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“Just one animal among many?” Existential phenomenology, ethics, and stem cell research

By Norman K. Swazo


Stem cell research and associated or derivative biotechnologies are proceeding at a pace that has left bioethics behind as a discipline that is more or less reactionary to their developments. Further, much of the available ethical deliberation remains determined by the conceptual framework of late modern metaphysics and the correlative ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontology. Lacking, to any meaningful extent, is a sustained engagement with ontological and epistemological critiques, such as with “postmodern” thinking like that of Heidegger’s existential phenomenology. Some basic “Heideggerian” conceptual strategies are reviewed here as a way of remedying this deficiency and adding to ethical deliberation about current stem cell research practices

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