American Journal of Bioethics 21 (4):83-85 (2021)

Elizabeth Lanphier
Cincinnati Children's Hospital
In “Obligations of the Gift” Sandra Lee (2021) suggests that social norms of reciprocity and the expectations and obligations associated with gift-giving afford a framework for addressing social justice considerations in precision medicine. Lee is particularly concerned with obligations to marginalized or oppressed racial and ethnic groups, which are also historically under-represented populations in precision medicine. Obligations arise, Lee argues, through the “gift” that research participants make when they contribute their data or biospecimens to precision medicine research. This conceptualization of research participation is distinct from an altruistic donation model that explicitly precludes obligations of reciprocity. I agree with Lee’s overall project to support social justice aims by better recognizing responsibilities of researchers to their research participants, and increasing diverse participation in biomedical research. However, I am not convinced that the account of “the gift” she deploys can achieve the social justice goals she intends because it risks replicating rather than resisting problematic conceptions of labor, property, and ownership of selves and others. However, an alternate conceptualization of “the gift” found in the work of 20th century French philosopher Jacques Derrida recasts ethical obligations on the part of precision medicine to those who contribute their data and biospecimens for precision medicine research.
Keywords Jacques Derrida  The Gift  Precision Medicine  Research Ethics
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DOI 10.1080/15265161.2021.1891344
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References found in this work BETA

The Realm of Rights.J. J. Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy 66 (258):538-540.
The Realm of Rights.Judith Jarvis Thomson, Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld & Walter Wheeler Cook - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):181-185.
A Problem of Self-Ownership for Reproductive Justice.Elizabeth Lanphier - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2):312-327.

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