The Bioethics branch of the Social Trends Institute seeks to bring together moral philosophers, medical doctors, and scientists to hold serious academic discussions about the ever-present ethical dimension inherent in all areas of science and biotechnology. Rather than focusing on normative guidelines for specific types of cases, the Bioethics branch’s research is aimed at sketching diverse perspectives of emerging controversies in the areas of science and philosophy. The Experts Meetings aim to provide an open theoretical forum and dialogue that is focused on sharpening society’s understanding of the complex relationship between science, morality, and freedom.
To date, STI's Bioethics branch has held the following Experts Meetings:Is Science Compatible with Our Desire for Freedom?
Under the Academic leadership of Dr. Antoine Suarez (Center for Quantum Philosophy), a distinguished group of neuroscientists, physicists and philosophers gathered in Barcelona from October 28-30, 2010 to explore whether a science in which there is room for human freedom is possible.
The conflict between human freedom and a deterministic neuroscience can lead us to conclude either that human freedom is an illusion, or that such science is not the last word about the brain and must eventually be superseded by a neuroscience that admits processes not completely determined by the past. Might today’s quantum physics be the key to resolving this apparent conflict? Focus on the Embryo
STI hosted some of the world’s most renowned bioethicists, biologists and philosophers in Barcelona for the "Focus on the Embryo" Experts Meeting on January 23-25, 2009.
Much ink has been spilled over the proposal to destroy human embryos for the purpose of extracting embryonic stem cells that could be used in regenerative cell therapy and organ replacement. Robert George's and Christopher Tollefsen's book Embryo: A Defense of Human Life
, which was sponsored by STI with the Witherspoon Institute
, explores the moral implications of such a proposal.
At the Experts Meeting, led by Dr. Joachim Huarte of the University of Geneva and by Dr. Antoine Suarez of the Center for Quantum Philosophy, discussion centered on how to ascertain a personal presence in a cellular entity, the moral status of transgenic (human-animal hybrid) cellular material, and the biological status of the products of altered nuclear transfer. Addressing these questions with both philosophical and scientific rigor better allows all those committed to the inviolable dignity of every person to ethically assess new methods of therapy and research involving stem cells.
The papers have been published as the book Is This Cell a Human Being? Exploring the Status of Embryos, Stem Cells and Human-Animal Hybrids.