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A Question of Ethics, by H. Patrick Swygert. Howard
Magazine 10(1), Fall 2001.
Related article: The Search for Spiritually Centered Medicine, by Ted Pelonis. Howard Magazine 10(1), Fall 2001: 8-15. > > 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Question of Ethics
A pro-life cleric who has publicly spoken out against stem cell transplantation is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Doctors believe the cells could possibly regenerate nerves that, otherwise, may be lost forever. Does he stand on his conviction or, perhaps never stand again?
Native Americans received reparations from the U.S. government for lost land. Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II received reparations from the U.S. Government property, wages, investments and business. Should the U.S. government now be required to pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved African-Americans? Would monetary reparations settle this debt?
You create a product. You pay engineers to increase the demand for it--whatever it takes. Your product soon dominates the market, virtually silencing your competitors. Is this free-enterprise capitalism at its best? Or is it the prescription for an antitrust lawsuit?
These questions, each creating a powerful vortex of controversy, characterize the surging tide of ethical issues plaguing our cultural conscience. As with the long-debated evolution v. creationism argument, sophists and sages grapple philosophically and semantically to articulate truths that have evaded consensus since the beginning of time: What is right? What is wrong? What is good? What is bad? Who are we? How should we define our existence?
Howard University seeks not to impose the "right" answers to any of these questions. Our purpose is higher. We strive to empower our students to examine these issues and apply their findings in ways that benefit their communities locally, nationally and internationally.
For a university whose motto is Utilitas et Veritas, "Truth and Service," this is what we must do to maintain fidelity to our motto. We continue to develop leaders of exceptional caliber who seek with reason and compassion to weigh these issues.
In this issue of Howard Magazine, you will meet doctors, lawyers, educators and historians who examine the ethics of their respective disciplines. Their willingness to do so speaks individually and collectively of the intellect, courage and fortitude that distinguish the Howard brand of leadership.
Their role in society has never been more critical than it is today. As "ethical" decisions are made about the morality of medical research, the affordability of health case, equity among demographic groups, access to technology an the limits of entrepreneurialism, it behooves us all to have those decisions that are made by proven leaders who understand two things, truth and service.
© 2001 Howard University, all rights
reserved. Last updated:
30 October 2001 .
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