Penn Bioethics Seminar Series (PBS) | Ian Peebles, PhD Candidate
12:00pm - 1:00pm • via Zoom
To race or not to race: Guidelines for the use of biological racial classifications in medicine
Ian Peebles, PhD Candidate
Department of Philosophy, UPenn
Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 12:00-1:00p Eastern
Via Zoom. Register in advance:
The meeting link will be provided automatically upon registration.
Abstract: With the resurgence in anti-racist activism and the COVID-19 pandemic came a growing attention to how racial classifications are used in medicine. Some support eliminating the use of biological racial classifications (BRCs) in medicine, given these classifications have historically been implicated in a variety of social ills (Krieger 1999, 2014; Roberts 2009, 2011; Hochman 2013; Yudell et al. 2016). But there is growing data that suggest certain BRCs may aid in the promotion of social and epistemic goods (Burchard et al. 2003; Yang et al. 2011; Hardimon 2017; Spencer 2018, 2019). Given the potential tradeoffs, when (if ever) is it morally permissible to use BRCs in medicine? Using a virtue-based normative framework, I construct a decision tree for determining permissible uses of BRCs in medicine. I argue that it is morally permissible to use BRCs in medicine if and only if (i) the relevant social determinants of health are sufficiently engaged prior to or in tandem with the use of BRCs, (ii) the end(s) sought cohere with the aim of medicine and are best acquired using BRCs, and (iii) the use of BRCs does not violate the relevant just legal norms constraining medical practice more generally. A benefit of my account is that it provides guidance in using BRCs in medicine, without requiring a metaphysical commitment to the reality of these classifications.
For more information, please contact Mary.Pham@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.