How is it that we think and refer in the first-person way? For most philosophers in the analytic tradition, the problem is essentially this: how two apparently conflicting kinds of properties can be reconciled and united as properties of the same entity. What is special about the first person has to be reconciled with what is ordinary about it. The range of responses reduces to four basic options. The orthodox view is optimistic: there really is a way of reconciling these (...) apparently contradictory properties as contained within the same thing. The heretical views are pessimistic and content to be so: there is no such way, and that is because there is simply nothing to reconcile – because there is really nothing special about what is in question; or there is really nothing ordinary about it; or there is really nothing …. (shrink)
The notion of respect for autonomy dominates bioethical discussion, though what qualifies precisely as autonomous action is notoriously elusive. In recent decades, the notion of autonomy in medical contexts has often been defined in opposition to the notion of autonomy favoured by theoretical philosophers. Where many contemporary theoretical accounts of autonomy place emphasis on a condition of “authenticity”, the special relation a desire must have to the self, bioethicists often regard such a focus as irrelevant to the concerns of medical (...) ethics, and too stringent for use in practical contexts. I argue, however, that the very condition of authenticity that forms a focus in theoretical philosophy is also essential to autonomy and competence in medical ethics. After tracing the contours of contemporary authenticity-based theories of autonomy, I consider and respond to objections against the incorporation of a notion of authenticity into accounts of autonomy designed for use in medical contexts. By looking at the typical problems that arise when making judgments concerning autonomy or competence in a medical setting, I reveal the need for a condition of authenticity—as a means of protecting choices, particularly high-stakes choices, from being restricted or overridden on the basis of intersubjective disagreement. I then turn to the treatment of false and contestable beliefs, arguing that it is only through reference to authenticity that we can make important distinctions in this domain. Finally, I consider a potential problem with my proposed approach; its ability to deal with anorexic and depressive desires. (shrink)
How could the initial, drastic decisions to implement “lockdowns” to control the spread of COVID-19 infections be justifiable, when they were made on the basis of such uncertain evidence? We defend the imposition of lockdowns in some countries by first, and focusing on the UK, looking at the evidence that undergirded the decision, second, arguing that this provided us with sufficient grounds to restrict liberty given the circumstances, and third, defending the use of poorly-empirically-constrained epidemiological models as tools that can (...) legitimately guide public policy. (shrink)
With the Supreme Court’s landmark _Brown_ decisions of 1954 and 1955, American education changed forever. But _Brown_ was just the beginning, and Raymond Wolters contends that its best intentions have been taken to unnecessary extremes. In this compelling study, a scholar who has long observed the traumas of school desegregation uncovers the changes and difficulties with which public education has dealt over the last fifty years—and argues that some judicial decisions were ill-advised. Dealing candidly with matters usually considered taboo (...) in academic discourse, Wolters argues that the Supreme Court acted correctly and in accordance with public sentiment in _Brown_ but that it later took a wrong turn by equating desegregation with integration. Retracing the history of desegregation and integration in America’s schools, Wolters distinguishes between several Court decisions, explaining that while _Brown_ called for desegregation by requiring that schools deal with students on a racially nondiscriminatory basis, subsequent decisions—_Green, Swann, Keyes_—required actual integration through racial balancing. He places these decisions in the context of educational reform in the 1950s that sought to encourage bright students through advanced placement and honors courses—courses in which African American and Hispanic students were less likely to be enrolled. Then with the racial unrest of the 1960s, the pursuit of academic excellence yielded to concerns for uplifting disadvantaged youths and ensuring the predominance of middle-class peer groups in schools. Wolters draws on rich historical records to document the devastating consequences of requiring racial balance and sheds new light on America’s legal, social, and cultural landscapes. He reexamines the educational theories of Kenneth Clark and James Coleman, and he challenges statistics that support the results of racial balancing by describing how school desegregation and integration actually proceeded in several towns, cities, and counties. _Race and Education_ is a bold challenge to political correctness in education and a corrective to the now widely accepted notion that desegregation and racially balanced integration are one and the same. It is essential reading for scholars of law and education and a wake-up call for citizens concerned about the future of America’s schools. (shrink)
Leading biologists and philosophers of biology discuss the basic theories and concepts of biology and their connections with ethics, economics, and psychology, providing a remarkably unified report on the “state of the art” in the philosophy of biology.
Andrea Wiggins and John Wilbanks’ article (2019) presents us with a welcome overview of the neglected, novel ethical issues raised by the advent of citizen science in health and biomedical contexts. This contribution takes a rather different approach, focusing on a very specific (yet also overlooked) problem in this context - the ethical implications of self-administered genetic testing. This problem, however, is particularly illustrative of the “ethics gap” between traditional medical settings and new public-driven scientific practices, emphasized by Wiggins and (...) Wilbanks in their more wide-ranging treatment. (shrink)
Following the philosophical work of Jürgen Mittelstrass, the papers presented in this volume justify this thesis and differentiate it in both its historical and its systematic dimension (including its practical philosophical implications).
In this book, Lucy Jane Ward argues that although contemporary scholarship tends to divide Agnes Heller's work chronologically in terms of her “Marxist” and subsequent “post-Marxist” periods, a closer reading reveals her work as a continuing engagement both with and against Marx's idea of the human being rich in need.
Respect for autonomy and beneficence are frequently regarded as the two essential principles of medical ethics, and the potential for these two principles to come into conflict is often emphasised as a fundamental problem. On the one hand, we have the value of beneficence, the driving force of medicine, which demands that medical professionals act to protect or promote the wellbeing of patients or research subjects. On the other, we have a principle of respect for autonomy, which demands that we (...) respect the self-regarding decisions of individuals. As well as routinely coming into opposition with the demands of beneficence in medicine, the principle of respect for autonomy in medical ethics is often seen as providing protection against beneficial coercion (i.e. paternalism) in medicine. However, these two values are not as straightforwardly opposed as they may appear on the surface. In fact, the way that we understand autonomy can lead us to implicitly sanction a great deal of paternalistic action, or can smuggle in paternalistic elements under the guise of respect for autonomy. -/- This paper is dedicated to outlining three ways in which the principle of respect for autonomy, depending on how we understand the concept of autonomy, can sanction or smuggle in paternalistic elements. As the specific relationship between respect for autonomy and beneficence will depend on how we conceive of autonomy, I begin by outlining two dominant conceptions of autonomy, both of which have great influence in medical ethics. I then turn to the three ways in which how we understand or employ autonomy can increase or support paternalism: firstly, when we equate respect for autonomy with respect for persons; secondly, when our judgements about what qualifies as an autonomous action contain intersubjective elements; and thirdly, when we expect autonomy to play an instrumental role, that is, when we expect people, when they are acting autonomously, to act in a way that promotes or protects their own wellbeing. I then provide a proposal for how we might work to avoid this. I will suggest that it may be impossible to fully separate paternalistic elements out from judgements about autonomy. Instead, we are better off looking at why we are motivated to use judgements about autonomy as a means of restricting the actions of patients or research subjects. I will argue that this is a result of discomfort about speaking directly about our beneficent motivations in medical ethics. Perhaps we can reduce the incentive to smuggle in these beneficent motivations under the guise of autonomy by talking directly about beneficent motivations in medicine. This will also force us to recognise paternalistic motivations in medicine when they appear, and to justify paternalism where it occurs. (shrink)
Lucy Allais presents an original interpretation of Kant's transcendental idealism. She argues that his distinction between things in themselves and things as they appear to us has both epistemological and metaphysical components. Kant is committed to a genuine idealism about things as they appear to us, but this is not a phenomenalist idealism. He is committed to the claim that there is an aspect of reality that grounds mind-dependent spatio-temporal objects, and which we cannot cognize, but he does not assert (...) the existence of distinct non-spatio-temporal objects. On Allais's account, we cannot understand Kant's idealism without a clear account of his notion of intuition and of the role of intuition in cognition: she understands Kantian intuitions as representations that give us acquaintance with the objects of thought. This enables us to make sense of Kant's central argument for his idealism in the Transcendental Aesthetic, and to see why he takes the complete idealist position to be established there. (shrink)
In a review of the book “Manifest Reality. Kant's Idealism and his Realism” I present Lucy Allais's moderate metaphysical interpretation of Kant's transcendental idealism. An overview of the structure of the book acquaints the reader with the author's argumentation strategy. Allais criticizes the dominant interpretations of Kant's transcendental idealism and reveals their contradictions. Further, she develops her own interpretation of Kant's position, combining realism and idealism, metaphysical and epistemological judgments. Intuition plays a central role in the elicited epistemological contrast between (...) intuition and concepts, and between intuition and sensation. (shrink)
A new therapeutic strategy could break the stalemate in the war on cancer by targeting not all cancerous cells but the small fraction that lie at the root of cancers. Lucie Laplane offers a comprehensive analysis of cancer stem cell theory, based on an original interdisciplinary approach that combines biology, biomedical history, and philosophy.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, high hopes were put on digital contact tracing, using mobile phone apps to record and immediately notify contacts when a user reports as infected. Such apps can now be downloaded in many countries, but as second waves of COVID-19 are raging, these apps are playing a less important role than anticipated. We argue that this is because most countries have opted for app configurations that cannot provide a means of rapidly informing users of (...) likely infections while avoiding too many false positive reports. Mathematical modelling suggests that differently configured apps have the potential to do this. These require, however, that some pseudonymised data be stored on a central server, which privacy advocates have cautioned against. We contend that their influential arguments are subject to two fallacies. First, they have tended to one-sidedly focus on the risks that centralised data storage entails for privacy, while paying insufficient attention to the fact that inefficient contact tracing involves ethical risks too. Second, while the envisioned system does entail risks of breaches, such risks are also present in decentralised systems, which have been falsely presented as ‘privacy preserving by design’. When these points are understood, it becomes clear that we must rethink our approach to digital contact tracing in our fight against COVID-19. There are no data in this work. (shrink)
Visual search studies have shown that East Asians rely more on information gathered through their extrafoveal (i.e., peripheral) vision than do Western Caucasians, who tend to rely more on information gathered using their foveal (i.e., central) vision. However, the reasons for this remain unclear. Cognitive linguists suggest that the difference is attributable linguistic variation, while cultural psychologists contend it is due to cultural factors. The current study used eye-tracking data collected during a visual search task to compare these explanations by (...) leveraging a semantic difference against a cultural difference to determine which view best explained strategies used on the task. The task was administered to Chinese, American, and Japanese participants with a primary focus on the Chinese participants’ behaviors since the semantic difference aligned the Chinese participants with the Americans, while their cultural affiliation aligned them with the Japanese participants. The results indicated that the Chinese group aligned more closely with the American group on most measures, suggesting that semantic differences were more important than cultural affiliation on this particular task. However, there were some results that could not be accounted for by the semantic differences, suggesting that linguistic and cultural factors might affect visual search strategies concurrently. (shrink)
There is a common problem in artificial intelligence (AI) and information security. In AI, an expert system needs to be able to justify and explain a decision to the user. In information security, experts need to be able to explain to the public why a system is secure. In both cases, an important goal of explanation is to acquire or maintain the users’ trust. In this paper, I investigate the relation between explanation and trust in the context of computing science. (...) This analysis draws on literature study and concept analysis, using elements from system theory as well as actor-network theory. I apply the conceptual framework to both AI and information security, and show the benefit of the framework for both fields by means of examples. The main focus is on expert systems (AI) and electronic voting systems (security). Finally, I discuss consequences of the analysis for ethics in terms of (un)informed consent and dissent, and the associated division of responsibilities. (shrink)
In our high-tech society, the design process involves profound questions about the effects of the resulting goods, and the responsibilities of designers. In the philosophy of technology, effects of “things” on user experience and behaviour have been discussed in terms of the concept of technological mediation. Meanwhile, what we create has moved more and more towards services (processes) rather than products (things), in particular in the context of information services. The question is raised to what extent the concept of technological (...) mediation is adequate to understand effects and responsibilities in information services as well. Therefore, this paper discusses differences between product aspects and service aspects of our creations, and evaluates the applicability of the concept of technological mediation to information services. Specific features of a notion of technological mediation for information services are highlighted, in particular with respect to the different relation between production and consumption. Finally, the paper focuses on the ethical consequences of service impact, and recommendations for service providers, especially in terms of the possibilities for second-order mediation by inviting users to change service properties. (shrink)
Euthanasia and assisted suicide have proved to be very contentious topics in medical ethics. Some ethicists are particularly concerned that allowing physicians to carry out these procedures will undermine their professional obligations and threaten the very goals of medicine. However, I maintain that the fundamental goals of medicine not only do not preclude the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide by physicians, but can in fact be seen to support these practices in some instances. I look at two influential views (...) of the goals of medicine, one based on the broad guiding principles of autonomy, beneficence and nonmaleficence, and the other focusing on several more concrete aims, concluding that both approaches can be seen to support euthanasia and assisted suicide. I then turn to the popular concern that allowing physicians to carry out euthanasia and assisted suicide will lead to widespread abuse. I argue that the possibility for abuse can be minimised if we make the patient's autonomous consent an essential requirement of the practice. (shrink)
When talking about personal identity in the context of medical ethics, ethicists tend to borrow haphazardly from different philosophical notions of personal identity, or to abjure these abstract metaphysical concerns as having nothing to do with practical questions in medical ethics. In fact, however, part of the moral authority for respecting a patient’s self-regarding decisions can only be made sense of if we make certain assumptions that are central to a particular, psychological picture of personal identity, namely, that patients will (...) remain psychologically connected to a certain degree with their future selves. I draw this out, show problems with approaches in medical ethics based on alternate theories of personal identity that do not recognise this, and explore some important implications. Namely, I show how this recognition can better explain the circumstances under which we should respect advance directives and why, and how it can better make sense of patient fears that they will not "survive" personality-altering deep brain stimulation procedures, and provide guidance on approaching patient decisions concerning this type of procedure in a manner that captures and addresses such concerns. (shrink)
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, high hopes were placed on digital contact tracing. Digital contact tracing apps can now be downloaded in many countries, but as further waves of COVID-19 tear through much of the northern hemisphere, these apps are playing a less important role in interrupting chains of infection than anticipated. We argue that one of the reasons for this is that most countries have opted for decentralised apps, which cannot provide a means of rapidly informing users (...) of likely infections while avoiding too many false positive reports. Centralised apps, in contrast, have the potential to do this. But policy making was influenced by public debates about the right app configuration, which have tended to focus heavily on privacy, and are driven by the assumption that decentralised apps are “privacy preserving by design”. We show that both types of apps are in fact vulnerable to privacy breaches, and, drawing on principles from safety engineering and risk analysis, compare the risks of centralised and decentralised systems along two dimensions, namely the probability of possible breaches and their severity. We conclude that a centralised app may in fact minimise overall ethical risk, and contend that we must reassess our approach to digital contact tracing, and should, more generally, be cautious about a myopic focus on privacy when conducting ethical assessments of data technologies. (shrink)
We propose a logic for reasoning about metric spaces with the induced topologies. It combines the 'qualitative' interior and closure operators with 'quantitative' operators 'somewhere in the sphere of radius r.' including or excluding the boundary. We supply the logic with both the intended metric space semantics and a natural relational semantics, and show that the latter (i) provides finite partial representations of (in general) infinite metric models and (ii) reduces the standard '∈-definitions' of closure and interior to simple constraints (...) on relations. These features of the relational semantics suggest a finite axiomatisation of the logic and provide means to prove its EXPTIME-completeness (even if the rational numerical parameters are coded in binary). An extension with metric variables satisfying linear rational (in)equalities is proved to be decidable as well. Our logic can be regarded as a 'well-behaved' common denominator of logical systems constructed in temporal, spatial, and similarity-based quantitative and qualitative representation and reasoning. Interpreted on the real line (with its Euclidean metric), it is a natural fragment of decidable temporal logics for specification and verification of real-time systems. On the real plane, it is closely related to quantitative and qualitative formalisms for spatial representation and reasoning, but this time the logic becomes undecidable. (shrink)
Actor network theory and supply chainmanagement theory provide suggestive researchdirections for understanding regional agri-foodnetworks. These theories claim that relationshipsbased upon trust and cooperation are critical to thestrength and vitality of the network. This means thatexploring and detailing these relationships among thesuppliers, producers, workers, processors, brokers,wholesalers, and retailers within specific regionalgeographies of these networks are critical forfurthering cooperation and trust. Key areas ofcooperation include resource sharing andapprenticeship programs. Employing food networks as akey unit of contextual analysis will deepen ourunderstanding of how (...) to enhance their resiliency andvibrancy. Important questions can be raised about thedifference gender makes for farmers, brokers,entrepreneurs, and workers in local food networks. (shrink)
We invite systematic consideration of the metaphors of cycles and circulation as a long-term theme in the history of the life and environmental sciences and medicine. Ubiquitous in ancient religious and philosophical traditions, especially in representing the seasons and the motions of celestial bodies, circles once symbolized perfection. Over the centuries cyclic images in western medicine, natural philosophy, natural history and eventually biology gained independence from cosmology and theology and came to depend less on strictly circular forms. As potent ‘canonical (...) icons’, cycles also interacted with representations of linear and irreversible change, including arrows, arcs, scales, series and trees, as in theories of the Earth and of evolution. In modern times life cycles and reproductive cycles have often been held to characterize life, in some cases especially female life, while human efforts selectively to foster and disrupt these cycles have harnessed their productivity in medicine and agriculture. But strong cyclic metaphors have continued to link physiology and climatology, medicine and economics, and biology and manufacturing, notably through the relations between land, food and population. From the grand nineteenth-century transformations of matter to systems ecology, the circulation of molecules through organic and inorganic compartments has posed the problem of maintaining identity in the face of flux and highlights the seductive ability of cyclic schemes to imply closure where no original state was in fact restored. More concerted attention to cycles and circulation will enrich analyses of the power of metaphors to naturalize understandings of life and their shaping by practical interests and political imaginations. (shrink)
PurposeThe aim of the research described was to identify reasons for differences between discourses on electronic voting in the UK and The Netherlands, from a qualitative point of view.Design/methodology/approachFrom both countries, eight e‐voting experts were interviewed on their expectations, risk estimations, cooperation and learning experiences. The design was based on the theory of strategic niche management. A qualitative analysis of the data was performed to refine the main variables and identify connections.FindingsThe results show that differences in these variables can partly (...) explain the variations in the embedding of e‐voting in the two countries, from a qualitative point of view. Key differences include the goals of introducing e‐voting, concerns in relation to verifiability and authenticity, the role of the Electoral Commissions and a focus on learning versus a focus on phased introduction.Research limitations/implicationsThe current study was limited to two countries. More empirical data can reveal other relevant subvariables, and contribute to a framework that can improve our understanding of the challenges of electronic voting.Originality/valueThis study shows the context‐dependent character of discussions on information security. It can be informative for actors involved in e‐voting in the UK and The Netherlands, and other countries using or considering electronic voting. (shrink)
Conceiving new technologies as social experiments is a means to discuss responsible deployment of technologies that may have unknown and potentially harmful side-effects. Thus far, the uncertain outcomes addressed in the paradigm of new technologies as social experiments have been mostly safety-related, meaning that potential harm is caused by the design plus accidental events in the environment. In some domains, such as cyberspace, adversarial agents may be at least as important when it comes to undesirable effects of deployed technologies. In (...) such cases, conditions for responsible experimentation may need to be implemented differently, as attackers behave strategically rather than probabilistically. In this contribution, we outline how adversarial aspects are already taken into account in technology deployment in the field of cyber security, and what the paradigm of new technologies as social experiments can learn from this. In particular, we show the importance of adversarial roles in social experiments with new technologies. (shrink)
This article returns to Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophical oeuvre in order to offer a way of thinking beyond contemporary feminist divisions created by ‘gender critical’ or trans-exclusionary feminists. The ‘gender critical’ feminist position returns to sex essentialism to argue for ‘abolishing’ gender, while opponents often appeal to proliferated gender self-identities. I argue that neither goes far enough and that they both circumscribe utopian visions for a world beyond both sex and gender. I chart how Beauvoir’s ontological, ethical and political positions (...) can be used to overcome the material/cultural, sex/gender bind that the contemporary divide perpetuates. I outline Beauvoir’s ‘ambiguous’ non-foundational ontology that attends to both the cultural origins, and material effects, of both sex and gender, and to the extent that humyns are fundamentally social. After outlining Beauvoir’s definition of freedom as purposive action, I then outline how the existence of the humyn-made and intersubjectively-upheld ‘situations’ of both sex and gender delimit this, urging feminists to return to the lost question of eradicating both. I use the utopian impulse in Beauvoir to argue that an ethics of reciprocity is an alternative mode of understanding the self and others. Beauvoir also calls for a political strategy that I call a ‘utopian realism’ that I apply to the contemporary divide. A way forward that is attentive to the concerns of both positions is the pragmatic use of identity politics that is nonetheless mindful of identity’s limits, alongside Beauvoir’s proto-intersectional vision of solidarity politics based not on identity but on a position of alterity and shared political strategy. Ultimately, I use this to argue that feminism would do better to unite around a shared commitment to challenging alterity, rather than further contributing to it. (shrink)
Like any discipline, bioethics is a developing field of academic inquiry; and recent trends in scholarship have been towards more engagement with empirical research. This ‘empirical turn’ has provoked extensive debate over how such ‘descriptive’ research carried out in the social sciences contributes to the distinctively normative aspect of bioethics. This paper will address this issue by developing a practical research methodology for the inclusion of data from social science studies into ethical deliberation. This methodology will be based on a (...) naturalistic conception of ethical theory that sees practice as informing theory just as theory informs practice – the two are symbiotically related. From this engagement with practice, the ways that such theories need to be extended and developed can be determined. This is a practical methodology for integrating theory and practice that can be used in empirical studies, one that uses ethical theory both to explore the data and to draw normative conclusions. (shrink)
Callender claims that `time is the great informer', meaning that the direction in which our `best' physical theories inform are temporal. This is intended to be a metaphysical claim, and as such expresses a relationship between the physical world and information-gathering systems such as ourselves. This paper gives two counterexamples to this claim, illustrating the fact that time and informative strength doubly dissociate, so the claim cannot be about physical theories in general. The first is a case where physical theories (...) inform in directions that we have no reason to regard as temporal. The second is a case where our best physical theories fail to inform in directions that we have independent reasons to regard as temporal. Taking these two cases into account suggests that the connection Callender makes between time and informativeness is perspectival. The second case demonstrates that, although scientists often seek information in temporal directions, the behaviour of the physical world can present serious difficulties for finding it. In response, this paper proposes a perspectival reading of Callender's claim, according to which the connection between time and informative strength has more to do with the aims and objectives of science than the workings of the physical world. (shrink)
This book considers the thought and personalities of two popular icons of twentieth century philosophical and psychological thought - Nietzsche and Jung - and reveals the extraordinary connections between them. Through a thorough examination of their work, Nietzsche and Jung succeeds in illuminating complex areas of Nietzsche's thought and resolving ambiguities in Jung's reception of these theories. This demonstration of how our understanding of analytical psychology can be enriched by investigating its philosophical roots will be of great interest to students (...) in psychology, philosophy and religion as well as practising Jungian analysts. (shrink)
This article is concerned with a discussion of the plausibility of the claim that GM technology has the potential to provide the hungry with sufficient food for subsistence. Following a brief outline of the potential applications of GM in this context, a history of the green revolution and its impact will be discussed in relation to the current developing world agriculture situation. Following a contemporary analysis of malnutrition, the claim that GM technology has the potential to provide the hungry with (...) sufficient nourishment will be discussed within the domain of moral philosophy to determine whether there exists a moral obligation to pursue this end if and only if the technology proves to be relatively safe and effective. By using Peter Singer’s duty of moral rescue, I argue that we have a moral duty to assist the third world through the distribution of such GM plants. I conclude the paper by demonstrating that my argument can be supported by applying a version of the Precautionary Principle on the grounds that doing nothing might be worse for the current situation. (shrink)
The purpose of this dissertation is to identify some of the most pressing problems in the dominant contemporary approach to research ethics, and to devise an alternative approach that avoids these problems. I contend that the fundamental ethical values invoked in human research are often appealed to in contradictory or ambiguous ways, or in ways that do not adequately capture or do not show an adequate understanding of the specific ethical concerns of human research. One significant problem in this domain (...) is that values for ethical research are often unreflectively imported from medical therapy, producing ill-suited guidelines that cannot capture the different ethical situations that arise in the context of research. Furthermore, ethical guidelines in this area are often not developed with a sufficient understanding of the deep philosophical issues that they invoke. I suggest that we can address these problems through examining the fundamental ethical concerns of research on a philosophical level. This method will reveal severe problems with the approach to two of the ethical values underlying research; beneficence and respect for autonomy (or respect for persons). Once the nature of these problems has been revealed, and with reference to ethical problems that typically arise in the domain of research, I construct a coherent philosophical foundation for research ethics, which both avoids these deep-seated problems and better captures the ethical issues that arise in the domain of human research. I argue that we need to radically depart from the values of beneficence and autonomy/respect for persons as they are currently understood in the guidelines. We need an idea of beneficence that is clearly distinct from that which is used in the therapeutic medical context from which this notion is currently drawn. I also contend that we need to move away from autonomy as a central value in research ethics. I posit an alternative choice-based approach to informed consent which is concerned both with respecting agents’ freedom of choice, and also with their wellbeing, as providing a good means of protecting and promoting the interests of the individual research subject. Although these two imperatives are often thought to clash on a fundamental level, I will show that, in research ethics, they can be reconciled with minimal conflict. Though this represents a departure from the ethics of medical therapy, this approach is far more suited to the context of research. This theoretical basis for informed consent can help to clarify the ethical problems that are specific to this domain and provide us with relevant ethical guidance in research ethics. (shrink)