Moving bioethics beyond ethics: a new role for the state?

Abril 2007
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper. 2007-03

Vincenzo Pavone

In 2002, while half in the way of my PhD studies, I had the chance to have a phone interview with one of the main officers of the UNESCO International Bioethical Committee, whose name, for privacy reasons, I will not mention here. The interview was related to my application for a stage at the IBC. The UNESCO Officer listened to me carefully, while I was trying to explain why my research would have greatly benefited from a stage at IBC. However, at some point, the officer asked me what my research background was. At first, given my multidisciplinary background, I did not know how to answer but then I replied: I am a social scientist. Suddenly, the officer put our conversation to an end saying: “I see, but.. you know.. here at IBC we work on bioethical standard setting, we may need natural scientists, jurists and even moral philosophers but surely not social scientists. You should try at the MOST (Management of Social Transformation) Unit.”