Bioethics and Medicalization of Society

WCB 2020 Antonio Sandu: Bioethical Acceptability of Euthanasia in Greek Orthodox Religious Context

Prof. PhD. Hab. Antonio SANDU (Professor PhD Head of Department of Law and Public Administration “Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, Romania & Director of LUMEN Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Iasi, Romania, “Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, Romania & LUMEN Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Iasi, Romania)
PhD. Ana FRUNZĂ (Researcher in Philosophy, LUMEN Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences; “Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, Romania)
PhD. student Alexandra HUIDU (Researcher, Doctoral School of Sociology, University of Oradea, Oradea, Romania; LUMEN Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, Iasi, Romania)

Presenting: Prof. PhD. Hab. Antonio SANDU
Background: Religious affiliation influences decisions about the ethical acceptance of euthanasia. The Greek Orthodox Christian Church expressly opposes the approval of euthanasia; therefore, believers strongly oppose this practice.
Objectives: The paper analyzes the instances of social construction of the acceptability of euthanasia in the Greek Orthodox Christian religious context.
Methods: A series of three focus groups and ten individual interviews were undertaken with people belonging to the Greek Orthodox Christian religion in northeastern Romania. The interviews addressed how people make their decisions about the ethical acceptability of euthanasia and how religious beliefs inspired by Orthodox Christianity are reflected in the decision-making process regarding the acceptability or unacceptability of an extreme medical practice, including interrupting the course of life at the patient’s request. The focus group later watched an artistic film with a strong emotional impact, which presented the opinion of a person with an unbearable medical condition, who decided to resort to euthanasia. The reaction of the participants was observed and the elements of acceptability or unacceptability of euthanasia, as well as the ethical-religious background of the decision, were questioned again. Data analysis was performed using the Grounded Theory method.
Findings: The emotional factor and discursive contingency of the reference group significantly contributes to nuancing religious beliefs.
Conclusion: The bioethical discourse on euthanasia should be overtoned to take into account not only religious beliefs, but also the emotional context in which the acceptability of an extreme medical practice is socially constructed.

Antonio Sandu: Medicalization of Social Life

Descriere: “Medicalization of Social Life in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic” – Chapter # 3 of the volume “BIOETHICS IN CRISIS OR THE CRISIS OF BIOETHICS? An Anthropology of Pandemic in the Medicalized Society” published at Editura LUMEN, 2020.
“The medicalization of society represents the effect of the “risk society” in practice, a society in which the individuals are readily aware of the various dangers that they feel threatened by. Sometimes we get to the idea of “medicalizing the human condition”, which is nothing than a treatable disorder. Under these conditions, a pandemic causes the entire society to become restricted, the social activity to be shrunk, and to talk of social distancing.”

Antonio Sandu: Virtualization of Social Space. From Pandemic to Infodemic

Descriere: There are a number of contemporary cosmogonic theories, which we would introduce into what we have called quantum metaphysics, which holds that the current world we live in is actually a simulation. Technological globalization can be analyzed from the perspective of the mutations that occurred in the interpretation of the social space from the traditional one, limited to the geographical coordinates of the interaction, to a delocalized and universalizing one. The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has accentuated this trend. The digital revolution produces a phenomenon of virtualization of social space – in the sense of transferring socializing interactions to virtual environments – with special and somewhat unpredictable consequences for the evolution of being and even the human species. Next, we consider the identification of some constitutive dimensions of the phenomenon of the virtualization of the social space, of its evolutionary tendencies and of the eventual sociopathologies. The cultural space, being essentially cross-cultural, generates a continuous (re) negotiation of the interpretation of the social reality and of the construction of new interpretative models. Understanding the interpretive drift of the concept of social reality in the context of communication virtualization allows us to say that the virtualization of social space has led humanity to explore a sui generis additional dimensions of space, noetic in nature, experienced in the form of instantaneous communication and virtual ubiquity. In this lecture we will address the topic of fake news, which represents a real threat to society and could be considered a public health issue. The fake news campaign that accompanied public communications during the pandemic was named, by the Worls Health Organization, infodemic, considering that its purpose was to generate panic and create social and economic problems, which would seriously overcome the initial public health problem – namely that of the pandemic -, to destabilize both states and global alliances. From an ethical point of view, we must notice the negative impact of infodemic, both on public health and on humanity in general; this can lead to deviations from democracy and human rights and, ultimately, to the dehumanization of society through the emphasis on social anxiety and the exacerbation of desocializing fears, which increase social distancing far beyond the limit of the physical distancing necessary to combat the pandemic.

Antonio Sandu: The Principles of Bioethics and Their Use in Ethical Decision Making

Descriere: Why is the study of bioethics necessary? […] At present, human society – due to the technological advance on the one hand, but also due to globalization – faces a unique situation from the perspective of its ability to do good or to do harm, due to its constructive or destructive capabilities. Humanity is therefore capable of self-destruction but also of destroying the entire planet. The current threat brought by the Covid-19 crisis reminds us that we are still a fragile humanity who, although it has, apparently, transcended nature, through numerous technological advances, is still vulnerable to such manifestations that nature makes humanity face, and that nature at the same time is vulnerable to the actions of humanity.
Bioethics tries to answer the question: what are or what should be the behaviors, the desirable behaviors of humanity in general, but also of each one of us in particular, in front of situations that each of us has to confront, due to one’s state of health, the participation in health care, on the one hand, but also to the development of technologies which bring with them new threats to humanity, threats which are in addition to the old ones that humanity seeks to diminish or eliminate.

Antonio Sandu: Philosophical Practice in Times of Pandemic

Descriere: Lecture on “Philosophical Practice in Times of Pandemic” held on the 28th of July 2020 within ICPP 2020 online Conference “Philosophical Practice for Self-knowledge by Means of Intellectual Creativity” Sankt Petersburg, Russia, organized by Russian Association of Philoshophical Practitioners, July, 28-31.
The topics of my speech were on philosophical counseling, perspectives on bioethics and the crisis of bioethics, the medical society, and the role of philosophical counseling / philosophical practice in times of crisis, Virtual PhiloCafe (Virtual Philosophical Cafe) as a model of philosophical practice in times of crisis, the virtualization of social space and its philosophical meanings, as well as the possibilities of conducting online philosophical dialogue.

Autonomy and Informed Consent in the Context of Pandemic

Descriere: A lecture by Antonio Sandu on Autonomy and Informed Consent in the Context of Pandemic. This represents a chapter from the volume “Bioethics in Crisis or the Crisis of Bioethics? An Anthropology of Pandemic in the Medicalized Society”
“It is important to emphasize that autonomy represents a key to modernity, a perspective on the world that is in fact one of the constitutive values of modern society. Respect for autonomy, as it appears in the Kantian tradition (Kant, 2007; 2010), is based on our confidence that the individual can decide for himself in a political, ethical, and cognitive sense. Of course, we are talking here about situations of autonomy in which the individual manifests himself as autonomous being. Autonomy is a birthright by the fact that we are human beings, but not all human beings have the same degree of autonomy.”

The Romanian version of this book is available at:…

The English version will be available by the end of August 2020 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major bookshops in the world.

Antonio Sandu – Medicalizarea vieții sociale în perioada de pandemie. Riscuri etice

Descriere: Antonio Sandu – Medicalizarea vieții sociale în perioada de pandemie. Riscuri etice Prelegere sustinua in cadrul celei de-a XV-a Conferinte Nationale de Bioetica (conferinta online) organizata de Societatea Romana de Bioetica si Universitatea de Medicina si Farmacie „Gr. T. Popa” din Iasi.

Medicalizarea societatii reprezinta un efect al perceptiei societatii postmoderne ca societate de risc. Membrii comunitatii constientizeaza cu mai multa usurinta diversele tipuri de riscuri de care indivizii se simt amenintati. Atunci cand medicalizarea societatii devine un fenomen de masa, se poate ajunge la ideea de medicalizare a conditiei umane, umanitatea fiintei umane fiind considerata un sindrom tratabil (treatable disorder). Pandemia de Covid-19 face ca intreaga societate sa fie restrictionata, cu sau fara temeiuri reale in ceea ce priveste expertiza in sanatate publica, sa fie impuse restrictii ale libertatii de circulatie, sa fie impuse comportamente sociale specifice – cum e cazul distantarii sociale, al purtarii mastii, al migrarii catre online a majoritatii activitatii publice (virtualizarea spatiului social) etc. Cercetarea efectuata pe baza de interviu aplicat unui numar de 100 persoane a avut ca scop evidentierea fenomenelor de anxietate si angoasa datorate restrictiilor impuse in perioada pandemiei. Cercetarea a avut loc in perioada aprilie-iunie 2020 in regiunea de NE a Romaniei, operatorii de interviu fiind studentii Facultatii de Drept si Administratie Publica din cadrul Universitatii Stefan cel Mare din Suceava. Analiza s-a realizat pe baza metodologiei specifice grouded theory. Printre cele mai importante rezultate obtinute in urma analizei interviurilor au fost: constientizarea accentuarii medicalizarii societatii, constientizarea societatii actuale ca fiind o „societate de risc”, neincrederea in capacitatea autoritatilor de a gestiona pandemia, neincrederea in dimensiunile reale ale pandemiei si acceptarea cu mai multa usurinta a fake news-urilor referitoare la pandemie pe fundalul atitudinii ambivalente a autoritatilor, refuzul internarii – chiar in contextul infectarii cu Covid-19 – justificat prin perceptia asupra incapacitatii sistemului medical romanesc de a gestiona criza, precum si existenta riscurilor unor comportamente autoritare interpretate ca „dictatura alba”.

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