Editorial: Traditions for Today?

- Darryl Macer, Ph.D.
Director, Eubios Ethics Institute
Affiliated Professor, United Nations University
Editorial address: Prof. Darryl Macer
Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Tsukuba Science City 305-8572, JAPAN
Email: asianbioethics@yahoo.co.nz

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 14 (2004), 117.


This issue of EJAIB includes several papers that explore the philosophy of Asian religious traditions and apply these to bioethical dilemmas. Whatever tradition you come from, it may be interesting to read these and see whether, as the author's infer, these are unique to that religious viewpoint. In the mapping of ideas based upon descriptive bioethics data such as the survey on Thai attitudes towards biotechnology in this issue, we would expect most ideas to be found in all traditions. However, the policy decisions made by the representative organizations, from religious group to government, often have to take a particular viewpoint.
There are also several papers on clinical medical ethics. The concept of e-Health ethics is introduced, which will be discussed at the IAB World Congress in Sydney in November 2004. The ethical issues need to be explored rapidly given the rapid shift towards the Internet as a source of health information. The ethical issues that can be considered for medical interviews have to be applied to the variety of formats and media that people use for medical consultations nowadays.
There is also a thread of history in this issue with the examination of writings, both of academics, and religious scriptures for what they can provide to readers coming with a modern world view and facing problems of medical ethics. We can realize that many social dilemmas some societies struggle with today, like abortion or euthanasia, have been unresolved issues for millennia, and will thus likely remain that way. In the context of modern democracy and informed choice the most ethical policy is not so difficult to arrive at by logic, so we have to deeply consider how traditions should be applied to modern healthcare policy.

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