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The Ethical Challenges of Human ResearchSelected Essays$
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Franklin G. Miller

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199896202

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896202.001.0001

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Situating Research ethics

Situating Research ethics

Revisiting Beecher and Jonas

(p.3) 1 Situating Research ethics
The Ethical Challenges of Human Research

Franklin G. Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter situates the emergence of research ethics and regulation with a critical examination of two seminal papers published during the 1960s: Henry Beecher's whistle-blower account of twenty-two cases of abusive medical research and Hans Jonas's philosophical reflections on human experimentation. Beecher was a distinguished professor of anesthesiology at Harvard University and an accomplished medical investigator; Jonas was a philosopher (and student of Martin Heidegger) who emigrated to the United States and taught philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City. The papers by Beecher and Jonas both have enduring importance in drawing attention to the potential of medical experimentation to expose research subjects to unjustifiable risks of harm and to exploitation. However, neither Beecher nor Jonas discussed the need to regulate the design and conduct of clinical research by an institutional process of prior review and ongoing oversight by independent committees charged with the protection of research subjects.

Keywords:   research ethics, Henry Beecher, medical research, Hans Jonas, human experimentation, medical experimentation, research subjects, clinical research

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