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Dark Medicine: Rationalizing Unethical Medical Research by William R. LaFleur, Gernot Böhme, Susumu Shimazono

By William R. LaFleur, Gernot Böhme, Susumu Shimazono

The trial of the "German medical professionals" uncovered atrocities of Nazi scientific technological know-how and resulted in the Nuremberg Code governing human experimentation. In Japan, Unit 731 conducted hideous experiments on captured chinese language and downed American pilots. within the usa, tales linger of organic experimentation in the course of the Korean warfare. This choice of essays appears on the darkish scientific examine carried out in the course of and after global battle II. individuals describe this examine, the way it used to be dropped at mild, and the rationalizations of these who perpetrated and benefited from it.

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Extra info for Dark Medicine: Rationalizing Unethical Medical Research (Bioethics and the Humanities)

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Shaw long before this event. He calls the doctors fanatics and sorcerers who demand that the striving for scienti¤c knowledge, even when employing the cruellest methods, must be completely free from moral laws and who claim that they could make man immune from all illness if only they were given unlimited power over our bodies. (Vorwahl 1931, 7[5]:458) 34 Andreas Frewer Vorwahl went on to quote a large number of examples that had instigated debates regarding the boundaries of science. The criticisms reported range from the rejection of sexual provocation of volunteers in studies on “psychoanalytic psychotechnique,” through notions of inseminating female chimpanzees with human sperm in the natural manner, to hypothetical experiments on decapitated subjects in plans of the psychiatrist Hoche.

The point here is not to simply call to mind the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but rather to read these atrocities as events relevant for the development of morality. Second, what would it mean for ethical theory to take these experiences seriously? Since arguments based on ethics were indeed given in defense of Nazi barbarities, some sort of transformation has to occur within ethics itself. This is required by our topic. Third, what does it mean for praxis, be it in life research or in medicine today, that such crimes against humanity are in our history?

The most unsettling aspect of their actions precisely is this: These physicians and scientists, by and large, had no sense of perpetrating injustices. And yet, the factual result of their behavior, notwithstanding their rationalizations, is so patently inhuman and criminal that the formulation “unethical research” appears in fact quite adequate. The ¤rst consequence we have to draw from the above is therefore that the moral intuitions, which allow the events in the Third Reich to appear as criminal, need to be taken seriously.

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