Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Haley Reading Group: Michael Specter’s “Partial Recall”
[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015)]
By Rae'Jean Spears
Michael Specter’s article “Partial Recall” deals with scientific discovery meant to have the ability to rewrite a person’s memory. Specter highlights several scientists along the journey with one goal in mind: providing help to those with traumatic memories. Ultimately, scientists felt that providing a drug that allowed individuals to remember trauma, without having to relive the actual experience each time, would be beneficial in the healing process.
Specter’s discussion of the ethical complexity of this issue is quite fascinating. Specter gives a scientist’s account of this issue in writing, “We are talking about helping people who have been severely traumatized, and in many cases they are unable to function” (256). This point indicates that the treatment is only intended for those with severe traumatic experiences.
After reading various scenarios in Specter’s article, do you feel this drug would be ethical? How did that scenario influence your opinion? Please provide a page number citation.