rss_2.0Ethics & Bioethics FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Ethics & Bioethics & Bioethics Feed right to choose: A comparative analysis of patient autonomy and body integrity dysphoria among Czech healthcare professionals<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The bioethical principle of autonomy is of paramount importance within medical practice. The extent to which a patient’s autonomy overlaps or conflicts with the physician’s duty of beneficence and non-maleficence, however, is not so clear cut, especially for those cases in which the patient’s request for medical intervention goes against the physician’s advice, either because of personal belief or because there is uncertainty regarding the therapeutic approach. Body integrity dysphoria (BID) is a condition that has been included recently in the International Classification of Diseases, 11th edition (ICD-11). It may lead an affected individual to develop an intense desire to remove a specific body part in order to restore congruity between their body and their mind. Thus, its occurrence creates challenging moral and ethical dilemmas for the medical world (Loriga, 2023). The aim of this study was to investigate how Czech physicians understood, assessed and supported patient autonomy regarding requests for invasive body modifications. The objective was to produce a blueprint regarding how much a patient could influence the medical treatment they could gain within the Czech medical system and to develop a comparison with the ethical challenges of BID.</p> <p>A five-section survey was designed and submitted to Czech physicians on topics relevant to the BID debate. On the surface, the results showed an apparent predisposition toward collaboration between doctors and patients. However, further investigation showed that this supposed collaboration crumbled as the physiological risk-reward ratio moved further toward risk, which caused physicians progressively to rely less on the patient’s opinion and psychological needs. Moreover, a strongly authoritarian approach was evident, which became overwhelming in cases of amputation requests and removed, a priori, any collaboration. The results indicate that the Czech medical system does not accept or comprehend fully patients’ psychological needs, and therefore the BID phenomenon is a long way from being understood, which requires a fundamental paradigm shift.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue there differences in business ethics within SMEs’ most important business sectors in the V4 countries? Empirical research<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Business ethics represents an important aspect that influences each country’s socio-economic system, and is important to society, environment, and economy. The present article aims to define significant attributes of business ethics in the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and compares their attitudes within the three most significant business sectors in the Visegrad Group countries (V4 countries: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, and Hungary). An empirical study, focusing on the attitudes of small and medium-sized firms, was conducted in June 2022 in Visegrad Group countries through the reputable hired company MNFORCE, using the Computer Assisted Web Interviewing research method. The total number of respondents in the Visegrad Group countries was 1,398. Statistical hypotheses were tested using descriptive statistics, chi-square, and Z-score at a significance level of α = 5%. The most important conclusion of this research is that there are no significant differences in the approach of SMEs to business ethics based on the sector in which the companies operate. Some notable differences in attitudes among SMEs in Slovakia and the Czech Republic were identified, but these were marginal. Therefore, differences in the transformation process within selected economic sectors do not impact the formation of attitudes of small and medium-sized companies in business ethics. It is evident that business ethics is significantly determined primarily by the personal characteristics of the owner/manager of the company, and the specificities of individual sectors do not influence this field.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue curse of everyday suffering: An ethical study<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>I discuss everyday situations that bring about and contain suffering. We must take it seriously and distinguish between mental and physical pain and full-fledged suffering that entails dysphoria. I focus on morally relevant cases where I am innocent and contrast them with cases where my suffering is my fault. I discuss cases where we harm others and suffer from guilt and remorse. Our moral emotions cause extra suffering; sometimes, a person’s suffering is vicarious. Finally, I tackle the argument that suffering develops the sufferer’s virtues. I believe suffering is an intrinsic evil, and its good consequences are controversial and, at best, incidental. One may also argue that suffering ruins the victim’s character. This question may belong to empirical psychology.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue changing of environmental philosophical thinking in the Czech Republic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The ecological crisis affects every person and place on the planet. Environmental thinking reflects on the causes of this crisis, the diversity of its consequences, as well as its solutions and their perception by individuals in the past and present. The presentation of local contexts of perceptions and solutions to the crisis emerging from lesser-known traditions helps to complete a holistic picture of a human and to find answers to the question of how to act rightly. Even Czech environmental thinking emerging from specific Central European traditions (J. Hus, J. A. Comenius, T. G. Masaryk, V. Havel) has the potential to enrich the image of a human and the perception of the morality of existing proposed solutions. In the following text, the author will present the prehistory of environmental thinking in Czech lands, the development of this thinking, and the most important authors of the last 30 years. The presented research results are based on historical and research methods, the most important monographs, and scientific articles in the field of philosophy, history of philosophy, ethics, and sociology. Topics covered include the introduction and problems of evolutionary ontology, the importance of philosophy and environmental philosophy in times of ecological crisis, the issues of communities of people of voluntary frugality, the socio-ecological approach, ecological rationality, etc. The article points to the dominance of ecocentric views on the ecological crisis in Czech thinking, as well as to the causes of the limits of environmental thinking in the Czech environment.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue implications of epigenetic studies: On<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Considering the recent epigenetic studies on the transgenerational transmission of trauma, this article aims to 1) explore its ethical implications for the concept and nature of moral damage, and 2) offer normative suggestions on collective responsibilities both synchronic and diachronic. To do so, I first address recent epigenetic studies’ showing the crystallization of emotional information through generations, and second, defend that a unified approach to the concept of <italic>ghost damage</italic> may be useful to categorize this phenomenon, facilitate future research on this type of moral damage, and recognize its importance in the identification of hermeneutical injustice. Finally, I suggest that granting a right to transgenerational information may help avoid the perpetuation of inherited damage that jeopardize mental and physical health in the offspring.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue as self-mastery in Seneca’s<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper discusses the conception of philosophy and ethics in Seneca’s <italic>Letters</italic>, as well as in his other writings, which it sets in the broader context of ancient and modern thought. The introduction outlines the Socratic and Stoic foundations of Seneca’s ethics. The next section focuses on the interpretation of passages from the <italic>Letters</italic> that remind us that the task of philosophy is to teach human to live an active life. The paper points out that, according to Seneca, philosophy resembles art more than knowledge, and Seneca adapts his language and the examples he uses to this effect. In the next section, the paper returns to delineating the relationship between theoretical and practical thought. The specificity of Seneca’s position becomes visible in the background of Aristotle’s problematization of this relationship. The last section asks how we should approach Seneca’s conception of ethics and philosophy. The analyses outlined above show that Seneca’s <italic>Letters</italic> fully express an approach to philosophy as an art of living, an approach that modern authors such as Nietzsche and Foucault consider determinative for the whole of ancient philosophy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue considerations in Risk management of autonomous and intelligent systems<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has raised concerns regarding the potential risks it may pose to humans, society, and the environment. Recent advancements have intensified these concerns, emphasizing the need for a deeper understanding of the technical, societal, and ethical aspects that could lead to adverse or harmful failures in decisions made by autonomous and intelligent systems (AIS). This paper aims to examine the ethical dimensions of risk management in AIS. Its objective is to highlight the significance of ethical considerations in mitigating risks associated with the development, deployment, and use of AIS. The paper provides an overview of various types of AI risks and risk management procedures aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of those risks. We employ a comprehensive risk management approach that combines technical expertise with ethical analysis to ensure alignment with human values and societal objectives. Through the analysis of AI risks and risk management procedures, we advocate for establishing effective mechanisms for ethical oversight and legal control to promote ethical and trustworthy AIS. The findings reveal key risks associated with transparency, accountability, privacy infringement, algorithmic bias, and unintended consequences. To address these challenges, we consider integrating ethical principles into risk management practices, transparent risk communication, continuous engagement with all stakeholders, establishing robust accountability mechanisms, and regular ethical oversight as imperative in ethically designing and operating AI systems. Given the diminished effectiveness of internal audits compared to external audits, we also recommend the implementation of regular monitoring mechanisms through independent external audits when evaluating risk management practices.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue intelligence in medical education: Typologies and ethical approaches<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Artificial Intelligence (AI) has an increasing role to play in medical education and has great potential to revolutionize health professional education systems overall. However, this is accompanied by substantial questions concerning technical and ethical risks which are of particular importance because the quality of medical education has a direct effect on physical and psychological health and wellbeing. This article establishes an overarching distinction of AI across two typological dimensions, functional and humanistic. As indispensable foundations, these are then related to medical practice overall, and forms of implementation with examples are described in both general and medical education. Increasingly, the conditions for successful medical education will depend on an understanding of AI and the ethical issues surrounding its implementation, as well as the formulation of appropriate guidelines by regulatory and other authorities. Within that discussion, the limits of both narrow or Routine AI (RAI) and artificial general intelligence or Decision AI (DAI) are examined particularly in view of the ethical need for Trustworthy AI (TAI) as part of the humanistic dimension. All stakeholders, from patients to medical practitioners, managers, and institutions, need to be able to trust AI, and loss of confidence could be catastrophic in some cases.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of values and ethics in Ayn Rand’s axiological objectivism<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper presents an analysis and interpretation of axiology and ethics as seen by the writer and philosopher Ayn Rand. The author follows the assumption that, in a situation where indifference is observed with regard to values (cf. Simmel, Sloterdijk), a return of philosophical reasoning to the idea of objectivity of values could be worthwhile. Therefore, he examines a specific type of axiological objectivism that can be found in Rand’s work. In the present paper, the suggested comparison with Baden neo-Kantism as well as phenomenological axiology serves to capture the specifics of Rand’s axiological approach. These lie in placing emphasis on such a relationship between facts and values in which values result from the facts of reality, as well as in the very understanding of the objectivity of values that Rand identifies with long-term life goals and identifies them as an objective necessity for an individual’s life. Following the analysis of Rand’s axiology, the author focuses on her understanding of ethics, which he places in contrast to Kant’s deontology, as well as morality, which he views through the prism of a business relationship based on the exchange of values. The aim of the paper is to, by means of an analysis and interpretation of Rand’s ideas, show that objective values can be understood as a necessary prerequisite for consequential ethics and an individual living a happy life without being anchored in transcendence or social consensus.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of pandemics and disasters within the context of public health ethics and ethics of social consequences<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p><italic>Introduction</italic>: Public health ethics addresses moral dilemmas arising from balancing individual healthcare needs with societal interests. Ethical considerations in public health during pandemics and disasters aim to reduce mortality rates and minimize social injustice through fair principles.</p> <p><italic>Objective</italic>: This paper analyzes public health ethics and ethical values in allocating resources during mass casualty incidents. The intersection of public health ethics, applied bioethics, and ethics of social consequences (through non-utilitarian consequentialism) guides addressing serious public health challenges in catastrophic scenarios. The application of the given interaction is significant for professional medical ethics.</p> <p><italic>Methodology</italic>: The paper employs inductive, deductive, and normative methods of bioethics and the methodology of ethics of social consequences.</p> <p><italic>Conclusion</italic>: The paradigmatic disparity between the bioethics of pandemics and disaster bioethics lies in the fluid application of bioethical principles and the accentuation of utilitarian demands depending on the severity and scale of mass casualty incidents. Applied bioethics in crisis situations respects the approaches of public health ethics and attempts to increase positive social outcomes. The application of (scarce) resource allocation criteria and triage of patients is derived from ethical decisions beneficial to public health and <italic>lege artis</italic> approaches of medical bioethics. The paper presents professional and ethical criteria for medically inappropriate treatment within the framework of patient triage; we approach crisis ethics from the perspective of maximization of benefit. Age is not an exclusion criterion of acute healthcare provision in crisis situations. Ethics of social consequences as a form of non-utilitarian consequentialism allowing for social consequences bridges public health ethics and applied bioethics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Novak’s understanding of capitalism<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper examines the work of Michael Novak, a prominent American philosopher and theologian with roots in Central Europe. The study focuses on Novak’s understanding of democratic capitalism and its role in promoting economic growth and human flourishing. Novak argues that when properly understood and practiced, capitalism can lead to a more just and prosperous society, as it is based on the human desire for freedom, creativity, and self-expression. However, he emphasizes that the success of capitalism depends on the presence of moral and spiritual values, which he believes are necessary for it to function properly. This paper explores Novak’s arguments and evaluates them in the light of current knowledge. It also examines which values Novak deems important and why. The paper concludes that while Novak’s understanding of capitalism has some limitations, it offers valuable insights into the relationship between economics and morality. Novak’s framework provides a starting point for future discussions on how to ensure that capitalism operates ethically and promotes the common good.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue, the and the spirit of scholastic reasoning<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This essay traces a thread between the Novak’s philosophical and theological contribution and the economic and ethical reflection on the <italic>commons</italic>. Although present embryonically, these interconnections have not been taken into consideration so far. This convergence will be presented through three interrelated stages: a sound theological background, Scholastic reasoning and the evolution of the idea of <italic>common goods</italic>. From these points some interesting insights will emerge.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue vision of Caritapolis and perspectives of the future: The high point of Michael Novak’s work<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The pinnacle of the Novak’s reflections on possible perspectives for the future of the world and the development of international relations is his vision of “Caritapolis” (“Civilization of love”), which is presented especially in the book <italic>The universal hunger for liberty – Why the clash of civilizations is not inevitable</italic> (2004a). Novak builds the concept on the religious assumptions and on the minimum level of general belief in basic principles (cultural humility, regulative idea of truth, the dignity of the individual person, solidarity), which he considers to be the key to the world security, prosperity and the democratic future of the globalized world. This “vision for the 21st century” is to contribute to the consideration of a universal civilization that would respect all its internal variations and create a certain unity despite its rich diversity of value and religious ideas. The aim of this paper is to present Novak’s concept of Caritapolis and to evaluate it in terms of context of the social doctrine of the Church, Catholic social thought debates, relevance in the context of debates in the social sciences, especially the theories of international relations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue idea of democracy and the progress of society in the work of Michael Novak: A look at the theory and subsequent development of Michael Novak’s predictions in the context of Central European countries<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>If we want to think about Michael Novak’s contribution to the development of democracy and the progress of society in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, it will be necessary to look at several authors from whom he drew his ideas. With the help of the Italian moralist, Giuseppe Angelini, we will try to explain the historical and contemporary development of the concept of development as understood in the Social Doctrine of the Church and Novak’s commentaries on John Paul II’s encyclicals on progress and development. Novak cites “Aquinas’s forgotten conclusion that social order is based on civil dialogue”. With these reflections, he seeks to build on the work of other prominent American philosophers and political scientists, such as John Courtney Murray, Paul Steidl-Meier, and others, while presenting his vision of economic and social progress for the countries living under the totalitarian regime of the Soviet bloc. The most important ideas here are directed towards notions such as the right to economic initiative and especially a notion of genuine individual freedom in society.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Novak, wealth and virtue: Work, creativity and the poor in democratic capitalism<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The idea of this paper is to discuss the role of virtues in promoting general wellbeing for the common people. This is meant to contribute to the debate about possible linkages between overall wealth and individual character. My main source of inspiration is Michael Novak’s perspectives on the cultural basis for capitalism.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue foundations of Jacques Maritain’s and Michael Novak’s conception of human rights<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The aim of the contribution is to outline the ethical foundations in Maritain’s and Novak’s interpretation of human rights in a wider historical context and to assess its meaning for the present, with special regard to our Central European area. The issue of human rights has, in addition to its political aspect, an inherent ethical one. Fundamental human rights relate to the possibility of autonomy of a person as a moral being endowed with reason and striving for a meaningful life. Therefore, these rights have a fundamental role in practical life; however, they have also become an issue of speculative philosophy and theology, where the focus is upon concepts of freedom and reason. Jacques Maritain and Michael Novak were important figures in the advancement of human rights at the international level, with exceptional impacts especially in Central Europe. Both have their roots in Christian humanism, and for both their concept of human relations is derived from Biblical religion and love for one’s neighbour. Novak accepts Maritain’s concepts of a person and human dignity, and he tries to explain his own concept of democratic capitalism in accordance with it.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Novak’s through “the corporation”<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Many social theorists hold that the corporation is the key institution of the modern world. Novak wrote four books on the corporation, viewing it as the chief instrument of innovation within “democratic capitalism”, and the concrete entity in which its three systems (political, economic, moral-cultural) converge. We look at Novak’s account with its roots in Maritain, and at Novak’s intention to ground this account in the ideals of the American Founding, and in a Christian understanding of grace. “The corporation” turns out to be an excellent pathway into Novak’s thought and a safeguard against some fundamental mistakes in interpreting him.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue overview of Michael Novak’s economic and political theory in the context of his relations with Poland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Michael Novak’s concept of democratic capitalism in Poland aroused great interest for several reasons. The most important of them consisted in its close relation to the teaching of the Polish Pope John Paul II. The second was its temporal coincidence with the start of a political transformation in Poland, when a model of development consistent with Polish tradition and social expectations was sought. The third was related to its Slavic roots and origin, which gained in importance given a perceived civilizational backwardness of the countries belonging to the former socialist bloc. For Polish Catholic thinkers, the concept of democratic capitalism initially seemed to promise a smooth transition to a market economy, protecting society from the shock of a possible collision with predatory capitalism. But the discussions of Michael Novak’s conception which took place in Poland at that time were unfortunately burdened with fears of cultural pluralism and with leaving individuals too much freedom in implementing their own ways of achieving happiness. Polish conservatives, who were in power at that time, did not seem to understand the important need for a dynamic moral and cultural system in a society that was just starting its modernization processes. It is paradoxical, but in these discussions what was most feared was the weakening of religious traditions in Polish society. According to the author, this fear caused distrust of the democratic conception, and especially its moral foundations, which continues to this day. This paper, therefore, also contributes to reflection on to what extent the teachings of John Paul II have been absorbed in Polish conservative circles.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Novak and Maritain: The discussion on the capitalist economy in Catholic thought<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Although Novak recognizes himself as a disciple of Maritain, especially in his thesis on the Christian origins of democracy, the differences between the two in their views on the capitalist economy are evident. However, in his famous book, <italic>The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,</italic> and in other previous works, Novak tries to show some possible bridges between Maritain’s thought and the virtues of American capitalism. This attempt is actually part of a larger project by Novak: that of showing the essential compatibility of Catholicism with capitalism. The purpose of this article is to show, based on Novak’s thought in relation to Maritain, the possibilities and difficulties of this attempt.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue