TOK speech - Knowledge Issue: To what extent is the use of a dead body ethical?

Authors Avatar by ohmyohmypsych (student)



Penney- Blue

Ashley- Pink

At the very beginning of the presentation

Hand out a piece of paper of a beautified part of dead body and ask the students “How much does this artwork worth in a gallery?”

Interactive, get them to guess

Topic Question: Human cadavers/bodies?

Explain what human cadavers are.

So, what is human cadaver?

Human  cadaver is a body of a dead person which is donated to science at death; this is of course with the consent of the dead person prior to his death, or with the permission of the family members of the dead person.  This great contribution of human remains to science is considered a best gift of mankind into the continuous development of medical science.

Cadaver research contributes to the discovery of new advanced medicine for various serious diseases.  The demand for research cadavers is remained strong in the society today.

Real life situation: When one of my relative was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer at the age of 51, he was not given many options for treatment and the prognosis was not good. He decided that because he had been healthy throughout his life, until this diagnosis that he wanted to help others benefit from anything that could be learnt from donating his body to science. Because the cancer had been so aggressive and was taking his life so quickly, he was glad to have time to make this decision of donating his body and die knowing that he could possibly be benefiting mankind through his death.

...and this is how we extracted our knowledge issue.

Knowledge Issue: To what extent is the use of a dead body ethical?

We are going to use science and religion as our areas of knowledge to discuss this issue through the ways of knowing, which are emotion, reason and perception. Before we go into this, we’re going to dissect the question.

What is ethics?

Before i explain what ethic is, i want to talk about morals first because of the close relation between them.

What are morals? Morals are about right and wrong. The idea of morality is hard to define because it is a very basic idea. Even “morality is about right and wrong” is misleading because it isn’t about getting the answer to 2+2 right or wrong. In fact we mean “morally right” and “morally” wrong. We might say that it is really about good vs evil, but good and evil are hard to define as well. Good can seem to be about things other than morals. for example “chocolate tastes good” does not mean that the taste of chocolate is similar to giving money to charity. When we say “good” in this other sense we mean “morally good”.

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As soon as we step back from doing what is right or wrong and consider what we mean by that and how we might make such decisions we are into the world of ethics.

So, back to the question what is ethics? Ethics are about morality. A code of ethics, for example, is a set of rules to help a person (or an organisation) what the morally right thing to do is. Ethics is a bigger subject than morality because it has to consider more issues not just what is right and wrong but what those words mean and ...

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