Addressing the 'Global Basic Structure' in the Ethics of International Health Research Involving Human Subjects

Journal of Philosophical Research 30 (9999):235-249 (2005)
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The context of international health research involving human subjects, and this should appear obvious, is the human community. As such, basic questions of how human beings should be treated by other human beings, particularly in situations of unequal power – e.g., in the form of control, choice, or opportunity – lay at the foundations of related ethical discourse when ethics are discussed at all. I trace a narrative that follows upon a recent revision process of international guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects. I focus in particular upon the issue of a standard of care. In the second section, I draw upon philosophers John Rawls, Claudia Card, and Allen Buchanan to discuss concerns regarding the 'least advantaged members of society' in the context of global inequality. The paper includes reflections upon pedagogy in courses focused upon international health research involving human subjects.

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Janet Borgerson
DePaul University


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