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Editor’s note: How can we make a difference? The perils of heroism
  1. J Savulescu
  1. Correspondence to:
 Julian Savulescu
 Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK;

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When bioethicists work together, and bioethics societies contribute to policy formation, we shall have learned from the Olivieri affair.

Francoise Baylis asks where were the heroes in the Olivieri affair?1

There is definitely something to be said for heroism. There is the obvious good that heroes do. Plucking the baby from the burning building. Crossing enemy lines to destroy a heavy water project that would have spelt the creation of a Nazi atomic bomb.

There is also the inspiration heroes give to all of us to be better people, even if not nearly so brave as them: and life is generally dull and colourless—where would we (and Hollywood) be without heroes.

Heroism, however, has costs. Some attempts fall …

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