Doctor Who and Philosophy

May 26, 2011

Doctor Who and Philosophy is the 55th title in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series

The new series of Doctor Who is underwaythe sixth in the 21st Century reincarnation of the classic science fiction drama. The current two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People is raising some interesting ethical questions which I hope to discuss here in the near future. If you are interested in ethical and philosophical questions raised by the Timelord’s adventures you may be interested in Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the inside.

A recent addition to the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, this multi-author work has been edited by Courtland Lewis and Paula Smithka.  Topics covered include questions of personal identity, existence, science and ethics. My former colleague Bonnie Green and I have a chapter Ain’t we all the same? Underneath, ain’t we all kin? on the notion of species. This actually started life as a post here on Bioethicsbytes (see The Meaning of Humanity). I am delighted that the publishers have allowed us to include a pre-publication edition of our chapter in the Leicester Research Archive. It can therefore be accessed via this link. If you like the look of it, why not buy the book!

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Some (in)famous cases of research misconduct

May 19, 2011

I gave a presentation at a recent meeting of the UK Centre for Bioscience day conference on Some (in)famous cases of research conduct. I’ve uploaded both the slides (below, and on Slideshare) as well as a table summarising who, what, when and my classification of what category or categories of research misconduct they represent. Some of the discussion at the session was of the “why haven’t you included Dr So-and-so?” variety. One of two of these were new to me, but mostly I had made a conscious decision to exclude the person named, either because they have since been exonerated or because the jury is still out. I’d welcome suggestions for other examples to include in a revised version.

Other presentations from the Teaching Research Ethics to Bioscience Students day conference are available via this link.


Personalised Healthcare

May 19, 2011

This is the 4th resource produced by Nuffield's education team to accompany their more chunky reports on ethical developments in biology and medicine

The latest in a series of educational resources to accompany major reports by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics are now available. Picking up from the 2010 Nuffield report on the ethics of Personalised Healthcare, the resources have been developed by the Reaching Out to Young People team. The materials are based around three case studies looking at the impact of different developments moving medicine away from the traditional patient-doctor consultation. These are: the availability of personal genetic profiles; the ability to buy medicines online; and the rise of the internet as a source of health information.

The story of Christina and her decision about whether or not to buy a test for an inherited disease is one of the new resources

(Note: anyone who has ended at this post looking for “personalised healthcare” in the pharmacogenetic sense might like to know that this was the subject of a different Nuffield report in 2003 and hence it was not included in the 2010 document).


Interactive tutorials on genetics and ethics at the PHG Foundation

May 19, 2011

Here’s a useful resource for teaching about bioethics and the ethical implications of new developments in genetics. The PHG Foundation website has a large number of tutorials and other educational activities on these topics. You need to register with the site to see them, but there is no fee and the “cost” of registration seems only to be a periodic e-mail newsletter also containing helpful updates.

The PHG Foundation grew out from the Public Health Genetics unit

If I understand correctly funding for the educational developments at PHG has come and gone so nothing new will be appearing in that section of their site – but the stuff that’s already there is definitely worth a look.

The tutorial on moral theories is just one of the bioethics-related resources on the PHG Foundation site