Exploitation in Bioethics – University of Copenhagen

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Exploitation in Bioethics

Workshop organized by the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, Section for Philosophy / Convergent Ethics and Ethics of Controversy (CEEC).

Exploitation occupies a significant place in certain bioethical debates, particularly within clinical research, commercial surrogacy, biobanking, and organ trade. In these domains, moral concerns regarding, for example, fairness in transaction, decision-making on the backdrop of disadvantaged circumstances, and the burdens of risk of some persons for the benefit of others, are commonly conveyed in terms of exploitation. In most deliberations about exploitation in bioethics, exploitation has a certain tie to a concept of vulnerability: exploitation is particularly emphasized, and has particular rhetorical force, when affecting people in vulnerable circumstances. Some theories of exploitation are directly vulnerability-based, while others are confronted with the stark intuitions that there is something morally unsavory about situations allowing entrance into exploitative relations, despite the presence of (at least formal) consent.

While the concept has gained a certain level of scholarly attention in recent years, it remains muddy and underexplored. The aim of this workshop is to address this blurry picture, believing that the understanding of exploitation and its relevance for bioethics would benefit greatly from further conceptual analyses, examination of implications in terms of appropriate moral responses, inquiry into its components such as benefit or unfairness, and investigations of its connections to concepts such as vulnerability, voluntariness and consent.

Apart from the aforementioned bioethical domains, bioethics at large has been relatively void of considerations of exploitation. Ethical scrutiny of e.g. emerging biotechnologies such as personalized medicine or gene editing, tend to focus on issues of consent, benefit and risk, potentially leaving out relevant concerns of that may be framed in terms of exploitation. Can attention to the concept of exploitation contribute to a more complete ethics of biotechnologies, help organizing and formulating particular ethical concerns, or guide ethically appropriate implementations of certain biotechnologies?


Thursday, November 8th

09:00 – 09:15  Coffee

09:15 – 09:30  Welcome

09:30 – 10:30 (keynote)  Exploitation and Remedial Duties
                                           Erik Malmqvist

10:30 – 10:45  Break

10:45 – 11:30  Clinical Research in the Developing World: Two Perspectives on
                          Valeria di Gaetano

11:30 – 12:15  Exploitation and the Social Value Requirement
                         Katla Heðinsdóttir

12:15 – 13:30  Lunch

13:30 – 14:15  Egalitarian justice, exploitation, and complicity
                         Felicitas Holzer

14:15 – 15:00  Vulnerability as disenfranchisement
                         Stanislas Richard

15:00 – 15:30  Break

15:30 – 16:30  TBA
                         Peter Falk

19:00  Conference dinner (location TBA)

Friday, November 9th

09:00 – 9:30  Coffee

09:30 – 10:30 (keynote)  Exploitation, agency, and domination in transnational surrogacy
                                           Danielle Wenner

10:30 – 10:45  Break

10:45 – 11:30  Exploitation and Permissibility
                         Gulzaar Barn

11:30 – 12:15  Exploitation and not informed consent is what we should worry abou
                          when using health data
                         Sara Belfrage

12:15 – 13:15  Lunch

13:15 – 14:00  Exploitation and machine learning
                         Egle Obscarkaite

14:00 – 15:00 (keynote)  Structural exploitation and expressive content
                                           Ruth Sample

15:00-  Farewell reception

The workshop is free of charge and open to researchers and students at all levels. If you wish to attend, please register with Katla Heðinsdóttir.