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J Med Ethics. 2012 Aug;38(8):496-500. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100099. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

How to depolarise the ethical debate over human embryonic stem cell research (and other ethical debates too!).

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  • 1Centre for Healthcare Ethics, Stockholm, Sweden.


The contention of this paper is that the current ethical debate over embryonic stem cell research is polarised to an extent that is not warranted by the underlying ethical conflict. It is argued that the ethical debate can be rendered more nuanced, and less polarised, by introducing non-binary notions of moral rightness and wrongness. According to the view proposed, embryonic stem cell research--and possibly other controversial activities too--can be considered 'a little bit right and a little bit wrong'. If this idea were to become widely accepted, the ethical debate would, for conceptual reasons, become less polarised.

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