, Volume 177, Issue 3, pp 427-447

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

In favour of a Millian proposal to reform biomedical research

  • Julian ReissAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Email author 


One way to make philosophy of science more socially relevant is to attend to specific scientific practises that affect society to a great extent. One such practise is biomedical research. This paper looks at contemporary U.S. biomedical research in particular and argues that it suffers from important epistemic, moral and socio-economic failings. It then discusses and criticises existing approaches to improve on the status quo, most prominently by Thomas Pogge (a political philosopher), Joseph Stiglitz (a Nobel-prize winning economist) and James Robert Brown (a philosopher of science). Finally, it sketches an alternative proposal and argues for its superiority. The proposal has four components: changing the intellectual property regime; instituting independent clinical research; aligning innovators’ and patients’ interests; and enacting additional regulation.


Biomedical research John Stuart Mill Global Justice Methodology