Close-up image of two people shaking hands.

Reconciliation 8(3)

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Volume 8, Number 3 (September 2011)
Guest Editors: Paul A. Komesaroff, Elizabeth Kath, and Paul James



Leigh E. Rich and Michael A. Ashby

Letters to the Editor

Rights of Authors: Do We Need Guidelines for Editors as Well?

Yatan Pal Singh Balhara

Recent Developments

Recent Developments in Law

Cameron Stewart and John Coggon


Reconciliation and the Technics of Healing

Paul A. Komesaroff, Elizabeth Kath, and Paul James

Truth in Reconciliation

Alphonso Lingis
To what extent is truth required for reconciliation of peoples in conflict? What kind of truth? Objective truth, subjective truth? Maybe reconciliation require that the pursuit of truth be limited? The trial of the former “Khmer Rouge” leaders in Cambodia for crimes against humanity provides a case where these issues are examined.

“The Climax of Reconciliation”: Transgression, Apology, Forgiveness and the Body in Conflict Resolution

David Gaertner
According to Charles Hauss, “[i]n the last few years, reconciliation has become one of the ‘hottest’ topics in the increasingly ‘hot’ field of conflict resolution” (2003, ¶1). However, despite the apparent interest in this “hot” academic topic (which is becoming increasingly warm in Canada as our own Truth and Reconciliation Commission commences), reconciliation studies have been dominated by Truth-based approaches. The restrictions of these approaches, which emphasize objectivity and rationality, often elide the body and the primacy of emotions in the reparative process. This essay begins a conversation on the role of the body and emotion in the study of reconciliation by engaging the work being done in the social sciences with contemporary trends in critical theory and literature. I argue that by looking at the fundamental role the body plays on the “road to reconciliation” we can devise a more vital approach to conflict resolution and the various processes that make it up.

Mourning and Forgiveness as Sites of Reconciliation Pedagogies

Michalinos Zembylas
This paper explores mourning and forgiveness not simply as sources of existential, political, or emotional meaning, but primarily as possible sites of reconciliation pedagogies. Reconciliation pedagogies are public and school pedagogical practices that examine how certain ideas can enrich our thinking and action toward reconciliation—not through a moralistic agenda but through an approach that views such ideas both constructively and critically. Mourning and forgiveness may constitute valuable points of departure for reconciliation pedagogies, if common pain is acknowledged as an important aspect of rehumanizing the “enemy-other.” This work is difficult and the wider society may be skeptical; however, such work is about assisting a “never again” mentality develop in schools and civil society.

Original Research

Should Biomedical Publishing Be “Opened Up”? Toward a Values-Based Peer-Review Process

Wendy Lipworth, Ian H. Kerridge, Stacy M. Carter, and Miles Little
Peer review of manuscripts for biomedical journals has become a subject of intense ethical debate. One of the most contentious issues is whether or not peer review should be anonymous. This study aimed to generate a rich, empirically-grounded understanding of the values held by journal editors and peer reviewers with a view to informing journal policy. Qualitative methods were used to carry out an inductive analysis of biomedical reviewers’ and editors’ values. Data was derived from in-depth, open-ended interviews with journal editors and peer reviewers. Data was “read for” themes relevant to reviewer anonymisation and interactions among editors, reviewers, and authors. Editors and peer reviewers provided three arguments that would support a more open and interactive peer-review process. First, a number of participants emphasised the importance of not only ensuring the scientific quality of published research but also nurturing their colleagues and supporting their communities. Second, many spoke about the ongoing moral responsibilities that reviewers and editors felt toward authors. Finally, participants spoke at length about their enjoyment of social interactions and of the value of collective, rather than isolated, reasoning processes. Whether or not journal editors decide to allow anonymous review, the values of editors and reviewers need to be seriously addressed in codes of publication ethics, in the management of biomedical journals, and in the establishment of journal policies.

Consent, Autonomy, and the Benefits of Healthy Limb Amputation: Examining the Legality of Surgically Managing Body Integrity Identity Disorder in New Zealand

Aimee Louise Bryant
Upon first consideration, the desire of an individual to amputate a seemingly healthy limb is a foreign, perhaps unsettling, concept. It is, however, a reality faced by those who suffer from body integrity identity disorder (BIID). In seeking treatment, these individuals request surgery that challenges both the statutory provisions that sanction surgical operations and the limits of consent as a defence in New Zealand. In doing so, questions as to the influence of public policy and the extent of personal autonomy become important. Beyond legal issues, BIID confronts dominant conceptions of bodily integrity, medical treatment, and ethical obligations. This paper seeks to identify the relevant public policy concerns raised by BIID in New Zealand and the limits of autonomy, before moving on to consider how BIID sufferers may legally seek the treatment they require and how a doctor might be protected from criminal proceedings for assault for performing this treatment. It will be argued that it is possible to legally consent to the amputation of a healthy limb as medical treatment and that public perception should not be allowed to take precedence over this right.

Best Interest of the Child: Surrogate Decision Making and the Economics of Externalities

Joseph P. DeMarco, Douglas P. Powell, and Douglas O. Stewart
The case of Twin B involves the decision to send a newborn to a less intensive Level 2 special care nursery (SCN) than to the Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that is considered optimal by the physician. The physician’s acceptance of the transfer is against the child’s best interest and is due to parental convenience. In analyzing the case, we reject the best interest standard. Our rejection is partly supported by the views of Douglas Diekema, John Hardwig, and Lannie Ross. Instead of the best interest standard, we offer and defend an approach we base on a microeconomic analysis of externalities, such as those involved with automobile emissions. This extends our previously presented general microeconomic approach to patient decision-making. It provides a clearer way to evaluate situations, like those of Twin B, in which burdens faced by family members may be used to determine the appropriate level of treatment for a decisionally incapable patient.


My Brain Made Me Do It: The Rise of Neuroscience and the Threat to Moral Responsibility

Peter B. Reiner

The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships

Meghan A. Harris

In the Family

Ariff Moolla

The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman

Katrina A. Bramstedt

Case Studies


Paul A. Komesaroff


Steven Skov


Mark Woodrow

In That Case: To Report or Not to Report: That Is the Question

Malcolm Parker