Health, Food, and Science

Jan De Winter, Laszlo Kosolosky

Abstract


We offer several new arguments for the view that existing research agendas in the health sciences and the agricultural sciences are morally deficient. More specifically, the following kinds of distortion of the agenda are discussed: in the health sciences, the health problems of the poor are more or less neglected, as well as non-medicinal solutions to health problems, and in the agricultural sciences, insufficient attention is paid to agroecology. We justify the claim that these three kinds of distortion are problematic on ethical grounds, showing that they are moral failures. Instead of starting from one ethical theory to show this, we present different ethical justifications, based on different ethical theories (Bentham’s utilitarianism, Rawls’s theory of justice, Pogge’s rights-based account of minimal justice, Kitcher’s ethical theory, and classical liberalism). This should make our conclusion (i.e. that the distorted research agendas in the health sciences and the agricultural sciences pose a moral problem) at least initially convincing to adherents of different ethical theories.

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