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Philosophy EE about the morality of placebos in drug trials

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So I'm doing a Philosophy Extended essay about whether it is moral to give patients placebos in drug trials as they are effectively getting nothing to help with their condition. So far I have looked at ethical theories such as utilitarianism, kantianism, and a bit of bioethics. My teacher said I should look at a lot more ethical theories but I don't know any good ones. Also it is really difficult to find stuff about medical ethics that is not on cloning and genetics. Can anyone help? Does anyone know any good books which explain ethical theories well or websites? Or does anyone know about anything talking about more general medical ethics or about ethics in drug trials and the use of placebos?

Also does anyone else do philosophy or a philosophy extended essay? Would love to discuss stuff with you as there doesn't seem to be many people that do philosophy :(

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I actually did virtually the same topic for my EE - it's in the Files section of this website :blink:

I spent a long time considering the same ideas you had (as I wanted to do a medically related issue) and I don't think it's possible to do an essay like this and score well in Philosophy without keeping the whole issue purely philosophical. "Is it right or is it wrong?" doesn't really give you much to work with, you have to go for some things you can define and analyse. For instance, I chose to break it down into respect for autonomy versus paternalism. You could probably choose other aspects too, but basically in my opinion you can only do it by posing a theoretical conundrum (e.g. apparent incompatibility with respect for autonomy and also necessary paternalism) and then breaking it down to 'solve' it via various ethical and reason-based approaches.

Any other sort of approach to the essay risks just being a long rant about morals or just an essay of identification (i.e. "Kantian philosophy says X, Benthamist philosophy says X" etc.) which won't really win you many brownie points. You need an argument and preferably a conundrum-type thing.

I found reading exemplar EEs (especially the neurobiology one) really helpful for working out how to go about mine. Google 50 Excellent Extended Essays and check out the Philosophy ones.

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