Antibiotic Resistance in a Free Society
Q&A Radio: 17 February 2013, Question 2
I answered a question on antibiotic resistance in a free society on 17 February 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?
My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, the development of antibiotics would not be hampered by the FDA, and private efforts could be made to minimize infections and promote proper use of antibiotics. The thorny legal question is whether the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, which contributes greatly to antibiotic resistance, constitutes a tort.
- Duration: 17:07
- Download: MP3 Segment (5.9 MB)
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- The Objective Standard: How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders Health by Stella Daily
- Scientific American: Worried about Antibiotics in Your Beef? Vegetables May Be No Better by Matthew Cimitile
- US News: Doctors Struggling to Fight 'Totally Drug-Resistant' Tuberculosis in South Africa by Jason Koebler
- Emerging Infectious Diseases: Emergence and Spread of Extensively and Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, South Africa
- NoodleFood: Antibiotics and Livestock
- New England Journal of Medicine: The Future of Antibiotics and Resistance
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].