Ethics, culture and relativism: February 17, 2016, 8:40 pm
Some reflections on teaching medical ethics in contemporary Sri Lanka
By S. N. Arseculeratne, R. Simpson,
P. D. Premasiri, P. V. R. Kumarasiri
Continued from yesterday
SNA thanks the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka, for a research grant, and RS thanks the Wellcome Trust UK, for financial support.
1. This paper is the first of a pair of papers dealing with questions of relativism and cultural context.
2. The Tower of Babel described in Genesis 11 : 1-10 of the Bible was intended to reach from earth to Heaven but its construction was prevented when God introduced different languages to those who were building the tower. Therefore is the name of it called Babel because there did the Lord confound the language of all the earth and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of the earth?.
3. The Buddhist King Buddhadasa who lived in the fourth century in Sri Lanka, is credited in the Pali chronicle literature with the administering of a cure through surgery and medication, on the abscess suffered by a snake. (Culavamsa Chapter 37, vv. 112 - 121)
4. It is important to note that, in ancient times, responsibility for health and well-being was made explicit in Buddhist notions of a just political order. It is the duty of the ideal universal monarch, the Chakkavatti ruler to provide watch, ward and protection to humans as well as to birds and beasts (Chakkavattisinanada Sutta, Diganikaya). The Buddhist emperor Asoka of India adopted this as a policy in his state as indicated in his rock edicts. Asoka’s edicts say that everywhere in the lands conquered by Asoka "Two systems of cure, cure for men and cure for brutes" were instituted and herbs useful for men and brutes were planted (Piyadasi Inscriptions, Kalsi Edict II, edited and published by Ranavatara Sarma, Muradpur Patna 1915).
Ahmad Aasim. Culture and ethics. In: Basic and Advanced Bioethics Workshop. Colombo 2007.
An-Na’im, Abdullahi A. Does culture matter? Resource manual International Human Rights Training Propgram – CHRF. 2005: 48 – 50..
Arseculeratne, S. N. & Babapulle, C. J. New approaches to teaching of medical ethics to Sri Lankan medical undergruaduates. Colloque Science, ethique et societe, UNESCO, Paris, 1996, 9 – 14.
Arseculeratne, S. N. The Faculty of Medicine. In: The University system of Sri Lanka. K. M. de Silva & G. H. Peiris (eds). Kandy,
ICES Kandy, Sri Lanka. 1995., 166 - 181
Baker, R. "Balkanising bioethics". American Journal of Bioethics.
2003, 3: 13 – 14.
Beauchamp, T. I. & Childress, J. Principles of bioethics , 3rd edition,
New York, Oxford University Press, 1989.
Deepadung A. The interactions between Thai Traditional Medicine and Western medicine in Thailand. In : Transcultural dimensions in medical ethics. E. D. Pellegrino,& P. Mazarella Corso (eds).,
Maryland, Frederick, 1992, 197: 212.
Fernando, Anoja. Teaching ethics and Humanities to medical students: A multicultural approach. IAB, Bejing. 2006. In: Eubios Journal of Asian International Bioethics. May 2007. (abstract)
Fox, R. & Swazey, J. Medical morality is not bioethics. L Medical ethics in China and the United States. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 1984, 27: 336 – 360.
Francis, C. M. Medical Ethics. New Delhi, Jaypee. 1993.
Geertz, C. Anti anti-relativism. American Anthropologist, 1984, 86:
263 – 278. Hall, Vance. D. 1985. Western ethics confronting Eastern societies. (unpublished lecture) University of Malaya, Kuala Luumpur. Jasanoff, S. (Ed). States of knowledge. The co-production of science and social order. London, Routledge, 2004.
Jonsen, A. R. A short history of Bioethics. New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.
Kleinman, A. Writing at the margins: Discourse between Anthropology and Medicine. Berkeley, University of California
Lock, M. Twice Dead. Organ transplantation and the reinvention of death. Berkeley, University of Califoirnia Press. 2002.
Macklin, R. Against Relativism. Cultural diversity and the search for ethical universals in Medicine, Oxford, Oxford Unive4rsity
Maozam, Farhat. Families, patients and physicians in medical decision making. A Pakistani perspective. Hastings Centre
Report. 2002: 30(6); 28 – 37.
Nowotny, H., Scot, P., and Gibbons. Re-thinking science: Knowledge and the public image in an Age of Uncertainty.
Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2001.
Paranavitana, S. Medicine and Hygiene as practiced in ancient Ceylon. The Ceylon Historical Journal, 1954: 123 – 135.
Pellagrino, Edward D. Prologue. Interactions of Western biomedical ethics and world cultures. In: Edward D. Pellagrino, Mazarella,
Patricia & Corsi, Pietro (Eds.): Transcultural Dimensions in Medical Ethics, Maryland, Frederick: 1992; 13 – 20.
Pickstone, J. V. Innovation, Diverse knowledges and the presumed singularity of science. In: H. Nowotny (ed): Cultures of technology and the Quest for Innovation. Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2006.
Premasiri, P. D. Indian religions – Theravada Buddhism. In: Panel Discussion on religion and morality: Regional training workshop on Medical Ethics. Medical Education Unit, University Peradeniya & Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Norway, Hotel Tourmaline, Kandy. 1996.
Rawls, K. Political Liberalism. New York, Colombia Press, 1993.
Sakamoto, H. A Challenge to the Concept of Human Rights and human dignity. Journal Internationale de bioethique, 2002: 13;
23 – 30.
Simpson, B. Acting ethically, Responding culturally: Framing the new reproductive and genetic technologies in Sri Lanka. Asia
Pacific Journal of Anthropology: 2004. 5; 227 – 243. Takebe, H. Bridging the Gap. Odyssey, 2000: 6; 8 – 9.
Turner, L. Bioethics in a multicultural world: Medicine and Morality in Pluralistic settings. Health Care Analysis. 2003: 11;
99 – 117.
Uragoda, C. G. A History of Medicine in Sri Lanka. Colombo; Sri Lanka Medical Association.1987.
Veatch, R. M. Abandoning Informed Consent. Hastings Centre
Report. March-April: 1995; 5 – 12.
Volpe, P. R. The triumph of autonomy in American Bioethics. In:
R. de Vries & J. Subedi (Eds.) Bioethics and Society: Constructing the ethical enterprise. 1998: 38 – 59. New Jersey,
WMA. The Declaration of Helsinki. http//www/ e/ policy/ b3/htm. 2000
The results/data from this survey were published as a second paper in Biomedical Law & Ethics, 2008, 2(2): 211 – 237. Centres of ethical gravity: A comparison of responses to contemporary biomedical dilemmas among young people in Sri Lanka and England. P. V. R. Kumarasiri, S. N. Arseculeratne, P. D. Premasiri, B. Simpson.
Twenty questions covered:- Terminal illness, Termination of pregnancy, Euthanasia and assisted suicide, Animal welfare, New reproductive technologies, Infertility treatments and assisted reproduction, Doctors and their patients, Attitudes towards drugs and medicine, Organ transplantation.
No breaking news available.