Essay on Belmont Report Citi

1410 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 6 Pages
1. Respect for Persons. -- Respect for persons incorporates at least two ethical convictions:
first, that individuals should be treated as autonomous agents, and second, that persons
with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection. The principle of respect for persons
thus divides into two separate moral requirements: the requirement to acknowledge
autonomy and the requirement to protect those with diminished autonomy.
An autonomous person is an individual capable of deliberation about personal goals and of
acting under the direction of such deliberation. To respect autonomy is to give weight to
autonomous persons' considered opinions and choices while refraining from obstructing
their actions unless they are clearly detrimental
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In some
situations, however, application of the principle is not obvious. The involvement of prisoners
as subjects of research provides an instructive example. On the one hand, it would seem
that the principle of respect for persons requires that prisoners not be deprived of the
opportunity to volunteer for research. On the other hand, under prison conditions they may
be subtly coerced or unduly influenced to engage in research activities for which they would
not otherwise volunteer. Respect for persons would then dictate that prisoners be protected.
Whether to allow prisoners to "volunteer" or to "protect" them presents a dilemma.
Respecting persons, in most hard cases, is often a matter of balancing competing claims
urged by the principle of respect itself.
2. Beneficence. -- Persons are treated in an ethical manner not only by respecting their
decisions and protecting them from harm, but also by making efforts to secure their wellbeing. Such treatment falls under the principle of beneficence. The term "beneficence" is
often understood to cover acts of kindness or charity that go beyond strict obligation. In this
document, beneficence is understood in a stronger sense, as an obligation. Two general
rules have been formulated as complementary expressions of beneficent actions in this
sense: (1) do not harm and (2) maximize possible…

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