Institute for Science and Ethics
This project was funded by the Oxford Martin School and ran from June 2005 until September 2012.
The new biosciences (Stem Cell Science, Cloning, Artificial Reproduction and New Genetics) are paradigmatic of current technological advance; they raise immediate and unprecedented challenges for humanity in the 21st century. Offering opportunities for great benefit to people and significant economic development, the new biosciences also present significant risks and raise profound questions about what it is to be a human person, how our lives should go and the nature and scope of our obligations to present and future generations.
ISE addressed 3 central questions:
- What limits should we place on research, development and use of the new biosciences?
- How should unethical research, development and use of the new biosciences be prevented?
- How should ethical research, development and use of the new biosciences be facilitated?
By providing a new model for research:
- Identifying and analysing the ethical issues involved in current and near-future scientific advances from a broad interdisciplinary perspective (medicine, science, ethics, humanities, social sciences, especially psychology)
- Promoting professional and public understanding and debate, from an engaging, non-partisan, open position
- Creating a new and constructive relationship between science, medicine and ethics
- Providing policy and legal recommendations, also resources for human research ethics committees
- Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement, Persson, I & Savulescu, J. (OUP 2012)
- Religion, Intolerance and Conflict: A Scientific and Conceptual Investigation, Clarke, S., Powell, R., and Savulescu, J. (eds.) xviii & 282 pp. (OUP, 2013)
- The Neuroethics of Love, Savulescu, J. & Earp, B., monograph (2013) in discussion with publishers
- The Justification of Religious, Violence Clarke, S., (Wiley-Blackwell 2014 publication)
- Enhancing Human Capacities, Savulescu, J., Ter Meulen, R. and Kahane, G. eds. (Wiley- Blackwell, 2011)
- Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Levy, N., viii & 229 pp. (OUP 2011)
- Human Enhancement, Savulescu, J. and Bostrom N. eds. (OUP, 2009)
- Neuroethics, Levy, N., xiv & 346 pp. (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
- The Moral Obligation to Create Children with the Best Chance of the Best Life, Savulescu, J. & Kahane, G., Bioethics (2009). Publisher’s most downloaded article in 2011 (3000 downloads); most cited Bioethics article 2009-2010; 3rd most accessed Bioethics article 2010.
- A Liberal Account of Addiction, Foddy, B. & Savulescu, J., Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol: 17(1) pp 1 – 22 (2010). Subject of three commentaries and fourth most downloaded article in Sept. 2011.
- Addiction and Autonomy: Can Addicted People Consent to the Prescription of Their Drug of Addiction?‘ Foddy, B. & Savulescu, J., Bioethics 20(1):1-15 (2006). Second highest accessed Bioethics article 2006-07; offers a novel theory of addiction.
- Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias, Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. & Hewstone, M., Psychopharmacology. 222(3):419-24 (2012). Ranked #1 as the most discussed/mentioned paper in the neurosciences for 2012 by Springer’s Neurostars. [open access]
- The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement, Kahane, G., Wiech, K., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu, J., & Tracey, I., Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 4: 393-402 (2012) [open access]
- Savulescu, J. (2006) Conscientious Objection in Medicine, BMJ 332:294-297. One of the first articles to argue against conscientious objection.
- Neuroimaging and the Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment from Patients in Vegetative State, Skene, L., Wilkinson, D., Kahane, G., & Savulescu, J. Medical Law Review. 17: 245-261 (2009) [open access]
- The Perils of Cognitive Enhancement and the Urgent Imperative to Enhance the Moral Character of Humanity, Persson, I. & Savulescu, J., Journal of Applied Philosophy 25(3):162-177 (2008). This article launched the field of Moral Enhancement.
- Counterfactual Intervention and Agents’ Capacities Levy, N., Journal of Philosophy 105: 223-239 (2008)
- SIM and the City: Rationalism in Psychology and Philosophy and Haidt's Account of Moral Judgment, Clarke, S., Philosophical Psychology, 21, 799-820 (2008)
- Paternalism, Consent and the Use of Experimental Drugs in the Military, Wolfendale, J. and Clarke, S., Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 33, pp. 337-355 (2008). To be excerpted in Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Clinical Research: Readings and Commentary, 2nd Edition, edited by E. J. Emanuel & others, Johns Hopkins University Press (forthcoming)
- Savulescu, J., & Sandberg, A. (2008). Neuroenhancement of love and marriage: The chemicals between us. Neuroethics, 1(1), 31-44
- Reducing Religious Conflict (Oxford, 2012), 2 day high-profile international and interdisciplinary conference.
- The Mechanisms of Self-Control: Lessons from Addiction (Oxford, 2010) brought together leading thinkers in neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry and philosophy to explore and advance understanding of the mechanisms of self-control and the way in which they are weakened in addiction.
- Does religion Lead to Tolerance or Intolerance? Perspectives from Across the Disciplines (2010); 3 day international conference including such high-profile speakers as Richard Dawkins & Patricia Churchland.
- Bioprediction (Washington DC, 2010) collaboration with Duke University and LSE, involving leading clinicians, social scientists, neuroscientists, lawyers and ethicists. Focus was on whether biological information (‘biomarkers’ from latest technologies) can aid predictions of misconduct, future delinquency and crime.
- Human Enhancement: What Should Be Permitted? Brocher Symposium (Geneva, 2009) 21 invited speakers from 8 countries representing disciplines of philosophy, bioethics, sociology, sports medicine, public health and medical science
- Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Oxford 2010) collaborative workshop with Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and Ethox Centre to explore ethical and regulatory issues emerging with the introduction of ‘DTC’ tests by companies such as deCODE Genetics, 23andME and DNADiect.
- Organism and Machine: The Conceptual and Normative Challenges of Synthetic Biology (Copenhagen, 2010) collaborative workshop with University of Copenhagen bringing together interdisciplinary experts including evolutionary biology, medicine, bioethics, philosophy of science. Explored the conceptual, theoretical and ethical dimensions of the machine-organism distinction.
- A Consortium Approach to Ethical and Values Issues in Emerging Technologies (Oxford, 2010) ISE workshop held at request of the University of Texas.
- The Possibility of Religious-Secular Ethical Engagement (Oxford, 2012) series of public debates: Ethics of Abortion; Ethics of Euthenasia (Savulescu and Charles Camosy)
- The Value of Life (Oxford 2013) landmark public debate between two of the most prominent ethicists of our time, Jeff McMahan (Rutgers University) and John Broome (White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford)
- Ethics, Equipoise and Research on Charged Particle Therapy (Oxford, 2011)
- Commodifying Carbon: The Ethics of Markets in Nature (Oxford, 2007) collaboration with ECI.
- Genetics and Social Justice Conference, Oxford (2007)
- Ethics and Infectious Diseases, Oxford (2007) which came out of ISE’s strong relationship with EI and resulted in a special issue of the new journal Ethics and Public Health, a book and grant proposals
- ENHANCE: The Ethics of Human Enhancement, IAB Satellite Conference, 8th World Congress of Bioethics, Beijing (2006).
- Human Nature and Bioethics conference (City University, Hong Kong, 2007) included such leading speakers as Jonathan Glover (King’s College, London), Jeff McMahan (Rutgers), John Harris (Manchester), Dan Brock (Harvard), Dan Wikler (Harvard), Ingmar Persson (Göteborg), Jo Wolff (University College, London)