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Summary This section is on the hypothetical genetic modification of human individuals through genetic engineering and the actual modification of the gene pool through (eugenic or disgenic) genetic selection. The ethics of gene-therapy and genetic selection is especially complex. One issue is whether germ-line (inheritable) genetic modification is more problematic than somatic (non inheritable) gene-therapy, even when comparably safe. Another issue is whether society ought to permit eugenic or disgenic goals to be achieved by genetic selection in the context of advanced reproductive technologies; this relates to (A) what defines a genetic modification or selection as "eugenic" or "disgenic", for instance, is selecting for deafness an instance of "disgenic" selection? (B) Whether eugenic goals are impermissible, permissible or even mandatory, and (C) whether genetic tests are a reliable basis of the achievement of eugenic goals. Another topic of discussions relates to whether there are important moral differences between (I) avoiding the most serious diseases and disabilities, (II) boosting protection from normal harmful circumstances, such as pathogens or pollutants (III) promoting conditions within and above normal human health, that are positively desirable or comparatively advantageous. 
Key works Harris 1992 argues that it is mandatory to modify disabilities through gene-therapy, including many traits that are considered normal or non pathological. Savulescu 2001 argues that parents have a moral obligation to select the best children in the context of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) based on available genetic information. Agar 2008 endorses the liberal version of eugenics, since, unlike early twentieth century eugenics, it is compatible with a pluralism of different conceptions about human flourishing. Against such or similar views,  Habermas 2003 defends a principled distinction between gene-therapy to cure disease and genetic manipulation allowing parents to select the traits of future children. The latter is seen as incompatible with egalitarian relationships between human beings and their freedom of choice. Taking an intermediate position, Buchanan et al 2001 defend a Rawlsian approach to genetic justice, inspired by Buchanan's idea of a genetic decent minimum (Buchanan 1995) and Daniels' normal functioning approach to health care (Daniels 1985). They hold that society has the duty, as a matter of justice, to use gene therapy to correct disease, subject to reasonable resource constrains. In addition to this, in a future society in which genetic enhancements are widespread, normal functioning may require enhanced human capacities. They also attempts to reject the "social model of disability", in an extreme form, while recognising that the classification of X as a disability is, today and in a genetically modified future, society-relative (Silvers 2001).
Introductions Brock 2003 Chadwick 2011 Glover 2008
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  1. added 2018-12-14
    Review of Colin Farrelly, Genetic Ethics. [REVIEW]Jonathan Anomaly - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:X-Y.
  2. added 2018-09-28
    Review of John Harris, How to Be Good: The Possibility of Moral Enhancement, Oxford University Press, 2016. [REVIEW]Daniel Moseley - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2018.
    John Harris's influential work on human enhancement has advocated the development, use, and exchange of human enhancement technologies. The types of enhancements that are of interest are biomedical interventions that are used to improve human capacities beyond what is necessary to achieve or maintain health or "normal functioning". This new book is unique in Harris's body of work in that it takes a more cautious stance regarding moral enhancements than he has taken toward other forms of human enhancement, such as (...)
  3. added 2018-09-04
    When the Milk of Human Kindness Becomes a Luxury (and Untested) Good. A Reply to Harris’ Unconditional Embrace of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques.Inmaculada de Melo-Martin - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (1):159-165.
    A new reprogenetic technology, mitochondrial replacement, is making its appearance and, unsurprisingly given its promise to wash off our earthly stains --or at least the scourges of sexual reproduction--, John Harris finds only reasons to celebrate this new scientific feat.1 In fact, he finds mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) so “unreservedly welcome” that he believes those who reject them suffer from “a large degree of desperation and not a little callousness.”2 Believing myself to be neither desperate nor callous, but finding myself (...)
  4. added 2018-06-04
    Der „kontrollierte individuelle Heilversuch“ als neues Instrument bei der klinischen Erstanwendung risikoreicher Therapieformen – Ethische Analyse einer somatischen Gentherapie für das Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndrom.Thomas Heinemann, Bert Heinrichs, Christoph Klein, Michael Fuchs & Dietmar Hübner - 2006 - Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft Und Ethik 11 (1):153-199.
    Das Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndrom (WAS), ein genetisch bedingter Immundefekt mit klinischer Manifestation im Kleinkindalter, wird voraussichtlich in näherer Zukunft erstmals versuchsweise durch eine somatische Gentherapie behandelt werden. Im vor- liegenden Beitrag werden die wichtigsten medizinisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Fakten dieses Krankheitsbildes sowie die bisherigen Erfahrungen mit somatischen Gentherapien bei anderen Immunmangelsyndromen ausführlich dargestellt. Sodann erfolgt eine ethische Analyse eines möglichen gentherapeutischen Eingriffs bei WAS-Patienten, bei der die spezifischen Aspekte des Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndroms – insbesondere die fast ausschließliche Betroffenheit von Kindern sowie die unterschiedlich aussichtsreiche Alter- nativoption einer (...)
  5. added 2018-06-01
    How Should One Live? An Introduction to Ethics and Moral Reasoning.Bradley Thames - 2018 - San Diego, CA, USA: Bridgepoint Education.
    This book provides an entry-level introduction to philosophical ethics, theories of moral reasoning, and selected issues in applied ethics. Chapter 1 describes the importance of philosophical approaches to ethical issues, the general dialectical form of moral reasoning, and the broad landscape of moral philosophy. Chapter 2 presents egoism and relativism as challenges to the presumed objectivity and unconditionality of morality. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 discuss utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, respectively. Each chapter begins with a general overview of the (...)
  6. added 2018-03-15
    Germline Edits: Trust Ethics Review Process.Julian Savulescu, Chris Gyngell & Thomas Douglas - 2015 - Nature 520.
  7. added 2018-03-06
    Identità e determinismo genetico. Bioetica e filosofia delle scienze genetiche.Gregory Tranchesi - 2013 - Edizioni Nuova Prhomos.
  8. added 2018-02-17
    Chimeras, Moral Status, and Public Policy: Implications of the Abortion Debate for Public Policy on Human/Nonhuman Chimera Research.Robert Streiffer - 2010 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 38 (2):238-250.
    Researchers are increasingly interested in creating chimeras by transplanting human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into animals early in development. One concern is that such research could confer upon an animal the moral status of a normal human adult but then impermissibly fail to accord it the protections it merits in virtue of its enhanced moral status. Understanding the public policy implications of this ethical conclusion, though, is complicated by the fact that claims about moral status cannot play an unfettered role (...)
  9. added 2018-02-17
    Gene Therapy Oversight: Lessons for Nanobiotechnology.Susan M. Wolf, Rishi Gupta & Peter Kohlhepp - 2009 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 37 (4):659-684.
    Oversight of human gene transfer research presents an important model with potential application to oversight of nanobiology research on human participants. Gene therapy oversight adds centralized federal review at the National Institutes of Health's Office of Biotechnology Activities and its Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee to standard oversight of human subjects research at the researcher's institution and at the federal level by the Office for Human Research Protections. The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research oversees human gene (...)
  10. added 2018-01-12
    Procreative Beneficence and Genetic Enhancement.Walter Veit - 2018 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):75-92.
    Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to choose (...)
  11. added 2018-01-10
    Ethical Principles for the Use of Human Cellular Biotechnologies.Paul Root Wolpe & Karen S. Rommelfanger - 2017 - Nature Biotechnology 35:1050–1058.
    Recent developments in bioengineering promise the possibility of new diagnostic and treatment strategies, novel industrial processes, and innovative approaches to thorny problems in fields such as nutrition, agriculture, and biomanufacturing. As modern genetics has matured and developed technologies of increasing power, debates over risk assessments and proper applications of the technology, and over who should have decision-making power over such issues, have become more prominent. Recently, some scientists have advocated that ethicists “step out of the way,” whereas others have called (...)
  12. added 2017-08-02
    Bioconservatism, Partiality, and the Human-Nature Objection to Enhancement.Pugh Jonathan, Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu - 2016 - The Monist 99 (4):406-422.
    “Bioconservatives” in the human enhancement debate endorse the conservative claim that we should reject the use of biotechnologies that enhance natural human capacities. However, they often ground their objections to enhancement with contestable claims about human nature that are also in tension with other common tenets of conservatism. We argue that bioconservatives could raise a more plausible objection to enhancement by invoking a strain of conservative thought developed by G.A. Cohen. Although Cohen’s conservatism is not sufficient to fully revive the (...)
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  13. added 2017-08-02
    Autonomy, Natality and Freedom: A Liberal Re-Examination of Habermas in the Enhancement Debate.Jonathan Pugh - 2015 - Bioethics 29 (3):142-152.
    Jurgen Habermas has argued that carrying out pre-natal germline enhancements would be inimical to the future child's autonomy. In this article, I suggest that many of the objections that have been made against Habermas' arguments by liberals in the enhancement debate misconstrue his claims. To explain why, I begin by explaining how Habermas' view of personal autonomy confers particular importance to the agent's embodiment and social environment. In view of this, I explain that it is possible to draw two arguments (...)
  14. added 2017-07-08
    Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome1.Nicholas Agar - 1995 - Bioethics 9 (1):1-15.
    My focus in this paper is the question of the moral acceptability of attempts to modify the human genome. Much of the debate in this area has revolved around the distinction between supposedly therapeutic modification on the one hand, and eugenic modification on the other. In the first part of the paper I reject some recent arguments against genetic engineering. In the second part I seek to distinguish between permissible and impermissible forms of intervention in such a way that does (...)
  15. added 2017-02-18
    The Ethics of Genetic Intervention in Human Embryos: Assessing Jürgen Habermas's Approach.Fischer Enno - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):79-95.
    In the near future we may be able to manipulate human embryos through genetic intervention. Jürgen Habermas has argued against the development of technologies which could make such intervention possible. His argument has received widespread criticism among bioethicists. These critics argue that Habermas's argument relies on implausible assumptions about human nature. Moreover, they challenge Habermas's claim that genetic intervention adds something new to intergenerational relationships pointing out that parents have already strong control over their children through education. In this paper (...)
  16. added 2017-02-15
    Three Harms of 'Conversion' Therapy.Candice Delmas - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 5 (1):22-23.
  17. added 2017-02-15
    Response to “Dimensions and Classification of Genetic Interventions in the Human Genome” by Matthew D. Bacchetta and Gerd Richter - Misinterpretations and Misrepresentations.Donald Rubenstein - 1998 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 7 (1):90-93.
    In responding to our paper “Germ-Line Therapy to Cure Mitochondrial Disease: Protocol and Ethics of In Vitro Ovum Nuclear Transplantation” , Matthew D. Bacchetta and Gerd Richter include several misinterpretations and misrepresentations of our IVONT protocol and structure for ethical debate. We actively invited scrutiny of our IVONT protocol; however, for us to seriously respond to criticisms of our publication, we suggest respectfully that those who critique the article critique the protocol that we proposed. First and foremost, we certainly do (...)
  18. added 2017-02-15
    Foreseeable Applications of Gene Therapy Into Somatic and Germinal Cells.Luigi D. Notarangelo, Fabio Candotti SilviaGiliani & G. Alberto - 1994 - Primum Non Nocere Today: A Symposium on Pediatric Bioethics: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Pediatric Bioethics, Pavia, 26-28 May 1994 1071:127.
  19. added 2017-02-15
    Where Docs Draw the Line.Hilde Lindemann Nelson - 1993 - Hastings Center Report 23 (5):3.
  20. added 2017-02-14
    Genetic Fundamentalism or the Cult of the Gene.David Le Breton - 2004 - Body and Society 10 (4):1-20.
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  21. added 2017-02-14
    Walking a Fine Line-Reply.C. B. Cohen, D. A. Scott & S. E. Wheeler - 2002 - Hastings Center Report 32 (1):7-7.
  22. added 2017-02-14
    Prayer is Therapy-Cynthia B. Cohen, Sondra E. Wheeler, and David A. Scott Reply.C. B. Cohen, S. E. Wheeler & D. A. Scott - 2000 - Hastings Center Report 30 (6):5-5.
  23. added 2017-02-14
    Alcohol and the Other Germ Poisons.Ja Fraser Roberts - 1932 - The Eugenics Review 23 (4):350.
  24. added 2017-02-13
    The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering, Michael J. Sandel The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering Sandel Michael J. Belknap of Harvard UP, Cambridge. [REVIEW]Brian G. Henning - 2011 - The Pluralist 6 (2):110-114.
  25. added 2017-02-13
    5 Ethical Thinking in Couple Counselling and Therapy.Derek Hill - 2003 - In Derek Hill & Caroline Jones (eds.), Forms of Ethical Thinking in Therapeutic Practice. Open University Press. pp. 67.
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  26. added 2017-02-12
    Confronting Rationality.Ronald M. Green - 2011 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 20 (2):216-227.
    From the first initiatives in preimplantation genetic diagnosis and gene therapy through the advent of stem cell research to the development of mammalian cloning, the past two decades have witnessed remarkable advances in “reprogenetic” medicine: the union of assisted reproductive technologies with genetic control. This period has also been marked by intense debates within the bioethical literature and in national policy forums about the appropriate uses of these emerging human capabilities. We can now, in a limited way, select for genetic (...)
  27. added 2017-02-12
    Art Therapy as a Healing Tool for Sub-Fertile Women.Edward G. Hughes - 2010 - Journal of Medical Humanities 31 (1):27-36.
    Although fertility is fundamental to spiritual health, it is often taken for granted. When a desired pregnancy fails to occur, stress and grief frequently follow. Visual expression of feelings through “art therapy” has proved a powerful healing tool for women brave enough to give it a try at the McMaster University Fertility Clinic. The objective and subjective findings of this ongoing project suggest that through simple visual self-expression, stress, anxiety and hopelessness may be reduced. This form of art therapy also (...)
  28. added 2017-02-12
    The Illiberality of Perfectionist Enhancement.Teun J. Dekker - 2009 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (1):91-98.
    With the rapid advance of bio-genetic technology, it will soon be possible for parents to design children who are born with certain genetic traits. This raises the question whether parents should be allowed to use this technology to engineer their children as they please. In this context it is often thought and argued that liberalism, which has a reputation for being permissive of all kinds of practices, grants parents the right to do so. However, I will argue that, on an (...)
  29. added 2017-02-12
    Analysing Our Qualms About “Designing” Future Persons: Autonomy, Freedom of Choice, and Interfering with Nature. [REVIEW]Erik Malmqvist - 2007 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (4):407-416.
    Actually possible and conceivable future uses of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and germ-line genetic intervention in assisted reproduction seem to offer increasing possibilities of choosing the kind of persons that will be brought to existence. Many are troubled by the idea of these technologies being used for enhancement purposes. How can we make sense of this worry? Why are our thoughts about therapeutic genetic interventions and non-genetic enhancement (for instance education) not accompanied by the same intuitive uneasiness? I argue that (...)
  30. added 2017-02-12
    Who Am I? When Do “I” Become Another? An Analytic Exploration of Identities, Sameness and Difference, Genes and Genomes.Kristin Zeiler - 2007 - Health Care Analysis 15 (1):25-32.
    What is the impact of genetics and genomics on issues of identity and what do we mean when we speak of identity? This paper explores how certain concepts of identity used in philosophy can be brought together in a multi-layered concept of identity. It discusses the concepts of numerical, qualitative, personal and genetic identity-over-time as well as rival concepts of genomic identity-over-time. These are all understood as layers in the multi-layered concept of identity. Furthermore, the paper makes it clear that (...)
  31. added 2017-02-12
    Germ-Free China.Fa-ti Fan - 2006 - Metascience 15 (2):371-374.
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  32. added 2017-02-12
    Public, Experts, and Acceptance of Advanced Medical Technologies: The Case of Organ Transplant and Gene Therapy in Japan. [REVIEW]Hajime Sato, Akira Akabayashi & Ichiro Kai - 2006 - Health Care Analysis 14 (4):203-214.
    In 1997, after long social debates, the Japanese government enacted a law on organ transplantation from brain-dead bodies. Since 1993, on gene therapy, administrative agencies have issued a series of guidelines. This study seeks to elucidate when people became aware of the issues and when they formed their opinions on organ transplant and gene therapy. At the same time, it aims to examine at which point in time experts, those in university ethical committees and in academic societies, consider these technologies (...)
  33. added 2017-02-12
    Catharsis and Moral Therapy I: A Platonic Account.Jan Helge Solbakk - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (1):57-67.
    This paper aims at analysing the ancient Greek notions of catharsis (clearing up, cleaning), to holon (the whole) and therapeia (therapy, treatment, healing) to assess whether they may be of help in addressing a set of questions concerning the didactics of medical ethics: What do medical students actually experience and learn when they attend classes of medical ethics? How should teachers of medical ethics proceed didactically to make students benefit morally from their teaching? And finally, to what extent and in (...)
  34. added 2017-02-12
    The New Genetics: Therapy or Enhancement.Michael Herbert - 2004 - Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 10 (1):7.
  35. added 2017-02-11
    Enhancing Debate About the Sexes.Dominic Wilkinson - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (12):721-721.
    Dr Dominic Wilkinson, Department of Neonatal Medicine, University of Adelaide, 72 King William Rd, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006, Australia; dominic.wilkinson@adelaide.edu.au, domjcw@gmail.comIs it good for there to be both males and females of our species? This question seems highly fanciful, and a long way from the ethical questions that health professionals face on a daily basis. However, philosophical thought experiments like this sometimes help to clarify questions that are of much broader relevance. In this case, the prospect of an all-female (...)
  36. added 2017-02-11
    A Not‐So‐New Eugenics.Robert Sparrow - 2011 - Hastings Center Report 41 (1):32-42.
    In Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People (2007), John Harris argues that a proper concern for the welfare of future human beings implies that we are morally obligated to pursue enhancements. Similarly, in “Procreative Beneficience: Why We Should Select The Best Children” (2001) and in a number of subsequent publications, Julian Savulescu has suggested that we are morally obligated to use genetic (and other) technologies to produce the best children possible. In this paper I argue that if (...)
  37. added 2017-02-11
    The New Rational Therapy.Elliot D. Cohen - 2007 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (1):135-140.
  38. added 2017-02-11
    What is a Gene? From Molecules to Metaphysics.Holmes Rolston Iii - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (6):471-497.
  39. added 2017-02-11
    Theories of Consciousness, Therapy, and Loneliness.Ben Mijuskovic - 2005 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 13 (1):1-18.
  40. added 2017-02-11
    Reconstructing and Evaluating Genetic Arguments in Judicial Decisions.H. José Plug - 2005 - Argumentation 19 (4):447-458.
    Although the genetic argument is a widely used interpretative argument, what it amounts to does not seem to be altogether clear. Basic forms of the genetic argument that are distinguished are often too rough to provide an adequate basis for the evaluation of an interpretative decision. In this article I attempt to provide a more detailed analysis of the genetic argument by making use of pragma-dialectical insights. The analysis clarifies the character and the structure of different forms of the genetic (...)
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  41. added 2017-02-11
    Inheritable Genetic Modification and a Brave New World: Did Huxley Have It Wrong?Mark S. Frankel - 2003 - Hastings Center Report 33 (2):31-36.
  42. added 2017-02-11
    Justice in the Genetic Age.Madison Powers - 2001 - Hastings Center Report 31 (5):47-48.
  43. added 2017-02-11
    The Goodness of Fragility: On the Prospect of Genetic Technologies Aimed at the Enhancement of Human Capacities.Erik Parens - 1995 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 5 (2):141-153.
  44. added 2017-02-11
    Leaving Therapy to Chance.Don Marquis - 1983 - Hastings Center Report 13 (4):40-47.
  45. added 2017-02-10
    The 'Warrior Gene' and the Mãori People: The Responsibility of the Geneticists.Laurence Perbal - 2013 - Bioethics 27 (7):382-387.
    The ‘gene of’ is a teleosemantic expression that conveys a simplistic and linear relationship between a gene and a phenotype. Throughout the 20th century, geneticists studied these genes of traits. The studies were often polemical when they concerned human traits: the ‘crime gene’, ‘poverty gene’, ‘IQ gene’, ‘gay gene’ or ‘gene of alcoholism’. Quite recently, a controversy occurred in 2006 in New Zealand that started with the claim that a ‘warrior gene’ exists in the Mãori community. This claim came from (...)
  46. added 2017-02-10
    Technologies of the Self.Luciano Floridi - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (3):271-273.
  47. added 2017-02-09
    On the Very Idea of Genetic Justice.Michele Loi - 2012 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (1):64-77.
  48. added 2017-02-09
    A Kantian Argument Against Comparatively Advantageous Genetic Modification.D. Jensen - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (8):479-482.
    The genetic modification of children is becoming a more likely possibility given our rapid progress in medical technologies. I argue, from a broadly Kantian point of view, that at least one kind of such modification—modification by a parent for the sake of a child's comparative advantage—is not rationally justified. To argue this, I first characterize a necessary condition on reasons and rational justification: what is a reason for an agent to do an action in one set of circumstances must be (...)
  49. added 2017-02-09
    Good Parents Would Not Fulfil Their Obligation to Genetically Enhance Their Unborn Children.R. Tonkens - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (10):606-610.
    The purpose of this paper is to unveil the incompleteness of John Harris' view that parents have a moral obligation to genetically enhance their unborn children. Specifically, here two main conclusions are proposed: (1) at present there exist insufficient empirical data for determining whether prenatal genetic enhancement (PGE) is a moral obligation on prospective parents. Although the purpose of PGE research would be to determine the extent to which PGE is safe and effective, the task of determining the veracity of (...)
  50. added 2017-02-08
    Fallacies in the Arguments for New Technology: The Case of Proton Therapy.B. Hofmann - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (11):684-687.
    Next SectionIn a seminal article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Søren Holm and Tuja Takala analysed two protechnology arguments in bioethics: the hopeful principle and the automatic escalator. They showed how these arguments relate to problematic arguments such as the precautionary principle and the empirical slippery slope argument, and argued that they should be used with great caution. The present article investigates the recent debate on proton beam therapy, where the hopeful principle and the automatic escalator are identified. However, (...)
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