From Reason to Practice in Bioethics: An Anthology Dedicated to the Works of John Harris brings together original contributions from some of the world’s leading scholars in the field of bioethics. With a particular focus on, and critical engagement with, the influential work of Professor John Harris, the book provides a detailed exploration of some of the most interesting and challenging philosophical and practical questions raised in bioethics. The book’s broad range of chapters make it a useful resource for students, scholars, and practitioners interested in the field of bioethics, and the relationship between philosophical and practical ethics. The range of contributors and topics afford the book a wide international interest.
Response to and reflections on
I talked in my chapter at the beginning of this volume about my own
efforts at self-improvement, a form of human enhancement which is not
often discussed in the vast current literature on enhancement. It is now
time to turn to the efforts of others to effect my improvement either by
friendly criticism or commentary, or by sending in my direction thoughts
from which I have undoubtedly benefitted and which I hope will interest
and engage all readers of this book. All these papers deserve very detailed
Thought and memory
What is bioethics for?
Indeed what is ethics for?
Readers of this volume will themselves have formed their own ideas about
what bioethics is in terms of the questions it addresses and its methods of
inquiry. But, apart from its intrinsic interest, what makes bioethics worth
doing, what makes it worthy of anyone’s attention? What I hope this introductory chapter will do is give some sense of what I have been trying to do
in my life in bioethics, and of some of the influences and events that have
shaped its course. In short, I
Simona Giordano, John Harris, and Lucio Piccirillo
the authors discuss in this collection, even our cognitive and moral
The idea of writing this book was formed a long time ago, in April 2014,
after the Third World Congress on Freedom of Scientific Research, held in
Rome and organised and sponsored by the Luca Coscioni Association. The
editor of this collection, JohnHarris and Lucio Piccirillo have collaborated
with the Luca Coscioni Association and participated in the conference,
either as speakers or organisers. But the origins of this book are even older.
The World Congress on Freedom of Scientific
John Coggon, Sarah Chan, Søren Holm, and Thomasine Kushner
change, for example – others
have had a role (whether or not they accept the claim) in shaping and speaking to the field as a whole; true expert generalists. Foremost amongst this
latter breed of intellectual in UK bioethics is JohnHarris, a scholar whose
work has been pivotal in the shaping of bioethics both in the UK and across
the world. His expertise is in philosophy, with a particular focus on moral
and political theory. But the development and application of his ideas over
the last four and some decades have been born of discussions, debates and
Never have the scope and limits of scientific freedom been more important or more under attack. New science, from artificial intelligence to genomic manipulation, creates unique opportunities to make the world a better place. But it also presents unprecedented dangers, which many believe threaten the survival of humanity and the planet. This collection, by an international and multidisciplinary group of leading thinkers, addresses three vital questions: (1) How are scientific developments impacting on human life and on the structure of societies? (2) How is science regulated, and how should it be regulated? (3) Are there ethical boundaries to scientific developments in some sensitive areas (e.g. robotic intelligence, biosecurity)? The contributors are drawn from many disciplines, and approach the issues in diverse ways to secure the widest representation of the many interests engaged. They include some of the most distinguished academics working in this field, as well as young scholars.
Consistency in ethical argument, and how to avoid it
argument in ethics
JohnHarris thinks consistency is important in moral thinking. He thinks it
is important, because he thinks that ethics is about making good arguments,
and he thinks this because he thinks it is important to be right in ethics.
And he thinks that being right in ethics is about believing things for reasons,
which should be convincing and compelling.
Richard Ashcroft 45
A rough restatement of the process of ethical argument, on Harris’s
account, might be as follows.4 We are faced with a moral problem, about
which we care passionately. If we did not
subject area for late seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century English architectural history. Such an approach
is exemplified in the work emanating from the RIBA Drawings
Collection, particularly during the curatorship of JohnHarris,
1956–86. 1 He utilized the techniques of the drawings
specialist to catalogue the collection there and established
architectural drawing studies