Advertisement

Working from Both Ends: The Dual Role of Philosophy in Research Ethics

  • Allyn Fives
Chapter
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Abstract

If ethical principles can come into conflict, for example, in the debates about research ethics, in what way can philosophical analysis help resolve such conflicts? Through an examination of the work of Beauchamp and Childress, John Rawls, and Bernard Williams, Fives identifies a dual role for philosophy in research ethics. Through abstract and general theoretical reflection, which requires a significant degree of disengagement, we can examine such issues as whether moral conflicts arise in our ethical evaluation of research protocols. Through practical reasoning, which requires ongoing, direct involvement, we can pursue agreement on public matters, including cases where we are faced with moral dilemmas. This chapter combines theoretical analysis with a close examination of the moral dilemmas arising in one case study.

Keywords

Moral Dilemma Moral Duty Moral Consideration Public Reason Ethical Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. I would also like to thank Keith Breen, in particular, for his critical insights. I have written on this topic elsewhere, including a number of joint-authored papers with colleagues in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. I would also like to acknowledge the importance, for my own understanding of this field, of the work of colleagues on the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee, including Heike Schmidt-Felzmann, Brian McGuire, and Saoirse Nic Gabhainn. Finally, I would like to thank Joseph Mahon for starting my formal education in this area.

References

  1. Altman, D. G. (1991). Randomization: Essential for reducing bias. British Medical Journal, 302(6791), 1481–1482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Association of Research Ethics Committees (AREC). (2013). A framework of policies and procedures for university research ethics committees. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/21217/documents/independent-membership/12-11-13-framework-complete.pdf.
  3. Barnardos. (2008). Wizards of words’ manual for volunteers. Dublin: Barnardos.Google Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics (6th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bonell, C. P., Hargreaves, J., Ciousens, S., Ross, D., Hayes, R., Petticrew, M., & Kirkwood, B. R. (2011). Alternatives to randomisation in the evaluation of public health interventions: Design challenges and solutions. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65(7), 582–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boruch, R., Weisburd, D., Turner, H. M., III, Karpyn, A., & Littell, J. (2009). Randomized controlled trials for evaluation and planning. In L. Bickman & D. J. Rog (Eds.), The sage handbook of applied social research (2nd ed., pp. 147–181). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, G. (2002). What works for children with literacy difficulties? The effectiveness of intervention schemes. London: Department for Education and Skills. Retrieved July, 20, 2015 from http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR380.pdf.
  8. de Haan, J. (2001). The definition of moral dilemmas: A logical problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 4(3), 267–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Donagan, A. (1993). Moral dilemmas, genuine and spurious: A comparative anatomy. Ethics, 104(1), 7–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dryzek, J. S., & Niemeyer, S. (2006). Reconciling pluralism and consensus as political ideals. American Journal of Political Science, 50(3), 634–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fins, J. J., Bacchetta, M. D., & Miller, F. G. (1997). Clinical pragmatism: A method of moral problem solving. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 7(2), 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fives, A. (2013a). Non-coercive promotion of values in civic education for democracy. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 39(6), 577–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fives, A. (2013b). Political reason: Morality and the public sphere. Houndmills: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  14. Fives, A., Russell, D., Kearns, N., Lyons, R., Eaton, P., Canavan, J., Devaney, C., & O’Brien, A. (2013a). The role of random allocation in randomized controlled trials: Distinguishing selection bias from baseline imbalance. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 9(20), 33–42.Google Scholar
  15. Fives, A., Kearns, N., Devaney, C., Canavan, J., Russell, D., Lyons, R., Eaton, P., & O’Brien, A. (2013b). A one-to-one programme for at-risk readers delivered by older adult volunteers. Review of Education, 1(3), 254–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fives, A., Russell, D., Kearns, N., Lyons, R., Eaton, P., Canavan, J., Devaney, C., & O’Brien, A. (2015). The ethics of randomized controlled trials in social settings: Can social trials be scientifically promising and must there be equipoise? International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 38(1), 56–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foot, P. (2002). Moral dilemmas revisited. In P. Foot (Ed.), Moral dilemmas and other topics in moral philosophy (pp. 175–188). Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Freedman, B. (1987). Equipoise and the ethics of clinical research. New England Journal of Medicine, 317(3), 141–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Freedman, B. (1990). Placebo-controlled trials and the logic of clinical purpose. IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research, 12(6), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Freedman, B., Glass, K. C., & Weijer, C. (1996). Placebo orthodoxy in clinical research: II. Ethical, legal, and regulatory myths. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 24(3), 252–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Freeman, S. (2000). Deliberative democracy: A sympathetic comment. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 29(4), 371–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fried, C. (1974). Medical experimentation: Personal integrity and social policy. New York: American Elsevier.Google Scholar
  23. Ghate, D. (2001). Community-based evaluations in the UK: Scientific concerns and practical constraints. Children and Society, 15(1), 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hammersley, M. (2008). Paradigm war revived? On the diagnosis of resistance to randomized controlled trials and systematic review in education. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 31(1), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hare, R. M. (1981). Moral thinking: Its levels, method, and point. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Irish Council for Bioethics (ICB). (2004). Operational procedures for research ethics committees: Guidance 2004. Dublin: Irish Council for Bioethics.Google Scholar
  27. Jaded, A. (1998). Randomised controlled trials: A user’s guide. London: BMJ Books.Google Scholar
  28. Joffe, S., & Miller, F. G. (2008). Bench to bedside: Mapping the moral terrain of clinical research. Hastings Center Report, 38(2), 30–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jonsen, A. R. (1995). Casuistry: An alternative or complement to principles? Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 5(3), 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jonsen, A. R., & Toulmin, S. (1988). The abuse of casuistry: A history of moral reasoning. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  31. Juni, P., Altman, D. G., & Egger, M. (2001). Assessing the quality of controlled clinical trials. British Medical Journal, 323(7303), 42–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meier, J., & Invernizzi, M. (2001). Book buddies in the Bronx: Testing a model for America reads. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 6(4), 319–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Miller, F. G., & Brody, H. (2003). Therapeutic misconception in the ethics of clinical trials. Hastings Center Report, 33(3), 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Miller, F. G., & Brody, H. (2007). Clinical equipoise and the incoherence of research ethics. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 32(2), 151–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller, P. B., & Weijer, C. (2006). Fiduciary obligation in clinical research. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 34(2), 424–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, P. B., & Weijer, C. (2007). Equipoise and the duty of care in clinical research: A philosophical response to our critics. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 32(2), 117–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morrison, K. (2001). Randomised controlled trials for evidence-based education: Some problems in judging “what works”. Evaluation and Research in Education, 15(2), 69–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. National Economic and Social Forum (NESF). (2005). Early childhood care and education, Report 31. Dublin: NESF.Google Scholar
  39. Pullen, P. C., Lane, H. B., & Monaghan, M. C. (2004). Effects of a volunteer tutoring model on the early literacy development of struggling first grade students. Reading Research and Instruction, 43(4), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rawls, J. (1999a [1987]). The idea of an overlapping consensus. In S. Freeman (Ed.), John Rawls: Collected papers (pp. 421–448). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Rawls, J. (1999b [1997]). The idea of public reason revisited. In S. Freeman (Ed.), John Rawls: Collected papers (pp. 573–615). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Raz, J. (1990). Facing diversity: The case of epistemic abstinence. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 19(1), 3–46.Google Scholar
  43. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Kagan, J., & Byers, H. (1999). The effectiveness of adult volunteer tutoring on reading among ‘at risk’ first grade children. Reading Research and Instruction, 38(2), 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Scanlon, T. M. (2002). Reasons, responsibility, and reliance: Replies to Wallace, Dworkin, and Deigh. Ethics, 112(3), 507–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inferences. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.Google Scholar
  46. Stewart-Brown, S., Anthony, R., Wilson, L., Wintsanley, S., Stallard, N., Snooks, H., & Simkiss, D. (2011). Should randomised controlled trials be the “gold standard” for research on preventive interventions for children? Journal of Children’s Services, 6(4), 228–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thunder, D. (2006). A Rawlsian argument against the duty of civility. American Journal of Political Science, 50(3), 676–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Veatch, R. M. (1995). Resolving conflicts among principles: Ranking, balancing, and specifying. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 5(3), 199–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Veatch, R. M. (2007). The irrelevance of equipoise. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 32(2), 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Williams, B. (1965). Ethical consistency. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 39(Suppl.), 103–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allyn Fives
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Political Science and Sociology and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, at the National University of IrelandGalwayRepublic of Ireland

Personalised recommendations