Summary of James Cordeiro American Journal of Bioethics article “On the Moral Permissibility of Elective Ectogestation” American Journal of Bioethics 23 (5):116-118 (2023)
The advent of artificial womb technology (AWT) raises serious moral questions, many capably framed and reviewed in De Bie et. al.’s (2022) focal article on the ethics of AWT and fetonates. Cordeiro’s commentary addresses the moral permissibility of “elective ectogestation” (EE) which receives sparse treatment in this otherwise admirable review.
EE refers to fetal transfer to an artificial womb during in vivo gestation at the mother’s request for non-medically indicated reasons, such as reduction of perceived burdens of gestation or earlier resumption of social life and careers. Cordeiro’s argument against its moral permissibility responds to recent arguments for its permissibility on grounds of maternal autonomy (e.g., Nelson, 2022) or as part of a regulatory compromise (Rasanen, 2022).
Cordeiro’s central thesis is that if a woman voluntarily consents to pregnancy with the intention of raising the child, and can refrain from significantly harming the child without incurring an undue burden then she has a duty not to do so. He supports his case by countering autonomy-based rationales for the moral permissibility of EE with notions of voluntarism and parental responsibility and through an analysis of relevant harms.
His approach has some notable advantages. By focusing on the well-being of the child born through EE rather than the fetus, he sidesteps concerns over fetal moral status. He likewise avoids entering the contentious debate over abortion rights since the mother electing EE intends to raise the child after birth by voluntarily assuming the parenting project. Finally, focusing on an identifiable child whose birth is desired by its mother avoids debates over non-identity and aligns with Elizabeth Harman’s assignment of moral status to fetuses that will be born.
Barry Smith and Jobst Landgrebe are co-authors of Why Machines Will Never Rule The World — Artificial Intelligence Without Fear (Routledge 2022) The three questions central to this book are:
– What are the essential marks of human intelligence?
– What is it that researchers are trying to do when they talk of achieving ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI)?
– To what extent can AI be achieved?
The core argument is that an artificial intelligence with powers of a sort that would equal or exceed human intelligence is for mathematical reasons impossible. The reasons are that
1. intelligence of this sort is a capability of a complex dynamic system (your brain), and such systems cannot be modelled mathematically in a way that yields exact predictions;
2. but only what can be modeled mathematically in this way can be engineered to operate inside a computer.
There is a great deal which AI can achieve that will be of benefit to mankind; but it does not include the work that a human intelligence can do; it does not include AI systems more powerful than humans; and it does not include AI systems which are ‘evil’ in any sense of this word.
One consequence of our argument is that much of what is discussed in the wider world concerning the potential of AI to bring about radical changes in the very nature of human beings and of the human social order is founded on an unfortunate error.
Steve Kershnar, Desert Collapses: Why No One Deserves Anything, Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory.
Adam Taylor, "The Problem of God in Indian Philosophy”, Cambridge University Press.
Robert Kelly, “How an Addiction Ontology can Unify Competing Conceptualizations of Addiction" co authored with Janna Hastings, and Robert West in Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction, Routledge University Press.
Travis Timmerman, “Not to Be: On The Badness of Death” under contract for a book with Oxford University Press.
THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE ONTOLOGY IN 2020
Authors: Shane Babcock, John Beverley, Lindsay G. Cowell, Barry Smith Published online - OFS PrePrints. See news article by Bert Gambini, Ontology powerful weapon against COVID-19.
Also see the related paper, The Coronavirus Infectious Disease Ontology (CIDO), here.
Romanell Center fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Canisius College Philip Reed recently published a target article, "Expressivism at the Beginning and End of Life," in the Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (2020): 538-544. The article addresses how certain controversial biomedical practices might send a message of disrespect to the disabled. The journal solicited commentaries from Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Professor of Philosophy at Brown University; Bjørn Hofmann, Professor at the Department of Health, Technology and Society at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology; John Keown, Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics; Janet Malek, Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine's Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy; and Joel Michael Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University. The journal also published Prof. Reed’s response to the commentaries.
The Romanell Center is pleased to announce that five of its fellows have collaborated on a primary text for undergraduate courses on the philosophy of death and dying, which is forthcoming by Routledge Press. Exploring the Philosophy of Death: Classical and Contemporary Perspective is co-edited by Romanell Fellow, Travis Timmerman.
The book uses classic texts and contemporary contributions to investigate central questions within the philosophy of death literature. It is ideal for courses that aim to address several of the fundamental philosophical questions related to death and dying. By including works that draw from both Western (analytic and continental) and non-Western traditions, the authors present a diversity of voices that have contributed to the philosophy of death and dying throughout history.
Chapters, authored for the text by Romanell Center Fellows, include:
"Death Is Bad for Us When We're Dead.” by Neil Feit (SUNY Fredonia).
“Can We Survive our Deaths?” by Rose Hershenov and David Hershenov (University at Buffalo).
“The Possibility of Suicide.” by Philip Reed (Canisius College).
"Refuting Symmetry Arguments." by Travis Timmerman (Seton Hall University).
Romanell Fellows David Limbaugh and Neil Feit debated the question “Whether Diseases must be Harmful?” at the Seventh Annual Romanell Conference. Feit had earlier published his “Harm and the Concept of Medical Disorder” in Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics (TMB) 38: 5, pp 367–385. Feit argued that Jerry Wakefield was in error to claim that disorders had to be harmful. David Limbaugh offered an original defense of why disorders were harmful entitled “The Harm of Medical Disorder as Harm in the Damage Sense” that was published in 2019 in TMB 40:1, pp. 1-20. The debate took place in Buffalo on July 28, 2018 in Buffalo. Wakefield, who was keynoting the conference at which the debate took place, declared Limbaugh the debate winner. Feit then wrote a response to Limbaugh’s response entitled “Medical Disorder, Harm, and Damage” that will be published in a future issue of TMB.
Romanell Fellows Phil Reed, David Hershenov, and Stephen Kershnar debated the question “Are Pro-Lifers Committed to Killing Abortion Doctors?” The Reed and Hershenov presentation was facetiously entitled “Should Steve Kershnar be Given Hemlock for Corrupting the Pro-Life Young?” Reed and Hershenov were responding to a Kershnar paper that ended up as a chapter entitled “Forfeiture and Killing Abortion Doctors” in Kershnar’s 2017 Routledge Press book Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense?: Abortion, Hell, and Violence Against Abortion Doctors. The debate audience voted neither to execute or acquit Kershnar, but compromised, concluding that exile would be appropriate. The Reed and Hershenov response to Kershnar entitled “How Not to Defend the Unborn” has been accepted by the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
David G. Limbaugh and Robert Kelly