Aren't We All Already 'Ethicists'?

In his letter (The Scientist, Feb. 5, 1996, page 13) Arthur W. Galston appears to be of the opinion that "scientists ought to learn something about ethical theories" before they can "venture ethical pronouncements on that subject." Could Galston be a little confused about what constitutes a moral problem and, further, how we should go about solving such a problem? Perhaps Galston, like so many contemporary moral philosophers, has fallen for the idea that if there is no agreement on an issue, w

Brian Everill
Apr 1, 1996

In his letter (The Scientist, Feb. 5, 1996, page 13) Arthur W. Galston appears to be of the opinion that "scientists ought to learn something about ethical theories" before they can "venture ethical pronouncements on that subject." Could Galston be a little confused about what constitutes a moral problem and, further, how we should go about solving such a problem?

Perhaps Galston, like so many contemporary moral philosophers, has fallen for the idea that if there is no agreement on an issue, we cannot really know whether our views are right or wrong, good or evil.

Now, it is possible to ask ourselves which of two competing physiological theories about a particular plant is the correct one. But what do we wish to know if we ask which morality is the correct one? We can imagine in the case of the conflicting theories about plant physiology the type...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?