ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

EthicsSubscribe to Ethics

Taking Human Rights Seriously

The appointment of the new NHRC chairperson raises several questions.

Setting Forth Stages in Gandhi’s Journey

Gandhi and the Contemporary World edited by Sanjeev Kumar, India: Routledge, 2020; pp 252, ₹ 995 (hardback).

A Multidimensional Approach to Human Ecology

Understanding Human Ecology: Knowledge, Ethics and Politics by Geetha Devi T V, Routledge, Oxon and New York, 2019; pp xii + 227, ₹ 695.00.

Harvard’s Trolley Problem

The most troublesome of questions, the relationship between intellectuals, truth and truthfulness is discussed. The site for the investigation is Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (truth), and the case discussed is Harvard’s long association with the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, convicted for paedophilia but whose relationship with Harvard continued long after the conviction. Using the details described in the report of the internal committee, it is argued that a huge gulf exists between the intellectual’s ideal of “speaking truth to power,” the illusion, and the practice of complicity, falsehood and co-option by power, the reality. The analytical method advocated is the “trolley problem,” which is used to highlight the difficulty of moral choices.

India’s ‘Three Pest Campaign’

Over the last few years, the central government has declared certain species of wild animals as “vermin” in some states, thus allowing uncontrolled hunting of these animals. This removal of protection raises serious concerns with respect to its legality, constitutionality, and ethics. An analysis of notifications declaring species as vermin shows that this was done in an arbitrary manner without any scientific assessments. There is thus a clear need to review the manner in which wild animals were declared as vermin.

Diminishing Values

The Tata Group, which claims to be among India’s most prestigious and ethical corporate conglomerates, has become embroiled in controversies relating to two housing projects. The projects being set up by Tata Value Homes and Tata Housing in north India diminish the group’s claim to the moral high ground.

Ethics in Ambedkar’s Critique of Gandhi

Among the political thinkers of modern India, Gandhi and Ambedkar have elicited an intellectual enthusiasm among scholars who remain arrested in debates on the pre-eminence of one thinker over the other. The Ambedkarite critique of Gandhi is centred on the latter’s fast unto death in opposition to the MacDonald Award of separate electorates for Dalits. Formalistic readings of Gandhi are not in the interest of the robust, associative and inclusive intellectual tradition at the core of Ambedkar’s emancipatory project. Ambedkar was a pathfinder who chose critique as a method of ethical persuasion to gently pull in and retain members of caste society in the interlocutory framework of conversation.

Secularism and Religious Violence in Hinduism and Islam

This article underlines the need to move beyond the exhausted notion of all religions preaching peace to studying the specific manner in which violence is legitimised in each religion. This is the first step liberal secularists need to take if they plan to mount a successful challenge to the dominance of the Hindu right.

Ethical Challenges in Public Health Research

The eighth Krishna Raj Memorial lecture by Eric Suba, held recently, was based on the visual inspection with acetic acid test for cervical cancer trials held in India and the lack of ethics they involved. Research that uses the absence of care as the foundation of its trial design is exploitative research that violates the rights of its participants who put their faith in researchers to protect them from harm.

Murky Waters of Medical Practice in India

Pervasive greed in contemporary medical practice does not spare even the poorest of the patients. Medical expenses are now considered one of the major triggers of impoverishment in the country. A rapid influx of advanced technologies in areas ranging from drug discovery to diagnostics has generated a greater reliance on assistive technology by the practitioners of modern, Western medicine transforming patients into cases and physicians into technocrats. This paper is a contribution to the ongoing debate on the quality and standards of medical practice in India. It challenges the argument that markets can bring out the optimum in healthcare and shows how market forces have, in fact, militated against patient interests.

Code of Ethics for Health Research

Social science research involves certain vital ethical issues - respect for all those involved in research, their rights and protection. Ensuring ethics in research, as the ethical guidelines seek to do, would help complement research, rather than hinder it. A debate on the draft code of ethics held in May 2000 sought to evolve a consensus among researchers across the country. These initial steps would help fill long-perceived lacunae as well as seek to resolve ethical dilemmas plaguing researchers.
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