Problemet med moderne bioetikk

En av vår tids dyktigste moralfilosofer, David Oderberg, oppsummerer i dette intervjuet problemet med moderne bioetikk. De starter gjerne med en agenda, som de så forsøker å legitimere ved å plukke ut usammenhengende biter fra ulike moralfilosofier. Resultatet blir ofte en cocktail av retorikk, godt egnet til å overbevise enkelte, men med et heller ustabilt fundament.

Hvilket burde være åpenbart nok fra diverse pågående debatter i norsk offentlighet.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding in the bioethics industry (because it is something of an industry), although I’d prefer to put it in terms of simple mistakes or confusions. I don’t think most bioethicists misunderstand what they believe or recommend at policy level, since most have a clear agenda, which is to pull apart as many “taboos”, i.e., commonsense traditional prohibitions, as possible.

A lot of the time, the ends justify the means inasmuch as bioethicists will use whatever argument they have to hand, whether good, bad, or indifferent, to advance a prior agenda. In that sense, I suppose you could say they misunderstand the function of argument, which is to get to the truth, not to advance a previously-adopted policy.

I recall reading, a number of years ago, a report by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority, produced by a handful of bioethicists and devoted to defending human embryo experimentation. It was abundantly clear from the report that the authors (most of whom I had barely heard of as far as the philosophy profession is concerned) were intent on recommending embryo experimentation to the government as morally permissible, and they used whatever argument or “theory” they could to defend it.

As a result, you had a bit of Kantianism on one page, utilitarianism on another, virtue theory on another, and bits and pieces of philosophical thought, many of them totally irreconcilable with each other, thrown into the mix to achieve a supposedly rational conclusion that, sure enough, it was just A-OK to experiment on embryos, as long as we’re careful.”