( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system ofmoral principles: the ethics of a culture.
the rules of conduct recognized in respect to aparticular class of human actions or a particulargroup, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
moral principles, as of an individual: His ethicsforbade betrayal of a confidence.
( usually used with a singular verb ) that branch ofphilosophy dealing with values relating to humanconduct, with respect to the rightness andwrongness of certain actions and to the goodnessand badness of the motives and ends of suchactions.
-web based dictionary
As is common with definitions, further words within the definition also need defining.
Hence: the word moral. What does that mean exactly. At first I think, simply that mean's 'right or wrong' but looking to Wikipedia I see my simplification met with a whole article on morality encouraging one to truly think outside the box of one's own limitted sense of the meaning of the word in today's society. (from wikidictionary)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and those that are bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (for example, according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. The adjective moral is synonymous with "good" or "right." Immorality is the active opposition to morality (i.e. good or right), while amorality is variously defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles.
The morality and ethics of my family, as a smaller unit in a greater community, might include the notion, 'don't kill what you don't eat', 'coupled with cannibalism is frowned on." However as anthropologists have shown us, a family of 'cannibals' don't necessarily share this lofty notion but rather simply their lives by saying it is wholly permissible to kill that which you don't eat, eat that which you kill, and indeed you can eat all but your immediate blood relations.
Further complicating this is the notion of "moral relativism', 'ethnocentricity, and power politics. Einstein showed that the position of an object altered the nature of it's mass, velocity or time relative to another. From this 'scientific hypothesis', arts students jumped to the conclusion that ideas were like the objects of physics and the position of a premise might well alter the positive or negative of a conjuction. Hence to the moral relativists it might be okay to eat one's neighbour on bad days but not good days.
Ethnocentricm was the phenomena whereby a person perceived themselves and their culture as the centre of the universe and showed rather limitted understanding of their neighbours. Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake' was such a statement of ethnocentricity that upset the French masses of history and almost restored cannibalism to that nation which had hopefully shook off that tendency hundreds of years before her reign.
Power politics suggest that while a variety of positions may exist for defining an action if a person has a gun pointed at their head and is being told what to do they are more likely to choose a solution appealing to their immediate master. Marie Antoinette lost her head to a guillotine.
A principle is another 'slippery' word in what might otherwise seem a rather benign definition.
Wikidictionary has this to say about principle:
From Old French principe, from Latin principium (“beginning, foundation”), from princeps (“first”); see prince.
principle (plural principles)
- A fundamental assumption.
- We need some sort of principles to reason from.
- A rule used to choose among solutions to a problem.
- The principle of least privilege holds that a process should only receive the permissions it needs.
- (usually plural) Moral rule or aspect.
- I don't doubt your principles; you are clearly a person of principle.
- It's the principle of the thing; I won't do business with someone I can't trust.
- (physics) A rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
- A fundamental essence, particularly one producing a given quality.
- Many believe that life is the result of some vital principle.
- Cathartine is the bitter, purgative principle of senna. — Gregory.
- (obsolete) A beginning.
- Doubting sad end of principle unsound. — Spenser.
Principle (moral rule) is often confused with principal (most important). Consult both definitions if in doubt.
The confused may care to remember that 'The principal alphabetic principle places A before E' as a reminder of the relative spelling.
- (moral rule or aspect): tenet
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Note that the definition of principle gives rise to the need for translation of 'fundamental assumption', 'rule to solve a problem' and 'moral rule or aspect' and 'rule of nature".
Inherrently then we see the beginning of a circular reasoning in the very definition of ethics and morality because increasingly as we dissect the parts we see subdivisions defined again by the part or whole already believed addressed.
At this point we haven't even got to the individual principles or the rules or morals that might be applied to a group. As a fundamental assumption it might be advantage for cannibals not to eat their children. But given the behaviour of fish this is not necessarily a rule of nature.
More importantly rules and principles and ethics have been shown to have a 'hierarchy'. It follows from this that there is such a thing as 'first principle'.
Clearly the first principles of various philosophies are vastly different. The deconstructionists believed that their first principle was that everything could be deconstructed however their critics demonstrated rather humorously that indeed the first principle of deconstructionism was that everything but deconstructionism can be deconstructed. Faced with deconstruction the deconstructionist said 'this is our God and thou shalt have no other Gods but mine". Opposing philosophers using the tools of deconstructionism deconstructed deconstructionism regardless.
Humanism has argued that 'man is the measure of all things'. In contrast theism has stated that man is a product of the creator. It sounds like a mute point but Gallileo nearly died for suggesting that the Earth revolved about the sun rather than vice versa. To show a judge in his court that he is wrong is to face his wrath almighty when the infantile ego of a judge is fragile and easily threatened by opposing arguments. The same judge might be a rather pleasant and reasonable sort if met in the cafeteria of a psychiatric asylum.
Dr. Johnson, as quoted by Bob Dylan said, "steal a little and they put you in jail, steal alot and they make you king'. As conquerers make the rules the rules serve principally to maintain the status quo and the reformer is anyone who is an enemy of the status quo.
The rules then of groups in a society serve to keep outsiders out and insiders in. Indeed 'secrets' and 'changes of rules' serve to keep those furthest from power identified as such. As one black feminist said, "we got your honky ass so tied up in knots you can't even talk about us without offending while we can call you whatever crackerjack chauvinist name we want to". Cannibals by contrast to modern more complicated and refined society had less appetising ways of resolving disputes about 'whose in, and whose out' , the courtly questions that amused King Lear and his daughter Cordelia.
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy. It also includes the study of the more commonplace questions of values ("the ethics of the ordinary") which arise in primary care and other branches of medicine. (Wikipedia)
I won't even begin to define these 'controversial' terms here or get into a discussion of what is ordinary to a schizophrenic homeless person as opposed to dilletante judge who only uses cocaine 'recreationally'..
Bioethics purports then to address the questions which a patient or physician might encounter and philosophise about. Indeed philosophy itself is an arm chair monday morning quarter back profession that serves to 'criticize' deeds of others. Ideally, with the assumption, even the fundamental assumption, that an ounce of prevention can save a pound of cure. The study of bioethics might well equip a physician or patient better for their mutual dance with the reality of life and death decisions, a reality infinitely far from classrooms, court rooms and academic discusions which usually focus only on sex and money. .
Having studied logic in undergraduate school and learned the nature of rhetoric and fallacies in later education I personally found that it was immensely beneficial to have this knowledge for my own edification as it helped me appreciate the extent of illogicality among those who would claim to be most rational. Indeed the field of psychiatry developed in some ways to explore scientifically the failings of philosophy especially the rationalist explanations of the day.
Psychiatry has been creditted with the invention of the conscious and unconscious. Many philosophers remain as unconscious of psychiatry today as they are unenlightened by religions. Philosophy has been called secular religion and ethics the rituals deprived of incense.
Having read many books on bioethics, attended conferences and listened to ethics philosophers I have personally been impressed by their arrogance. I have reflected on why these wordsmiths have so often sauntered with such surety and certainty when mortals such as myself quiver before the disease of nature, the tears of patients and the irrational politics of man.
So much of philosophy is an after thought that sounds so like the confabulations of the demented. The bioethicists in a committee hide behind the collective unity of a group believing in the superiority of a committee decision themselves, never having studied the dynamics of 'group' behaviour or how even sunlight alone can affect trade on global stock exchange. Being a member of a committee makes it easier to plan parties and make shopping lists while others talk about you. Words like deniability and due diligence supplant such outdated concepts as accountability.
But one must tread softly before the fragile egos of philosophers today. Administrations are toppling everywhere in the Dessert Spring that overturned the middle east and tyranny and it's Goebbels proponents are in terror screaming as Kurtz once did "the horror, the horror". Kurt Vonnegut in his earth shattering novel Gallipagos has the world as we know it ending because of a random gene error on a strand of DNA and the tendency of politicians to eat so much, especially at lunch, that their decision making is severely impaired in the afternoon.
Psychiatry finally is defined:
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities. The term was first coined by the Germanphysician Johann Christian Reil in 1808, and literally means the 'medical treatment of the mind' (psych-: mind; fromAncient Greek psykhē: soul; -iatry: medical treatment; from Gk. iātrikos: medical, iāsthai: to heal). A medical doctor specializing in psychiatry is a psychiatrist.
What becomes excruciatingly tedious is that philosophers in general argue over the existence of the brain, routinely deny the existence of a soul, and certainly are not in any agreement about the existence of the mind. This leaves it impossible for them to agree on mental disorders, the very concept of abnormality, given the morality of the normal, and whether, what and when treatment is needed. This is further complicated by Psychology that upstart branch of Philosophy which clincally can always refer dangerously difficult patient to a psychiatrist thereby passing the buck and like a committee escaping accountability while physicians and especially psychiatrists breathe sleep and eat accountability, the latter only if they are not a blood relation.
Finally psychiatric bio ethics is limited by the stupidity or genius of the year 2012. This is the year of the Chinese Dragon, two centuries at least since philosophers killed Jesus, long after Buddha ran away from Maya and Mohammed spoke for Allah. No physician could heal the Healer's wounds. Jesus was indeed told "physician heal thyself". Socrates, pressaging Christ, drank the hemlock given him by the State committee. Buddha at least knew virgins galore, seeming a rather sated baccanalian, compared with Mohammed who still lusted for jehad.
The Mayan Calendar said the world would end in 2012. All hope lay with the Mars expedition, the Moon havin losts its romance. Fetus killing patriarchal Chinese Intelligence outsmarts sterile Matriarchal Western Intelligence still searching for the sperm of Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange, since Clintons was reclaimed from Monica's sweater.
War is daily imminent/eminent. Israel threatens to invade Iran, 'the best defence is an offence'. Political boundaries are membranous as ideas. Power dictates new philosophies and sometimes just sprays Febreeze on the old. Cannibals are hungry. In Canada we are facing austerity.
The latest "info entertainment" facebook video shows children armed with AK47's.
Hallelujah! Praise Plato and pass the ammunition.
So begins Psychiatric Bioethics 2012.