This paper focuses on the current state of environmental education within formal education in Slovakia, emphasising its methodology and weak points. The author aims to identify the place and role of philosophicalethical theory within environmental education, which is an integral part of ethics education. What concrete knowledge, skills and instruments of both ethics and philosophy can (should) a teacher of ethics education put into effect when teaching environmental-educational topics? Before answering this question the place of environmental education within the broader context of moral education will be explored.
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The main aim of the presented paper is to suggest a new possible approach in moral education in Slovakia. The starting point for the presented argumentation is the position that moral education (ethics education) in Slovakia is based on insufficient foundations. One of the possible propositions of how to overcome this shortcoming is to supersede prosocial behavior (insufficient base) with value education and promotion of the development of critical and analytical moral thinking. The paper suggests that one of the possible ways how to achieve this goal is by the help of introducing the issue of moral (ethical) consumption as a topic of moral education.
In Peter Singer’s article “The Challenge of Brain Death for the Sanctity of Life Ethic”, he articulates that ethics has always played an important role in defining death. He claims that the demand for redefining death spreads rather from new ethical challenges than from a new, scientifically improved understanding of the nature of death. As thorough as his plea for dismissal of the brain-death definition is, he does not avoid the depiction of the complementary relationship between science and ethics. Quite the opposite, he tends to formulate a stronger, philosophically more consistent argument to help science and medical practitioners to define life, death, and the quality of life. In my commentary, I would like to focus on two issues presented in Singer’s study. Firstly, I will critically analyze the relationship between science and ethics. Secondly, I will follow on from Singer’s arguments differentiating between end of life as an organism and end of life as a person. The latter case is necessarily linked with man’s participation in her/his life, setting life goals, and fulfilling her/his idea of good life. Through the consequential definition of the dignity in ethics of social consequences, I will try to support Singer’s idea.
The article is a critical commentary on Peter Singer’s thesis that the brain death definition should be replaced by a rule outlining the conditions permitting organ harvesting from patients who are biologically alive but are no longer persons. Largely agreeing with the position, I believe it can be justified not only on the basis of utilitarian arguments, but also those based on Kantian ethics and Christianity. However, due to the lack of reliable methods diagnosing complete and irreversible loss of consciousness, we should refrain from implementing upper brain death into medical practice. Organs also should not be harvested from people in a persistent vegetative state or from anencephalic children, for similar reasons. At the same time, patients who suffered from whole-brain death should not be artificially sustained; in light of current knowledge they can be declared dead and become organ donors.
The article deals with two consequentialist theories and their comparison in terms of promoting certain values and evaluation of moral agents’ actions and behaviour. A basic presupposition is their mutual compatibility based primarily on their consequentialist nature. The paper searches for possible evidence that presented theories might be denominated as hybrid theories based on their dynamic transformations and it also searches for possible mutual enrichment of these theories/approaches as their examined similar character might be a good starting point for such goals. The nature of ethical values is questioned as well as the idea (supported by relevant argumentation) of not distinguishing ethical theories based on their implicit inclination towards usage of specific values. The paper confronts these traditional (classical) ideas of making such differentiation and thus strictly connecting specific moral values with specific ethical theories and not allowing possible productive associations. Ethics of social consequences and the theory of lesser evil are chosen as examples to prove that not limited approaches in terms of operation with only specific type of values might be productive. Their dynamic character predestines these theories to be hybrid ethical theories and thus compatible in their value structure and theory of right.
In his paper “The challenge of brain death for the sanctity of life ethic”, Peter Singer advocates two options for dealing with death criteria in a way that is compatible with efficient organ transplantation policy. He suggests that we should either (a) redefine death as cortical death or (b) go back to the old cardiopulmonary criterion and scrap the Dead Donor Rule. We welcome Singer’s line of argument but raise some concerns about the practicability of the two alternatives advocated by him. We propose adding a third alternative that also – as the two previous alternatives – preserves and extends the possibility of organ transplantation without using anyone without their consent. Namely, we would like to draw readers’ attention to a proposal by Robert Veatch, formulated 42 years ago in his 1976 book “Death, dying, and the biological revolution” and developed further in his later publications. Veatch argues for a conscience clause for the definition of death that would permit people to pick from a reasonable range of definitional options. This autonomy-based option, we believe, is more likely to be practicable than the two options advocated by Singer. Furthermore, we present data from a study with Lithuanian participants that suggest that there is quite pronounced variation of preferences concerning death determination.
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