Index as Diagnosis

By Kaebnick, Gregory E. | The Hastings Center Report, November-December 2005 | Go to article overview

Index as Diagnosis


Kaebnick, Gregory E., The Hastings Center Report


Sometimes it happens that many of the articles and essays in an issue revolve around a theme. In the September-October issue, for example, all of the articles and several of the essays and columns addressed issues in research ethics. Other themes arise longitudinally, as topics get picked up and played along by a series of authors over the course of several issues. One of the interesting things about the annual index, which appears in the November-December issue, is that it brings longitudinal themes to light. This year, as the index makes plain, the Report was dominated by discussions of end of life decision-making--unsurprisingly, given the Schiavo case. Genetics received somewhat less attention than in years past. Policy & Politics (a column new to the Report this year that appears by arrangement with the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities) was dominated by questions about the relationship of politics and bioethics--both bioethics' involvement in politics, and the politicization of bioethics.

One of the feature articles in this issue provides a variation on a theme heard frequently in the Report and that Adrienne Asch mentions in this issue's installment of Policy & Politics. Asch argues that many commentators who are essentially on the political left share some of the concerns about biotechnology often associated with the political right. Right on cue, in the second feature article of this issue, Bernard Prusak develops and comments on the German political philosopher Jurgen Habermas's criticism of the new "liberal eugenics" promoted by Nicholas Agar, a philosopher from New Zealand who has become prominent in the debate over enhancement technologies. …

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