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Jobs for people with a PHD in philosophy/ethics/bio-ethics

  1. Nov 5, 2009 #1
    What jobs are available for people with a phd in philosophy concentrating in ethics / bio-ethics outside of academia. I know the short answer is not much, but I've heard people mention things like researcher in the private sector or the government, but what specifically? What sort of corporations or government institutions if any? And what sort of research is commonly involved? Do any medical research corporations or things like that hire bio-ethicists?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2009 #2


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    I really don't have an answer to your direct question, but I can't help but think that if you had a law degree to go with your bio-ethics degree that you'd be in a good position to work with any sort of research corporation or government agency to help them with regulatory compliance or even work as a policy advisor to develop or change regulatory practices with a fuller understanding of all the ethical implications rather than just picking a side you like based on your biases rather than evidence.
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    Biotech companies have extremely elaborate systems for approvals of human and animal subject trials. Pretty much every study has to go through an institutional review board, and these boards often have a bioethicist on hand do deal with tricky issues involving human experimentation.

    One thing that you have to be really, really careful about if you get into this line of work is that you don't end up being the "corporate apologist." It's very easy for a corporation to say effectively "we don't have to worry about ethics since we have an expert worry about that for us." If you work for people that don't themselves have a well developed sense of right and wrong, you may end up in a situation where your job ends up coming up with elaborate excuses for why something that any average person would think is morally and ethically repugnant is perfectly fine. Alternatively, you could be in a situation in which you spend a huge amount of time looking at a small relatively minor issue, and avoid thinking about a bigger question which is really too uncomfortable to think about.
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