NURC 2014 – Ethical Dilemmas in the Public Sphere

First session of the National Undergraduate Research Conference 2014, held in MCPH on January 26th and 27th.


Puruvi Baraya

Should People With Mental Illness Be Given Legal Capacity?

In India, persons with mental illness are reduced to virtually having no right to independent decision making. As India is in the process of amending its disability laws, there is a bitter battle raging between the warring camps, over the shape and content of the forthcoming law. In the whirlpool of this controversy, the government has put forward the draft of the proposed Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012. This paper is based on a critical analysis of the bills’ provisions and the workability of its proposals, given the ground realities operating in India currently.



Neetha Shenoy

Awareness and Attitude Towards Research Ethics
Among Faculty of Dental Sciences
in Various Dental Colleges 
in Mangalore, India

Research needs to be guided by four fundamental ethical principles: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. The objective of the present cross-sectional study is to assess awareness and attitude towards research ethics among faculty in dental colleges. Results show that for about 19.2% participants, the roles of ethics committee are to review the ethical aspects of the research, to review the scientific design of the research and to protect the welfare and rights of the subjects in the research. About 34.6% said that in India, ICMR guidelines are considered to be essential guidelines followed in research. About 50% of participants did not undergo any training in research ethics. About 42% agreed that ethical review of research is not necessary for record based retrospective studies.



Poonam Das

The Euthanasia Dilemma

My research paper discusses euthanasia being as an ethical dilemma. How is it pertaining to the public sphere? When someone wants to die on his/her own will (as he or she is suffering of incurable disease or in excruciating pain), the decision of dying is not only the person’s own: people around also play an important factor in it. As the etymology tells us, euthanasia means a ‘dignified death’. Thus, it the question becomes: should mercy killing a.k.a euthanasia be considered a dignified death or not?



Shyamli Mishra

Changing Mores: Sexual Orientation

The historical concept and definition of sexual orientation has changed greatly over time. A number of classification schemes have been used to describe sexual orientation since the mid-20th century. This research paper explores the changes in the attitudes towards sexual orientation in the 21st century. A survey conducted on 30 people of the age 17-23 gave an indication of the acceptance towards different sexual orientations (chi value 13.19), while the other 30 people of age 45 and above did not show as much acceptance (chi value 13.40) thus marking difference of .81. The role of the family is to create an environment of transparency in such a way that confiding to family members would not be difficult. In such an atmosphere, children choose to disclose information judiciously, completely aware of the positive and negative consequences of their doing so. In recent years, attitudes towards homosexuality have shifted slightly. In particular, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the Indian news and media.


Q&A Session



Charu Thapliyal

Decision Making and Free Will

This paper seeks to shed light on certain aspects of decision making in the public sphere. Can an individual really speak for others, even though no two individuals have the same circumstances? Many decisions taken by a particular individual may not be in the best interest of the universal group. Does that give an individual the right to be a flagbearer of change in the form of radical decisions? Following up on that, do we truly have free will if our decisions are closely guided and formulated by their ramifications on other people?



Ferzine Imtiaz

Breaking Bad? Wikileaks & Questions of Transparency

The paper begins by exploring how it is possible to situate Wikileaks in the public sphere. It also draws parallels between the close connection between democracy and transparency on the one hand, and bureaucracy and secrecy on the other. By arguing that the effects of leaking information are far from predictable, it demonstrates how consequentialist arguments against Wikileaks are often unfounded. The crux of the paper, however, is how transparency is an extension of true belief and how Wikileaks’ scientific journalism can be interpreted as an attempt to encourage epistemic thoroughness, in times when the fourth estate is proving itself increasingly unreliable.



Ugyal Lama

Social Media: The New Public Sphere

Social media offer the hope of reviving the public sphere. They provide the platform for individuals to interact at a level which can be identified as a public sphere. Social media allow the communication between many to many, rather than the transfer of information from one to many. They have the potential to function as a mouthpiece and conscience, the capacity to voice ideas/opinions that are established with the view of social responsibility and relating to stories and issues that would rarely make it to the mainstream media. Social media can be the new public sphere.



Shriyam Gupta

Morality in Public Spaces

In the public sphere, referring to a common space shared by people, different conceptions of morality clash and thus the state steps in, to negotiate the differences. Though there is no conclusive evidence of it, state banned public smoking because second-hand smoke causes harm to non-smokers. The move directly contradicts the right to liberty of an individual to indulge in activities as he/she sees, in any space. The state, however, chose to ban it in the public interest of better health measures, prioritizing values of one group over another. In my paper, I explore the different moralities behind the ban.


Q&A Session





One response to “NURC 2014 – Ethical Dilemmas in the Public Sphere

  1. Pingback: National Undergraduate Research Conference 2014 | Barefoot Philosophers·

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