Cathy Gere – Medical Hedonists in the Kingdom of Ends: Patient Autonomy since the National Research Act

HOS Colloquium
Event date: 
February 22, 2018 - 12:00pm
Speaker(s): 
Cathy Gere
University of California, San Diego
Seminar Series: 
History of Science Colloquium
Audience: 
Princeton University

Medical Hedonists in the Kingdom of Ends: Patient Autonomy Since the National Research Act

This talk will examine the multiple transformations of the concept of patient autonomy after the mandating of informed consent in 1974. From the publication of the so-called Bible of Bioethics, through the AIDS epidemic, to the end of the Cold War and the rise of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, the informed patient of 1974 turned into the empowered consumer of the mid-1990s. During the same period, the discipline of psychology underwent a matching makeover, courtesy of the new field of behavioral economics, with health, addiction, and personal responsibility acting as central reference points for a new neoliberal model of personhood perfectly aligned with the transformed ideal of medical autonomy.