Case: Brain damaged gibbons and the march of science (Biomedical Ethics volume 6)

Instructions: In no less than 1250 words (double spaced, default margins, default font), respond to the following prompt. Provide clear and comprehensive argumentation for each point you make. Don’t just spit facts; turn them into a compelling case. If you have any questions on how to do this, please don’t hesitate to come speak with me.

Grammar: While I am primarily concerned about the content of your paper, grammar and structure will also affect your grade. Be sure to thoroughly proofread your paper.

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Case: Brain damaged gibbons and the march of science (Biomedical Ethics volume 6)


“In 2017, the United States Air Force commences a study to learn about the “basic mechanisms responsible for brain damage in head-injured fighter pilots.” In this study, which involves the use of gibbons (a lesser ape), a subject’s head is cemented tightly in a helmet and subjected to a sudden jerking movement, generating an extremely strong impact. While the gibbon’s skull is not fractured, neurological damage is caused by the impact of the brain against the skull. Anesthesia is carefully used so that the gibbons are completely unconscious during the procedure. The trauma causes some subjects to become permanently comatose. Others become comatose after anesthesia wears off. All become irreversibly brain damaged and too disabled to feed themselves. Each lives alone in a small cage for one month- during which time tests are conducted- before they are killed and their brains analyzed.”


Question: According to Cohen, should we consider the rights of the gibbons in this case? According to Hettinger, should we take the gibbons’ rights into account?

According to Bernat and McMahan, when can we assert that the gibbons have died?

In your view, is this test important enough to sacrifice animals? Why or why not? Be sure to address the issues of pain, death, and non-therapeutic research.


*I will provide the sources to use!

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