at top-secret Allied research facilities throughout the twentieth century featured with ever greater frequency in the media. In Britain, a whole army of over 21,000 soldiers had participated in secret experiments between 1939 and 1989. Some remembered their stay as harmless, but there were many for whom the experience had been all but pleasant, sometimes harmful, and in isolated cases deadly.

Publisher: OUP Oxford
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 019929979X

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Brooks, Richard (dir). Crisis

crisis

Dr Ferguson is a brain surgeon, on vacation with his wife in a small Spanish-speaking country. This is actually a dictatorship ruled by tyrant Raoul Farrago. As they leave the country, Dr and Madam are arrested and lead to Farrago. He has a tumor that has to be removed quickly. Ferguson’s duty is to cure sick people, but letting Farrago die would be a relief for the people…

Producers: Arthur Freed
Year: 1950
Director: Richard Brooks
Writer: Richard Brooks

Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper

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Anna Fitzgerald doesn’t want her sister to die. But she’s sick of helping her to live.
Anna was born to be a perfect genetic match for Kate, who at just two years old was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. For thirteen years, she has acted as donor to her sister.
Now, Kate needs a kidney, and nobody is asking Anna how she feels about it, they’re just assuming she will donate.
Until the Sheriff serves the papers that will rock their family’s world: Anna is suing her parents for the rights to her own body . . .

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Year 2013
ISBN-10: 1444754343

Glover, Jonathan. Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

A unique and compelling study of history and morality in the twentieth century, this book examines the psychology which made possible Hiroshima, the Nazi genocide, the Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. In modern technological war, victims are distant and responsibility is fragmented. The scientists making the atomic bomb thought they were
only providing a weapon: how it was used was the responsibility of society. The people who dropped the bomb were only obeying orders. The machinery of political decision-taking was so complex that no one among the politicians was unambiguously responsible. No one thought of themselves as causing the horrors of Hiroshima.One topic of the book is tribalism: about how, in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia, people who once lived together became trapped into mutual fear and hatred. Another topic is how, in Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and in Cambodia, systems of belief made atrocities possible. The analysis of Nazism looks at the emotionally powerful combination of tribalism and belief which enabled people to do things otherwise unimaginable. Drawing on accounts of participants, victims and observers, Jonathan Glover shows that different atrocities have common patterns which suggest weak points in our psychology.

Publisher: Pimlico
Year: 2001
ISBN-10: 0712665412

Dancy, J. Ethics without Principles

Jonathan Dancy presents a long-awaited exposition and defence of particularism in ethics, a view with which he has been associated for twenty years. He argues that the traditional link between morality and principles, or between being moral and having principles, is little more than a mistake. The possibility of moral thought and judgement does not in any way depend on an adequate supply of principles. Dancy grounds this claim on a form of reasons-holism, holding that what is a reason in one case need not be any reason in another, and maintaining that moral reasons are no different in this respect from others. He puts forward a distinctive form of value-holism to go with the holism of reasons, and he gives a detailed discussion, much needed, of the currently popular topic of ‘contributory’ reasons. Opposing positions of all sorts are summarized and criticized. Ethics Without Principles is the definitive statement of particularist ethical theory, and will be required reading for all those working on moral philosophy and ethical theory.

Demian Whiting HYMS: Deserves a mention because it outlines an alternative to a principles based approach to moral theorising! But be warned: not an easy book to read!

Publisher: Clarendon Press
Year: 2006)
ISBN-10:
0199297681

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Gaarder, J. Sophie’s World

When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.

Author: Gaarder, Jostein
Title: Sophie’s World
Publisher: London : Phoenix House
Year: 1995
ISBN: 1897580428

Verghese, A. Cutting for Stone

Jean McKenree HYMS: This story (by Abraham Verghese) is narrated by one of a pair of twins of Indian descent born in Ethiopa.  Both grow up to be doctors in very different ways.  While the story line is a bit contrived, especially the ending, the earlier part set in Ethiopia is intriguing and weaves in the impact of poverty and corruption on health in fascinating and somewhat disturbing ways.

Publisher: Vintage
Paperback Edition
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 9780099443636

Ibsen, H. An Enemy of the People

Power. Money. Morality. In a tight knit community a shocking discovery comes to light and threatens the lifeblood of the town. Truth and honour are pitched against wild ambition and corruption in Ibsens emotional maelstrom.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Year: 2008
ISBN: 0571242596

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Catriona Kemp HYMS: Whistle blowing, medical ethics and public health.
The central character, a doctor, is a popular and well regarded figure in his community who investigates and discovers that the new baths to be opened in the town – bringing much needed tourism and money – are actually a health risk being corrupted by the local tannery.
Film versions of it have included Steve McQueen’s penultimate appearance. (Worth seeing just for the size of the beards.) Clips from this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSqHEYrRrm8) along with other versions available on YouTube.

Classic quotes include:

  • the strongest man is the man who stands alone
  • The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent man must wage war. Who is it that constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the clever folk, or the stupid? I don’t imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over. But, good Lord!—you can never pretend that it is right that the stupid folk should govern the clever ones I (Uproar and cries.) Oh, yes—you can shout me down, I know! But you cannot answer me. The  majority has might on its side—unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in the right—I and a few other scattered individuals. The minority is always in the right.”
  • What sort of truths are they that the majority usually supports? They are truths that are of such advanced age that they are beginning to break up. And if a truth is as old as that, it is also in a fair way to become a lie, gentlemen. (Laughter and mocking cries.) Yes, believe me or not, as you like; but truths are by no means as long-lived at Methuselah—as some folk imagine. A normally constituted truth lives, let us say, as a rule seventeen or eighteen, or at most twenty years—seldom longer. But truths as aged as that are always worn frightfully thin, and nevertheless it is only then that the majority recognises them and recommends them to the community as wholesome moral nourishment. There is no great nutritive value in that sort of fare, I can assure you; and, as a doctor, I ought to know. These “majority truths” are like last year’s cured meat—like rancid, tainted ham; and they are the origin of the moral scurvy that is rampant in our communities.

Full text available from project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2446 (source of quotes above).