, Volume 177, Issue 3, pp 427–447

In favour of a Millian proposal to reform biomedical research

Open Access

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9790-7

Cite this article as:
Reiss, J. Synthese (2010) 177: 427. doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9790-7


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 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhilosophyErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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