Scholars of the Centre for Ethics stipends in 2004/2005
Ants Nõmper (law). "Open consent - a new form of informed consent for population genetic databases"
My PhD thesis is titled as „Open consent – a new form of informed consent for population genetic databases“. Main aim of the dissertation ist o propose a new understanding of informed consent and assess its validity against historical development and the background of principles of bioethics, various international documents on bioethics and international human rights law.
Toivo Aavik (psychology). "Accuracy of personal values expressions - moralistic and egoistic biases."
The main purpose of this project is to investigate the variety of value describing words and interrelation of value categories in the Estonian language. To accomplish this aim, a psycholexical approach was adopted, during which a set of 560 value-related words was selected from the Estonian Orthological Dictionary. Based on the research, a personal values questionnaire was developed. Another purpose of the current project is to access the moderation of two social desirability responding biases – egoistic and moralistic – in personal values. My research raises many ethical questions. Part of deceptive value expression is conscious and thus we may call it deliberate faking. Even so, this behavior may not be unethical by its content because it may represent social desirability. Social interaction could not effectively occur if people didn’t construct public identities – giving information about their personalities, motives and values. The social norms prevalent in any given society may lead people to negatively value some attributes (eg drug abuse, drunken driving etc.). Thus there is a strong pressure to express their own values sincerely and honestly but most of us realize that the values we express to other people do make a difference. This way a certain amount of deception in expressed values is essential for meaningful and smooth working of society.
Kadri Simm (philosophy). „Social Justice and Equal Opportunities in Biomedicine“
The thesis will concentrate on philosophical analysis and application of conceptions of social justice and equal opportunities. The main attention is given to the application of these conceptions in (bio)medicine. I will analyse the doubts and problems rising in connection with the new technologies and with the potential application of the new knowledge in society. The main aim ist to explore what are the biomedicine’s possible challenges to the socially accepted principles of justice. How should the society proceed, if through new technologies it has the means to increase the equality of opportunity? How to share the genetic capital (if at all) to diminish suffering and to increase the equal opportunities? Briefly – in which direction should social justice and also the desire and need to guarantee the equal opportunities develop in the environment, where there exists a possibility to smooth the existing inequalities considerably more than historically and currently feasible.
Ivo Volt (classical philology). “Lexical and semantic basis of depicting negative character types in Classical Greek literature, and their relation to Greek ethical theory and popular morality"
The thesis deals with what was considered condemnable in a human being at various levels of social communication. Lexical and semantic basis of the study is followed by the analysis of some ethical questions that are inevitably connected with the topic (e.g. the relation of moral philosophy and popular morality in Ancient Greece). Further, various linguistic and rhetorical devices that were used in describing and characterising negative qualities and dispositions are analysed. The basis of the study is formed mainly by three genres: philosophical prose (Plato, Aristotle), practical rhetoric (Attic oratory), and comedy.
Leno Saarniit (public administration). “Criticism of Lawcentred Approach of Public Ethics”
During the 20th century the apporach to public ethics (ethics of civil service and political ethics) has focused on legal and managerial perspective. Several public ethics scholars focus on following the laws while discussing the morality of certain types of behaviour, and by doing that they seem to equalize law and ethics. Therefore a question is raised: are ethics and law the same. The aim of my thesis is firstly, to critically analyse the law and management centred approach to public ethics and bring out the fading line between law and ethics of this approach. Secondly, the thesis aims at discussing the possible reasons for such development.