Lecture Handout 17 - BIOT 101 Handout 17 Ethics in...

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BIOT 101 Handout 17 Ethics in Biotechnology Vocabulary Assignment Ethics Intellectual property License Normative claims Patent Objectives Understand the traditional role of ethics in society and be aware of how this impacts biotechnology. Be able to describe the nature of ethical considerations that impact the professional conduct of the biotechnology worker. Understand the nature of intellectual property and how these rights are respected. Understand the nature of patents and how patent rights are respected. Understand the issues surrounding the medical application of biotechnology. Be able to articulate arguments for or against the application of biotechnology in the area of medicine. Understand the issues surrounding the agricultural application of biotechnology. Be able to articulate arguments for or against the application of biotechnology in the area of agriculture. 1
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BIOT 101 Handout 17 Ethics in Biotechnology I. The term ethics is an ambiguous term that carries many implied meanings. In the area of biotechnology, laboratory researchers may tend to understand ethics in terms of personal integrity in their research techniques, such as accurate recording and reporting of data or acknowledging the contributions of coworkers. Society tends to interpret ethics in a manner more consistent with the way that philosophers do: ethics is a tool used to determine what should and should not be done in using recombinant DNA techniques to affect health, agriculture and natural resources. A. Ethicists apply logic and a five thousand year tradition of articulating and defending answers to the questions "What should we do?" in their study of ethics. Philosophical ethics often involves developing theories about the general strategies that can be employed in thinking about norms and ethical responsibilities, and these theories show that certain strategies have weaknesses or "blind spots" to issues or concerns that are made prominent by other approaches. The main contribution of philosophical ethics to the study of medicine and agricultural biotechnology is an increase in the clarity and precision of normative claims (claims that something is good or right, bad or wrong), and a greater sensitivity to the range of normative claims that might be made by others with a different vantage point or a different conceptual strategy for thinking about ethical issues. B. Since philosophical ethics increases sensitivity to alternative points of view, ethics is closely tied to problems of communicating with the public about medical and agricultural biotechnologies. Here ethics becomes a tool less for arriving at one's own answer to the question "What should I do?" than a tool for understanding how people from different walks of life arrive at very different answers. Understanding the views of others is the first step in truly communicating with them; hence ethics has a natural affinity with programs in extension, public communication and education. C.
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2009 for the course BIOT 101 taught by Professor Don during the Fall '09 term at Ivy Tech Community College.

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Lecture Handout 17 - BIOT 101 Handout 17 Ethics in...

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