Why the Topic of Bioethics in Science
A New Look at an Old Debate
by Carolyn Csongradi
What Techniques Are Helpful In Developing Moral Problem
One method of approaching the topic of conflict resolution is
to engage students in dialogue around a moral problem whose content
is a part of regular course work. The process of problem solving
involves critical thinking skills
which cannot be effectively taught in the absence of meaningful
In general, the solution to a problem will involve balancing and
prioritizing several competing values. Moral principles can be
thought of as a set of rational "equations" which attempt
to sort conflicting values by assigning a higher priority to one
over the other. Principles are like a scale which allows us to
give weight to the pros and cons of different courses of action.
Justification for these principles hinges on one of several ethical
systems. Courses of action, which result from this balancing act,
often end up being less complicated and difficult than the actual
Moral problems in medicine have long posed real-life tests of
how well some theoretical principles are able to assist physicians
in making responsible decisions, which may have legal and moral
consequences. Bioethics and medical ethics are fields of study
composed of experts using a multi-disciplinary approach to analyze
possible choices from differing points of view in complicated
cases. A professional code for ethical behavior, which has roots
in western civilization, helps justify difficult courses of action.
Health providers are guided by the following four ethical principles,
which are key components to their professional ethics codes. We
can also find these principles represented in the Constitution,
court decisions, and in cultural and religious traditions.(4) From
the medical code of ethics, actions taken by health professionals
- Benefit the patient - life is sacrosanct (beneficence).
- Do no harm unless balanced by the hope for improvement (non-maleficence).
- Result in an even handed allocation of scarce resources- characterized
by fairness (justice ).
- Respect others as equal partners in making a decision (autonomy).
Teaching Moral Problem Solving Continued: