Ethical Expertise and Bioethics

By Abrudan, Elena | Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

Ethical Expertise and Bioethics


Abrudan, Elena, Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies


Key Words: Ethical Expertise, Bioethics, Philosophy, Organ Donation, secularization, responsibility, Mihaela Frunzã

Review of Mihaela Frunzã, Expertiza eticã si bioetica. Studii de caz (Ethical Expertise and Bioethics. Case Studies). Cluj-Napoca, Limes Publishing House, 2010.

Mihaela Frunzã is known in academic research through her publications concerning applied ethics and gender studies. Among these, apart from the articles published in the academic journals, one can count her volumes - Ideology and Feminism (2004), Thematizations in Applied Ethics. Feminist Perspectives (2009), as well as her co-edited volumes: Faces of Tolerance (2003), Gender and the (Post) "East-West" Divide (2004), Youth and Politics (2006), Institutional Crisis of Philosophy (2010).

The book Ethical Expertise and Bioethics. Case Studies written by Mihaela Frunzã presents case studies regarding the bioethics domain and tries to emphasize the contribution of the philosophy to solving the challenges addressed to the humanity by the bioethics' concepts in the present day. The author's intent is sustained by the bioethics' research as field of the applied ethics and it highlights the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary openings that the philosophy and the philosopher can bring in solving the bioethics problems1.

The first chapter tries to establish the extent to which the ethical expertise alleged by the research complexity in this area, is exclusively the philosophers' privilege, bringing to the attention of the reader, the different views that balance the epistemic expertise (regarding the ability of expressing justified judgments on a subject) and the performative expertise (that assumes having the ability and the capacity to implement it in practice). Consequently, the author proposes the recognition that ethical expertise is accessible to experts of various professions, mentioning that the philosophers not only have the necessary competences regarding the moral tradition but also have the necessary competences regarding the applied ethics. The author supports this statement with the clinical ethics example which considers the responsibility of the doctors faced with regular clinical investigation and treatment of patients in serious condition. Another important aspect is the philosophical expertise which can result in immediate ethical and philosophical advice in case of older controversial issues or recently developed, like the ethics of the alternative and complementary medicine, the ethics of the informatics and communication or even the ethics of the reproduction or the transplant.

The chapter Ethical options and metamorphosis of the body talks about the morality of the organs transplant and offers details about the complexity of the relationships between the donors (dead or alive) and the receivers on one hand and their caregivers on the other hand.2 What is interesting is the placement of the ethical issues in a broader paradigm, the part-whole relationship. Intensively researched and presented in several anthropology, mythology or religion history studies, this dilemma has enriched the universal literature with unrivaled fictions (The Nose by Nikolai Gogol) and the specialty literature with newer controversial texts, describing with accuracy and sensitivity the body's reaction to the received organ or the ambiguity demarcation between life and death. This approach is followed by an applied research of the legal and ethical aspects of the organs harvesting from living donors3 together with the presentation of quantitative data from Romania and Bulgaria compared to the European data, in general. Taking into consideration that Romania is on the last place in Europe regarding organ donation, the study Ethical and Legal Aspects of Unrelated Living Donor in Romania highlights the growing importance of living donors and the need to raise awareness about the benefits and opportunities of organ transplantation. …

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