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G. Owen Schaefer
National University of Singapore
  1. An Ethical Framework for Global Vaccine Allocation.Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Govind Persad, Adam Kern, Allen E. Buchanan, Cecile Fabre, Daniel Halliday, Joseph Heath, Lisa M. Herzog, R. J. Leland, Ephrem T. Lemango, Florencia Luna, Matthew McCoy, Ole F. Norheim, Trygve Ottersen, G. Owen Schaefer, Kok-Chor Tan, Christopher Heath Wellman, Jonathan Wolff & Henry S. Richardson - 2020 - Science 1:DOI: 10.1126/science.abe2803.
    In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...)
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  2. An Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research.Vicki Xafis, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Iain Brassington, Angela Ballantyne, Hannah Yeefen Lim, Wendy Lipworth, Tamra Lysaght, Cameron Stewart, Shirley Sun, Graeme T. Laurie & E. Shyong Tai - 2019 - Asian Bioethics Review 11 (3):227-254.
    Ethical decision-making frameworks assist in identifying the issues at stake in a particular setting and thinking through, in a methodical manner, the ethical issues that require consideration as well as the values that need to be considered and promoted. Decisions made about the use, sharing, and re-use of big data are complex and laden with values. This paper sets out an Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research developed by a working group convened by the Science, Health and (...)
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  3. Direct Vs. Indirect Moral Enhancement.G. Owen Schaefer - 2015 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 25 (3):261-289.
    Moral enhancement is an ostensibly laudable project. Who wouldn’t want people to become more moral? Still, the project’s approach is crucial. We can distinguish between two approaches for moral enhancement: direct and indirect. Direct moral enhancements aim at bringing about particular ideas, motives or behaviors. Indirect moral enhancements, by contrast, aim at making people more reliably produce the morally correct ideas, motives or behaviors without committing to the content of those ideas, motives and/or actions. I will argue, on Millian grounds, (...)
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  4. Consent and the Ethical Duty to Participate in Health Data Research.Angela Ballantyne & G. Owen Schaefer - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (6):392-396.
    The predominant view is that a study using health data is observational research and should require individual consent unless it can be shown that gaining consent is impractical. But recent arguments have been made that citizens have an ethical obligation to share their health information for research purposes. In our view, this obligation is sufficient ground to expand the circumstances where secondary use research with identifiable health information is permitted without explicit subject consent. As such, for some studies the Institutional (...)
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  5. Autonomy and Enhancement.G. Owen Schaefer, Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):123-136.
    Some have objected to human enhancement on the grounds that it violates the autonomy of the enhanced. These objections, however, overlook the interesting possibility that autonomy itself could be enhanced. How, exactly, to enhance autonomy is a difficult problem due to the numerous and diverse accounts of autonomy in the literature. Existing accounts of autonomy enhancement rely on narrow and controversial conceptions of autonomy. However, we identify one feature of autonomy common to many mainstream accounts: reasoning ability. Autonomy can then (...)
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  6. The Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research.G. Owen Schaefer, Ezekiel J. Emanuel & Alan Wertheimer - 2009 - Journal of the American Medical Association 302 (1):67-72.
    The current prevailing view is that participation in biomedical research is above and beyond the call of duty. While some commentators have offered reasons against this, we propose a novel public goods argument for an obligation to participate in biomedical research. Biomedical knowledge is a public good, available to any individual even if that individual does not contribute to it. Participation in research is a critical way to support an important public good. Consequently, all have a duty to participate. The (...)
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  7.  92
    Precision Medicine and Big Data: The Application of an Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research.G. Owen Schaefer, E. Shyong Tai & Shirley Sun - 2019 - Asian Bioethics Review 11 (3):275-288.
    As opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach, precision medicine uses relevant biological, medical, behavioural and environmental information about a person to further personalize their healthcare. This could mean better prediction of someone’s disease risk and more effective diagnosis and treatment if they have a condition. Big data allows for far more precision and tailoring than was ever before possible by linking together diverse datasets to reveal hitherto-unknown correlations and causal pathways. But it also raises ethical issues relating to (...)
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  8. Procedural Moral Enhancement.G. Owen Schaefer & Julian Savulescu - 2019 - Neuroethics 12 (1):73-84.
    While philosophers are often concerned with the conditions for moral knowledge or justification, in practice something arguably less demanding is just as, if not more, important – reliably making correct moral judgments. Judges and juries should hand down fair sentences, government officials should decide on just laws, members of ethics committees should make sound recommendations, and so on. We want such agents, more often than not and as often as possible, to make the right decisions. The purpose of this paper (...)
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  9.  61
    Public Interest in Health Data Research: Laying Out the Conceptual Groundwork.Angela Ballantyne & G. Owen Schaefer - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (9):610-616.
    The future of health research will be characterised by three continuing trends: rising demand for health data; increasing impracticability of obtaining specific consent for secondary research; and decreasing capacity to effectively anonymise data. In this context, governments, clinicians and the research community must demonstrate that they can be responsible stewards of health data. IRBs and RECs sit at heart of this process because in many jurisdictions they have the capacity to grant consent waivers when research is judged to be of (...)
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  10. The Ethics of Producing In Vitro Meat.G. Owen Schaefer & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (2):188-202.
    The prospect of consumable meat produced in a laboratory setting without the need to raise and slaughter animals is both realistic and exciting. Not only could such in vitro meat become popular due to potential cost savings, but it also avoids many of the ethical and environmental problems with traditional meat productions. However, as with any new technology, in vitro meat is likely to face some detractors. We examine in detail three potential objections: 1) in vitro meat is disrespectful, either (...)
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  11.  33
    The Perfect Moral Storm: Diverse Ethical Considerations in the COVID-19 Pandemic.Vicki Xafis, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Yujia Zhu & Li Yan Hsu - 2020 - Asian Bioethics Review 12 (2):65-83.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has both exposed and created deep rifts in society. It has thrust us into deep ethical thinking to help justify the difficult decisions many will be called upon to make and to protect from decisions that lack ethical underpinnings. This paper aims to highlight ethical issues in six different areas of life highlighting the enormity of the task we are faced with globally. In the context of COVID-19, we consider health inequity, dilemmas in triage and allocation of (...)
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  12.  39
    Clarifying How to Deploy the Public Interest Criterion in Consent Waivers for Health Data and Tissue Research.G. Owen Schaefer, Graeme Laurie, Sumytra Menon, Alastair V. Campbell & Teck Chuan Voo - 2020 - BMC Medical Ethics 21 (1):1-10.
    Background Several jurisdictions, including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and most recently Ireland, have a public interest or public good criterion for granting waivers of consent in biomedical research using secondary health data or tissue. However, the concept of the public interest is not well defined in this context, which creates difficulties for institutions, institutional review boards and regulators trying to implement the criterion. Main text This paper clarifies how the public interest criterion can be defensibly deployed. We first explain the (...)
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  13.  30
    The Right to Know: A Revised Standard for Reporting Incidental Findings.G. Owen Schaefer & Julian Savulescu - 2018 - Hastings Center Report 48 (2):22-32.
    The “best-medical-interests” standard for reporting findings does not go far enough. Research subjects have a right to know about any comprehensible piece of information about them that is generated by research in which they are participating. An even broader standard may sometimes be appropriate: if subjects agree to accept information that they may not understand, then all information may be disclosed.
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  14. Toward Realism About Genetic Enhancement.G. Owen Schaefer - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (7):28-30.
    Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2019, Page 28-30.
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  15. Code-Consistent Ethics Review: Defence of a Hybrid Account.G. Owen Schaefer - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (7):494-495.
    It is generally unquestioned that human subjects research review boards should assess the ethical acceptability of protocols. It says so right on the tin, after all: they are explicitly called research ethics committees in the UK. But it is precisely those sorts of unchallenged assumptions that should, from time to time, be assessed and critiqued, in case they are in fact unfounded. John Stuart Mill's objection to suppressers of dissent is instructive here: “If the opinion is right, they are deprived (...)
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  16. The Right to Withdraw From Research.G. Owen Schaefer & Alan Wertheimer - 2010 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 20 (4):329-352.
    The right to withdraw from participation in research is recognized in virtually all national and international guidelines for research on human subjects. It is therefore surprising that there has been little justification for that right in the literature. We argue that the right to withdraw should protect research participants from information imbalance, inability to hedge, inherent uncertainty, and untoward bodily invasion, and it serves to bolster public trust in the research enterprise. Although this argument is not radical, it provides a (...)
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  17. Genetic Affinity and the Right to ‘Three-Parent IVF’.G. Owen Schaefer & Markus Labude - 2017 - Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 34 (12):1577-1580.
    With the recent report of a live birth after use of Mitochondrial replacement therapy, sometimes called ‘Three-parent IVF’, the clinical application of the technique is fast becoming a reality. While the United Kingdom allows the procedure under regulatory scrutiny, it remains effectively outlawed in many other countries. We argue that such prohibitions may violate individuals’ procreative rights, grounded in individuals’ interest in genetic affinity. The interest in genetic affinity was recently endorsed by Singapore’s highest court, reflecting an emphasis on the (...)
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  18.  12
    Navigating Conflicts of Justice in the Use of Race and Ethnicity in Precision Medicine.G. Owen Schaefer, E. Shyong Tai & Shirley Hsiao‐Li Sun - 2020 - Bioethics 34 (8):849-856.
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  19.  21
    Ethics in the Era of Big Data.G. Owen Schaefer - 2019 - Asian Bioethics Review 11 (2):169-171.
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  20. The Need for Donor Consent in Mitochondrial Replacement.G. Owen Schaefer - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (12):825-829.
    Mitochondrial replacement therapy requires oocytes of women whose mitochondrial DNA will be transmitted to resultant children. These techniques are scientifically, ethically and socially controversial; it is likely that some women who donate their oocytes for general in vitro fertilisation usage would nevertheless oppose their genetic material being used in MRT. The possibility of oocytes being used in MRT is therefore relevant to oocyte donation and should be included in the consent process when applicable. In present circumstances, specific consent should be (...)
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  21.  21
    What Is the Goal of Moral Engineering?G. Owen Schaefer - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 2 (4):10-11.
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  22. Double Trouble: Should Double Embryo Transfer Be Banned?Dominic Wilkinson, G. Owen Schaefer, Kelton Tremellen & Julian Savulescu - 2015 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (2):121-139.
    What role should legislation or policy play in avoiding the complications of in-vitro fertilization? In this article, we focus on single versus double embryo transfer, and assess three arguments in favour of mandatory single embryo transfer: risks to the mother, risks to resultant children, and costs to society. We highlight significant ethical concerns about each of these. Reproductive autonomy and non-paternalism are strong enough to outweigh the health concerns for the woman. Complications due to non-identity cast doubt on the extent (...)
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  23.  61
    Why Adopt a Maximin Theory of Exploitation?Alan Wertheimer, Joseph Millum & G. Owen Schaefer - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (6):38-39.
  24.  30
    Reevaluating the Right to Withdraw From Research Without Penalty.G. Owen Schaefer & Alan Wertheimer - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (4):14-16.
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  25.  1
    In Defence of a Broad Approach to Public Interest in Health Data Research.Angela Ballantyne & G. Owen Schaefer - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2020-106880.
    In their response to ‘Public interest in health data research: laying out the conceptual groundwork’, Grewal and Newson critique us for inattention to the law and putting forward an impracticably broad conceptual understanding of public interest. While we agree more work is needed to generate a workable framework for Institutional Review Boards/Research Ethics Committees, we would contend that this should be grounded on a broad conception of public interest. This broadness facilitates regulatory agility, and is already reflected by some current (...)
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  26.  12
    Taxonomy of Justifications for Consent Waivers: When and Why Are Public Views Relevant?Angela Ballantyne & G. Owen Schaefer - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):353-354.
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  27.  2
    Big Data: Ethical Considerations.G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude & Harisan Unais Nasir - 2018 - In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 593-607.
    We live in the Information Age. Advances over the past 50 years in computing technology have enabled ever-expanding capacity to generate, store, transfer, process and analyse information about people, societies, products, services, the environment—nearly every aspect of the world. In parallel, concerns over how such data is being used have emerged, focusing especially on issues of privacy and confidentiality. Yet as technological capabilities continue to expand, the debate over ethical uses of data inevitably has evolved as well. Whereas we used (...)
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  28.  32
    Context is Needed When Assessing Fair Subject Selection.G. Owen Schaefer - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (2):20-22.
    Volume 20, Issue 2, February 2020, Page 20-22.
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  29. Can Reproductive Genetic Manipulation Save Lives?G. Owen Schaefer - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (3):381-386.
    It has recently been argued that reproductive genetic manipulation technologies like mitochondrial replacement and germline CRISPR modifications cannot be said to save anyone’s life because, counterfactually, no one would suffer more or die sooner absent the intervention. The present article argues that, on the contrary, reproductive genetic manipulations may be life-saving (and, from this, have therapeutic value) under an appropriate population health perspective. As such, popular reports of reproductive genetic manipulations potentially saving lives or preventing disease are not necessarily mistaken, (...)
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  30.  23
    Making Mistakes About One's “True” Self.G. Owen Schaefer - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 1 (3):8-9.
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  31.  60
    Navigating Conflicts of Justice in the Use of Race and Ethnicity in Precision Medicine.G. Owen Schaefer, Tai E. Shyong & Shirley Hsiao-Li Sun - forthcoming - Bioethics (Early View).
    Given the sordid history of injustices linking genetics to race and ethnicity, considerations of justice are central to ensuring the responsible development of precision medicine programmes around the world. While considerations of justice may be in tension with other areas of concern, such as scientific value or privacy, there are also be tensions between different aspects of justice. This paper focuses on three particular aspects of justice relevant to this context: social justice, distributive justice and human rights. The implications of (...)
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  32. Presenters or Patients? A Crucial Distinction in Individual Health Assessments.G. Owen Schaefer - 2018 - Asian Bioethics Review 10 (1):67-73.
    Individual health assessments (IHAs) for asymptomatic individuals provide a challenge to traditional distinctions between patient care and non-medical practice. They may involve undue radiation exposure, lead to false positives, and involve high out-of-pocket costs for recipients. A recent paper (Journal of the American College of Radiology 13(12): 1447–1457.e1, 2016) has criticised the use of IHAs and argued that recipients should be classified as ‘presenters’, not ‘patients’, to distinguish it from regular medical care. I critique this classificatory move, on two grounds: (...)
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  33.  45
    Review of James Cameron's Avatar. [REVIEW]G. Owen Schaefer - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (2):68-69.
  34.  66
    The Importance of Rationality.G. Owen Schaefer - 2013 - Hastings Center Report 43 (1):3.
    Michael Hauskeller (“Reflections from a Troubled Stream: Giubliani and Minerva on ‘After-Birth Abortion’) has recently suggested that we should resist rationalist tendencies in moral discourse: “[I]s not all morality ultimately irrational? Even the most strongly held moral convictions can be shown to lack a rational basis.” (Hauskeller 2012, p. 18) Hauskeller was responding to Alberto Giubliani and Francesca Minverva’s (2012) recent defense of the permissibility of killing infants, but his anti-rationality arguments have wide-reaching implications. Yet pace Hauskeller, rationality is indeed (...)
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  35.  50
    What is the Sufficientarian Precautionary Principle?G. Owen Schaefer - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (9):1083-1084.
    In their recent article, Koplin, Gyngell and Savulescu (2019) assess the viability of the precautionary principle as a decision-making tool to determine whether and under what circumstances germline gene editing should proceed. While their survey of different forms of the precautionary principle is illuminating, the most novel contribution is a new account of the precautionary principle, what they dub the Sufficientarian Precautionary Principle (SPP). SPP is meant to avoid several problems with existing accounts, while comporting with at least some of (...)
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  36.  7
    Correction To: The Perfect Moral Storm: Diverse Ethical Considerations in the COVID-19 Pandemic.Vicki Xafis, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Yujia Zhu & Li Yang Hsu - 2020 - Asian Bioethics Review 12 (2):85-85.
    Regrettably, in the original version of this article the name of one of the authors was spelt incorrectly. "Li Yan Hsu" should be "Li Yang Hsu".
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