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08 / 09 / 2004
Alphonse Pene Elungu (Professor of philosophy in the Congo): “We are in a time of fragmented ethics”

As a member of the UNESCO Bioethics Committee he made the assurance that bioethics will help to save the current gap between rich and poor.

Alfonse Pene Elungu, member of the UNESCO Bioethics Committee, pointed out this afternoon that, "we are at a time of fragmented ethics, and there are as many codes of ethics as there are societies. Some are subordinate to others to the point that they are placed in a position under the dominant one." In this sense he said that, "today we live according to the ethics of individual liberalism."

When taking part in the panel on "Ethics of science. Which science for which society?" of the Dialogue "New ignorances, new literacies. Learning to live together in a globalizing world" the professor of philosophy of the University of Kinshasa emphasized that "science has often meant the abandonment of the real and empirical relation of man with nature, at the same time as it implies a diminution of man as a citizen of the world."

In his opinion "the ignorance of others is justified in the name of cultural tradition", so for that reason he supports the extension of the concept of bioethics, because "it favors respectful and fair cooperation and will contribute to the advent of a new world."

Furthermore, Leonardo de Castro, professor of philosophy at the University of the Philippines urged "the fostering of equality between men and women in all aspects of scientific development." And to sum up he said, "the most prolonged form of ignorance is the ignorance of ignorance."

For her part, Margaret Somerville, founding director of the Center of Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, criticized the fact that science neglects ethical values and in this respect she emphasized that, "science that is not ethical is not a good science."

Germán Velázquez, coordinator of the Program of action on essential medicines and pharmaceutical policies of the World Health Organization focused his comments on the access to medicines as a human right. Equally, he referred to the fact that "the north thought such ignorance was in the south, while the south thought those who were ignorant were on the outer edge of its own societies.”