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Ethical Theories

Editor's Note: Owing to an editing error, an erroneous version of the following letter appeared in the July 8, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 12). Below is the correct version of the letter. In his May 13, 1996, letter to The Scientist (page 12), Arthur W. Galston still appears somewhat confused about what ethical theories can teach us. As I stated in my previous letter, moral practices are not theories (B. Everill, The Scientist, April 1, 1996, page 13). They are accounts of nothing more

Brian Everill

Editor's Note: Owing to an editing error, an erroneous version of the following letter appeared in the July 8, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 12). Below is the correct version of the letter.
In his May 13, 1996, letter to The Scientist (page 12), Arthur W. Galston still appears somewhat confused about what ethical theories can teach us. As I stated in my previous letter, moral practices are not theories (B. Everill, The Scientist, April 1, 1996, page 13). They are accounts of nothing more than themselves.

His statement that "bioethicists must learn the scientific facts about a subject before venturing ethical pronouncements on that subject" I would agree with; but to say that "scientists ought to learn about ethical theories" before venturing ethical pronouncements appears to be confusing morality with consensus of opinion. Does Galston think, then, that just because ethicist John Rawls...

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