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Exploring issues in bioethics and healthcare from the perspective of core principles at the foundations of ethics . . .

“Always treat humanity at the same time as an end in itself, never as a mere means.” — Immanuel Kant

Translation: Don’t lie or withhold information in order to maintain advantage and/or manipulate someone into doing what you want to them do instead of what they would choose to do if they had access to the same information you have. [1] Respect all of your fellow humans beings’ autonomy.

“Act only on principles that you can will to become universal law.” — Immanuel Kant

Translation: You create your world with each action you choose, so choose actions that are consistent with the world you will to live in. Don’t make an exception of yourself. Or, as Gandhi put it, “be the change you want to see in the world.”


[1]  A couple of distinctions for clarification:

  • Persuasion versus manipulation:  Persuading/convincing can include honestly/transparently laying all of one’s cards on the table, while manipulating does not.
  • Privacy versus lack of transparency:  An individual requesting privacy with respect to something is making a transparent request or declaration, while an institution or person in a designated role withholding information without acknowledging that they’re withholding information (especially when the other party doesn’t suspect anything is being withheld) is not being transparent and is taking advantage of information asymmetries.

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