User:Andy Maloney/Notebook/Lab Notebook of Andy Maloney/2009/09/14/Ethics course 3

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It is so difficult to listen to this guy. One reason is the over abundance of vocabulary. I have to just pick up words from him and hope I can find out what he means later both with the vocab and the things he talks about in class. It makes for a truly difficult experience in the class.

Ethical terminology

Finally we are to the point where he is going over ethical definitions. They are very convoluted and connected to each other. Perhaps if I have time to waste, I will categorize them in some way that makes logical sense to me.

Ethics of consequences

He also calls this utilitarianism. This is a way of thinking that only takes into consideration the final act of a situation and if it is good or not. There is a possibility that utilitarian ethics gives the power to someone to be unethical. This is because it does not take into consideration all the acts taken to obtain the outcome.

He gives an example of what is termed "good". He starts by telling us again that he is a biomedical researcher. I don't know why. Then he changes the subject abruptly and starts talking about splitting the atom and the consequences of harnessing this power. He then talks about people glowing from radiation (I guess from weapons). I really hate it when people talk about radiation and the effects of people glowing when exposed to it. That just doesn't happen.

Deontological ethics

This is similar to consequentialism. The difference is that deontological ethics takes into consideration all acts leading to an outcome. If one of those acts is unethical, then the outcome is considered unethical.

Kantian ethics

I still have no clue as to what this means.

Theological ethics

He talks about an example of Jehovah's witnesses and how they cannot accept blood transfusions. The JW is morally obligated to follow their theological ethics even if it means their life is over. The practitioner also has an ethical obligation to their patient to respect their beliefs.

I can somewhat understand this in the sense of quality of life. If the doctor saves the life of the JW by giving them a blood transfusion, the JW will live the rest of their life in misery because of their beliefs.

Medical ethics

I still do not understand why we are talking so much about medical ethics. Especially since this is supposed to be a course about ethical questions and ideas in nanoscience and nanotechnology. However, since this guy really likes to tell us that he is a neuroscientist, I'm sure he had to go through a course in medical ethics. So, I'm sure he has something to share on the subject.

The important things he spoke about are;

Beneficence - Do no harm.
Non-Maleficence - If you have to harm a patient to save their life (such as taking a limb), do it.
Autonomy - A patient has to be all there in the head.
Nuremberg Code - Don't experiment on a patient that is not autonomous.
He really likes to talk about Nazis.
Belmont report - Guidelines given for the treatment of patients in research.

Communitarian ethics

This idea system takes the good of the community before the good of the individual. He makes reference to;

The military
The scientific community

Casuist ethics

No clue what this means.

Feminist ethics

I am compelled to say that he calls feminist ethics "noble". He also said the word noble in a way that can be misconstrued as negative.

Feminist ethics takes into consideration the underdog and tries to help them not be the underdog.

Nightingale ethics

No clue. He said it though.

Agent based ethics

There really is no page about this stuff however, I do believe it relates to what he was talking about.


  • I think he references a lot from the book called Biomedical Ethics. He is after all a neuroscientist (which he likes to reiterate a lot) and I'm sure this is a similar book he used in college.
  • He referenced the Belmont report more than once. Perhaps I should read it.
  • I'm pretty sure he dislikes libertarianism because every time he says it, it sounds forced. Almost like he is spitting the word out.
    • He also talked more about the paternal nature of professionals. I'm pretty sure he would hate open science.
  • He has gone off on Obama's health care plan. It sounded like he doesn't like it. I cannot be sure though because his speech is so ornate and incomprehensible with his vocabulary I can only get the gist of what he is saying. Thank goodness for Wikipedia and Wiktionary. And open science/knowledge.
  • Donna Haraway - I cannot remember why I was going to look her up.
  • He takes big stock in moral virtues and especially those that have intellectual characteristics.
  • He talked a little about these things but now I can't remember what he said. Eh, there really is no point in listening too closely to him. As long as I can get the info from Wikipedia. In retrospect, this is a harsh thing to say. So, I'm going to apologize in advance and state that this is just my opinion.