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Ethical Theories

Due to an editing error, this is an erroneous version of the letter. The corrected version can be found in the September 2, 1996 issue of The Scientist 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. I agree with Galston's st

Brian Everill


Due to an editing error, this is an erroneous version of the letter. The corrected version can be found in the September 2, 1996 issue of The Scientist
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.

I agree with Galston's statement that "bioethicists must learn the scientific facts about a subject before venturing ethical pronouncements on that subject"; but to say that "scientists ought to learn about ethical theories" before venturing ethical pronouncements seems to confuse morality with consensus of opinion. Does Galston think that just because I learn that ethicist John Rawls has a theory of morality, that theory...

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