lunes, 28 de junio de 2010
miércoles, 23 de junio de 2010
jueves, 17 de junio de 2010
El filosofo Peter Singer recientemente preguntó en un blog si el mundo sería mejor si la nuestra fuera la última generación. Singer se estaba refiriendo a la obra de David Benatar, “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence” en la cual se plantea que la existencia no se justifica nunca. Vivir es sufrir. Una visión muy oriental, muy budista, pero compartida por muchas personas según se observa de los comentarios que sus lectores hicieron.
Otro numeroso grupo de comentaristas afirmaban la vida y la existencia, sin negar que vivir incluye el sufrir, pero consideran sin embargo, que es mejor existir que no existir.
Sin duda hay épocas propensas al pesimismo y al nihilismo. Épocas en el que las personas no ven propósito a sus vidas o salidas a sus problemas – individuales o colectivos – y se rinden en la búsqueda de sentido. Quizás este sea uno de esos períodos.
Afortunadamente todavía hay muchos individuos que creen que a la vida se le puede dar un sentido, un propósito y que esto hace que la vida, la existencia, aun con el sufrimiento que implica, es valiosa y merece ser vivida plenamente.
Thirteen years ago, when I started writing this column for America, two of my early offerings dealt with the strategic function of conscience in our ethical lives. As the years have gone by, and especially during the past year with its increased polarization of moral positions in church and society, I am more convinced than ever that we need a clear understanding of just what conscience is and how it functions.
Although there is a range of opinions concerning what conscience is—from an inner voice, a feeling or a sense of shame to the internalized values of parents or culture—I propose that the most effective account is the one offered by St. Thomas Aquinas: Conscience is a particular kind of judgment, a moral judgment, by which we apply our knowledge of good and evil to practical action.
A conscience may be certain, but that does not mean it is correct.
As a practical moral judgment, conscience takes the form: “I ought to do X.” Aquinas points out that when I make such a judgment, I should follow it. But acting on my conscience is not enough. Like any other kind of judgment—business, artistic, scientific or athletic—we base our moral judgments not only on principles but on evidence, data and information. A judgment made without data, evidence or information is a foolish one indeed. Thus, Aquinas thought it is as important to inform one’s conscience properly as it is to follow it. If I refuse to look at evidence or information in forming my moral judgment, I am actually refusing to act morally.
It is this second point that seems most neglected in ethical discourse today. There is little doubt that various religions, nation states and philosophies hold different ethical principles. But whether one’s principles are based on duty, the will of God, submission to Allah, happiness, liberty or the common good, such principles are empty if they are not applied to the specifics of evidence, information and data.
Unfortunately, it is the resistance to evidence and information that marks so much of our present moral discourse. That is why the “marketplace” of ideas, or the “public square” has become so segmented and rigid.
In the world of politics and media, we find an increasing segmentation not only of markets but of convictions as well. Information is edited and selected to conform to the conviction of the viewer or the voter. Thus, information no longer informs or challenges one’s moral judgement; it only confirms opinion, whether that opinion is warranted or not. Spend one evening comparing the programs offered by MSNBC and Fox News. Compare Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz with Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Whom do they ridicule? What is their presumed moral universe? What information do they never consider? If we listen to only one side of these polarities, we are not forming our judgment, we are propagandizing it.
No matter what the issue, competing ideologies offer plenty of moral judgments; but there is little willingness to address data or information offered by the opposition. Undocumented immigration, tax reform, the Free Gaza movement, the Gulf Coast oil disaster, the financial crisis, all generate fierce opinion. But it is almost impossible to find any polarized antagonist willing to examine carefully data or arguments that challenge ideology.
In the church, things are just as segmented. I regularly receive messages by e-mail from the right and left. Both sides seem totally certain, but they are also totally ignorant of the arguments and evidence on the other side. As Aquinas would say, a conscience may be certain; but that does not mean it is correct. So think of the issues: abortion, global warming, President Obama, the health care bill, immigration reform, the wars in the Persian Gulf. Do you find any true engagement of the issues? Or do you find only assertions?
As for those who aspire to form the consciences of Catholic believers, they too must do more than make pronouncements. They must engage the evidence and data offered by those who dissent from their opinion.
To refuse to inspect hostile data or listen to challenging information is to reveal a conscience that has capitulated to ideology.
If a nation or church forms its people to accept assertions blindly, without supporting evidence, it will form a community not of moral agents but of menaces. They may be sincere, but they will be sincerely dangerous.
John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., is a professor of philosophy at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.
lunes, 14 de junio de 2010
lunes, 7 de junio de 2010
El proceso llamado anaforismo, establece la conexión entre poemas, antipoemas, artefactos, chistes, ecopoemas, sermones, etc. A través de los rasgos de la anáfora muestra diversos grados de realización. Los ejemplos de este diálogo entre textos son numerosísimos y las modalidades varias: transformación, imitación, continuación, caricatura, condensación, amplificación (Genette, 1986), pero todas ellas poseen el signo de la repetición o, vuelta de un elemento (frase, oración, verso, palabra) que establece o envía al texto precedente.
ANAFORISMO: si es necedad de necios tratar de convencer a otro necio, ¿es sabiduría de sabios tratar de convencer a otro sabio?
domingo, 6 de junio de 2010
Recientemente en la India nacieron unos gemelos, hijos de una pareja alemana pero de un vientre indio rentado. Los niños Nikolas y Leonard Balaz se encontraron sin documentos de identidad nacional y atorados en la India. La India no reconoce la nacionalidad india a los hijos de una madre india subrogada y Alemania tampoco les otorga la nacionalidad a los hijos genéticos de sus nacionales nacidos de un vientre extranjero.
Después de un largo proceso judicial, la familia Balaz logró resolver el problema legal y obtuvieron las visas necesarias para poder regresar con sus hijos a su país, Alemania.
Asimismo, un creciente número de parejas de hombres homosexuales acuden a ese país para obtener la renta de un vientre materno y así obtener un hijo natural, genéticamente propio.
El gobierno de la India hasta hace poco no se inmiscuía en esta novedosa situación, pero recientemente ha comenzado a regular este nuevo comercio. ¿Qué efectos tendrá esta nueva regulación? ¿Serán mayormente positivos o al contrario, sus efectos serán mayormente negativos? ¿Reconocer, permitir y regular este tipo de comercio de personas es moral y es ético?
Sin duda, los avances técnicos en los métodos reproductivos nos plantean cada día mayores dilemas morales, éticos y jurídicos.
La India es un país que por sus características demográficas (1,200 millones de habitantes) y económicas (un ingreso de 1,000 dólares per cápita al año) se ha convertido en la meca de quienes desean obtener un bebe de un vientre subrogado. El costo de obtener un bebe propio de un vientre rentado es una quinta parte del costo en los Estados Unidos, es decir unos 20,000 dólares en la India. La mujer que renta su vientre recibe alrededor de 7,500 dólares, razón por la que existen muchas candidatas para escoger.
Si las nuevas regulaciones de la India dificultan la renta de vientres, esta actividad se trasladará a la informalidad y la ilegalidad o bien a otros países que no pongan obstáculos a una actividad que tiene una creciente demanda y sin duda una creciente oferta. Pero aun así, cabe preguntarse sobre la moralidad de tal actividad y la prudencia de tal regulación.
Surrogate Motherhood in India, Ethical and Moral Implications
Is surrogacy ethical? Is outsourcing surrogacy to developing countries ethical? Though on its most fundamental level, surrogate motherhood can be interpreted as an economic transaction, the reality is far more complex due to the degree of intimacy involved. On top of the basic economics of the situation are layers of emotional complexity, rights of bodily autonomy, and unaddressed questions of women’s rights in developing countries. Each of these topics will be briefed below, and explored in greater depth on additional pages of this website.
Exploitation vs. Empowerment:
Question: Is surrogacy an act of dehumanization or empowerment for the poor women who agree to the procedure? Is this exploitation or opportunity?
Arguments: Critics of outsourcing surrogacy argue that payment for bodily services dehumanizes the surrogate mother and exploits her reproductive organs and capability for personal gain of the wealthy. Books such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale depict dystopic worlds where child-making is performed by mass incubators (Huxley) and subjugated handservants (Atwood). Dr. John Lantos from the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City is one of strongest opposers to outsourcing surrogacy: he argues that the practice only raises the risk of baby farms in developing countries, compounded by the possibility that increasing competition among clinics will compromise safety measures for these Indian women.1
Supporters of surrogacy, however, highlight the overwhelming economic opportunities for these women in light of their educational background and social circumstances. Interviews with these women generally result in optimistic correspondences, with women expressing positive outlooks on buying a home, educating their children, or paying off debt. If surrogacy contracts are transparent and surrogate mothers are protected by adequate laws, then one could argue that shifting the income generation to mothers does lead to empowerment. Evidence for this viewpoint could stem from the case of microfinance and Mohammad Yunus, where microloans to female heads of families resulting in a positive case of general community development.
Reproductive Autonomy vs. Coercion
Question: How much control do these women have over their bodies and reproductive capacities? Is there evidence of coercion by family members or in-laws?
Arguments: Feminists might argue that equal rights for women means giving women autonomy to choose for themselves, to choose their lifestyle, sexual, and reproductive freedom. With that premise in mind, telling a woman that hosting a surrogate pregnancy dehumanizes her just imposes a new form of paternalism. Why not let each woman choose for herself?
In addition, arguments based on democracy posit the need for reproductive freedom and procreative liberty, of the negative right of interference by government on matters of personal choice. Along these lines, the silence of the Indian government is in line with values of democracy, with ethical guidelines advocating for a woman’s autonomy to choose her own reproductive rights.
The counterargument to this construct dwells on the concept of choice. How much choice does a poor women in India really have? With four or five children, an absent husband, elders to care for, and limited educational opportunities, does this woman really embody the feminists’ idea of choice? How can we know whether or not her husband or intimate partner forced her to “volunteer” her services? The patrilineal marriage system in India may grant substantial influence to mother-in-laws in pressuring these women to undertake surrogacy arrangements. Currently, community stigma against surrogate mothers forces many women to live in temporary apartments or keep their pregnancies secret.2 One woman tells people that she is bearing a child for a relative.3 In this scenario, the existence of voluntary choice is debatable, if not arguably invalid.
The ethical debate on surrogacy has often looked to religious roots and cultural backgrounds in search of an answer. One of the first ancient references to infertility occurs in Genesis, when Jacob’s wife, like many of her Biblical peers, was unable to bear a child. After praying to God and begging her husband, she sends Jacob “unto” her maid and then adopts the resulting child as her own. Sara did likewise, sending Abraham to her maid Hagar, saying, “I shall obtain children by her.”4
It is often difficult to disassociate the influence of distinctly religious factors from other cultural conditions affecting women’s reproductive health. Further, religious groups often exert influence on civil authorities in matters of reproduction. Joseph Schenker has studied some of the religious differences towards ethics in surrogacy, and his findings are quite interesting. In Jewish law, a childless couple falls within the category of personal suffering and there exists a clear obligation to assist them in every permissible way, as long as no one is harmed in the process.5 The Catholic Church’s statement on assisted reproduction is clear: assisted reproduction is not accepted. The Eastern Orthodox Church supports medical and surgical treatment of infertility, and the Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Mormon, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mennonite religions all have liberal attitudes toward infertility treatments. Islamic law encourages attempts to cure infertility, but only to the extent that IVF technologies involve the husband and wife.6
Dr. Anand Kumar, Ph.D., Chairman of Hope Infertility Clinic and Research Foundation, explores the Hindu perspective on surrogacy in his paper “Ethical Aspects of Assisted Reproduction – an Indian viewpoint.” He explains that Hindus have never seriously debated assisted reproduction because of their belief in karma, which preordains the kind of life an individual would lead after birth. There is no conflict between Hinduism and assisted reproduction, which is generally accepted as a form of treatment and not an infringement on religious beliefs.7
If done properly, Dr. Malpani of the Malphani Infertiliy Clinic believe that “surrogacy meets all three pillars of medical ethics: autonomy (allowing people to decide for themselves); beneficence (doing good); and non-maleficence (doing no harm).”8 Plausible? Perhaps. Controversial? Definitely. It is still too early to predict what effects the growing surrogacy industry will have on reproductive regulations in India.