Most ethical conundrums, whether in Judaism, bioethics or medicine, are resolved in a highly intellectual space. We have the luxury of raising hypothetical dilemmas, weighing the opinions from various authoritative bodies, and using deep repositories of wisdom, as well as the test of time, to decide what the answer is. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has thrown all of that into disarray. For the first time in human memory, we are living inside an ethics problem, where every little choice can have a massive impact. How can we not let the urgent circumstances cloud our decision-making, and lift society out of the pandemic while acting in a way that we will look back on, if not proudly, at least not with regret? A combination of ancient wisdom and modern sensibility must lead us to this goal.
Rabbi Jonathan Crane, Ph.D. is a Sinai and Synapses Fellow, Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought in the Center for Ethics at Emory University, Associate Professor of Medicine and in the Department of Religion, and founding director of the Food Studies and Ethics program at that university.
Next week, March 9th, at 2 PM EST, we will be speaking with Professor Christian B. Miller, PhD, A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University, director of The Honesty Project, and author of The Character Gap: How Good Are We?.