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After finishing an MA degree in Philosophy at UCC (Cork, National University of Ireland), I completed a PhD in Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country. My dissertation was about Thoreau's views on civil disobedience in the light of contemporary political philosophy. After a post-doctoral stage in the University of Iceland, I began teaching courses on Bioethics and Political Philosophy, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level, while developing some research. In order to improve my training, I have visited research centers such as Egenis (University of Exeter) and the Center for Philosophy and History of Science (Boston University). At the present moment I am Secretary of the Hospital Donostia Ethics Committee, and member of the Basque Society for Palliative Care.

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EHU-UPV, FICE, Department of Philosophy of Values and Social Anthropology, Avenida de Tolosa 70, 20018 Donostia - San Sebastián
+34 943 01  5465  fax:  01 5470
antonio-dot-casado-at-ehu-dot-es, replacing "-at-" with "@" and "-dot-" with a period.

Research interests

  • Autonomy in bioethics and biomedical research
  • Concepts of health and disease
  • Research ethics, with a strength on biobanks
  • Bioethics in film and literature
  • Life and Works of Henry D. Thoreau (1817-1862)

Current teaching

Latest and forthcoming publications

Bermejo-Luque, L. & Casado da Rocha, A. 2011. Bancos, bibliotecas y cementerios: usos de las analogías en el razonamiento sobre biotecnología. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 26(71): 195-212. [PDF]

Moreno Bergareche, A. y A. Casado da Rocha. 2011. Autonomy Beyond the Brain: What Neuroscience Offers to a More Interactive, Relational Bioethics. The American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience 2(3), 54-56.

Casado da Rocha, A. 2011. “Principio de responsabilidad”, en Carlos Romeo Casabona (ed.), Enciclopedia de Bioderecho y Bioética. Bilbao-Granada, Cátedra Interuniversitaria de Derecho y Genoma Humano - Editorial Comares, vol. II, pp. 1469-1471.

Menendez Viso, A. & Casado da Rocha, A. 2011. Comités 2.0: deberes, posibilidades y desafíos de la ética institucionalizada en el s. XXI. DILEMATA. International Journal of Applied Ethics 2(5), 163-180. [PDF]

Casado da Rocha, A. 2010. Biobancos, cultura científica y ética de la investigación. DILEMATA. International Journal of Applied Ethics 2(4), 1-14. [PDF]

Casado da Rocha, A. y C. Saborido. 2010. Cultura bioética y conceptos de enfermedad: el caso House. ISEGORÍA. Revista de Filosofía Moral y Política 42 (enero-junio), 279-295. 

Casado da Rocha, A. & Mikel Torres Aldave. 2010. ‘Life is too slippery for stories’: Interview with Mark Rowlands [original English and Spanish version]. DILEMATA. International Journal of Applied Ethics 2(3), 151-161. [PDF]

Casado da Rocha, A. 2009. Stars and Triangles: Controversial Bioethics in Spanish Film. In: S. Shapsay (ed.), Bioethics at the Movies, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 328-344. [PDF]

Current research project: AUTBIO

The concept of autonomy is a basic one in moral philosophy since Kant, but developments in biotechnology at the beginning of the 21st century are opening new lines of inquiry in its study and application. Bioethics emerged at the beginning of the 1970s as a defence of the autonomy of patients and research subjects. The institutionalization of bioethics has given more importance and relevance to autonomy, but within this academic field there are great disagreements concerning its nature and implications, both in theory and in practice.

The concept of autonomy at stake in bioethics (i.e., healthcare ethics, environmental ethics, and research ethics) reflects different positions concerning the relationship between facts and values in the life sciences. The research project AUTBIO aims to provide a concept of autonomy useful for bioethics and, at the same time, to ground it in well established biological science, including current developments and practices in biomedical research. More specifically, it aims to study whether the protection of autonomy is compromised by the implementation of bioinformatics tools such as biobanks, whose regulation is characterized by its novelty, ambiguity and lack of harmonization at the international level.

This sub-project creates a truly multidisciplinary research group, comprised of six PhDs of diverse backgrounds (Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Law, Medicine, and Computer Science) but with research experience in common and previous contributions to this subject from a theoretical perspective. In addition, the sub-project has a practical edge to it, by means of a case-study on the protection of the autonomy of research participants in studies involving biobanks within the Basque Country; in order to accomplish this task, the collaboration of an external partner is secured so as to make possible the transfer of knowledge.

The main goals of this research group are to advance both the study of the philosophical aspects of the concept of autonomy, clarifying its relationship with other principles or values in healthcare and environmental ethics, and the study of the social aspects of the concept in biomedical research, focusing on the justification and varieties of informed consent procedures to collect and use biosamples. In order to assess how respect for autonomy is grounded in our country, special attention will be devoted to recent legal developments, such as the Act on Biomedical Research enacted in Spain in 2007.

In coordination with its twin project (MECAUT), this subproject also aims to deepen the study of the relationship between autonomy and normativity, a basic issue for any attempt to provide a philosophical foundation for bioethics, most particularly in what respects to the debate between naturalist and normativist approaches to the concept of disease -- a contested issue in current philosophy of medicine. To elaborate a phenomenological account of disease might help looking at it as the result of a complex interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. To sum up, AUTBIO aims to open new paths of reflection beyond the mere introduction in bioethics of autonomy as it is understood by other disciplines.

Secondary subjects of interest

  • Environmental Ethics
  • Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Spanish and North American Literature 

Selected publications list

View my page on bioethics IrelandUK