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Key objectives of the program

The overarching aim of the program is to elaborate an ethics of bodily giving and sharing in medicine. The program consists of nine projects, which together contribute the following key objectives:

  • To highlight tensions in conceptions and reasoning about giving, sharing, altruism, autonomy and exploitation within scholarly work on live organ, tissue, gamete or blood donation, surrogacy and clinical research.
  • To analyze the concepts of bodily giving and sharing, distinguishing these from related concepts such as selling.
  • To examine the extent to which contemporary gift theories can make sense of these different forms of bodily giving and address gift-giving between family-members, friends, and strangers (including the case of donation to celebrities).
  • To investigate the potential analytic gain of a phenomenological explication of the gift metaphor that takes into account the implication of embodiment and intersubjectivity for bodily giving in this area.
  • To examine different understandings of autonomy, altruism, exploitation and moral responsibility in ways that acknowledges relational dimensions of the self and sheds light on the identified tensions
  • To both acknowledge that bodily giving can be seen as positive and indeed as an ethical gesture and examine possible ethical limits to such giving.

 Theoretically, the programme takes an interdisciplinary approach. It engages with analytic moral and political philosophy and phenomenology – and explicitly seek to overcome the gap that sometimes exist between these philosophical strands for the benefit of the ethical analysis of bodily giving – while also drawing on and discussing work on giving, sharing, altruism, autonomy and exploitation from within medical anthropology, sociology, theological ethics, and feminist theory. Some of the projects in the program are more theoretically and others more empirically oriented. The program therefore includes methodological approaches that involve moving back and forth between particular concerns and arguments about a certain phenomenon and general ethical and philosophical theories in an effort to reach better understanding at both levels of discourse, phenomenological explication, argumentation analysis, combined philosophical and qualitative analyses of interviews, and textual analysis of media discussions.

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Last updated: Sun Jun 14 16:29:30 CEST 2015