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FREE RIDERS AND PIOUS SONS – WHY SCIENCE RESEARCH REMAINS OBLIGATORY

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

John Harris has previously proposed that there is a moral duty to participate in scientific research. This concept has recently been challenged by Iain Brassington, who asserts that the principles cited by Harris in support of the duty to research fail to establish its existence. In this paper we address these criticisms and provide new arguments for the existence of a moral obligation to research participation. This obligation, we argue, arises from two separate but related principles. The principle of fairness obliges us to support the social institutions which sustain us, of which research is one; while the principle of beneficence, or the duty of rescue, imposes upon us a duty to prevent harm to others, including by supporting potentially beneficial, even life-saving research. We argue that both these lines of argument support the duty to research, and explore further aspects of this duty, such as to whom it is owed and how it might be discharged.

Keywords: duty to research

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00648.x

Affiliations: 1: Ethics and Innovation, School of Law, University of Manchester 2: Ethics and Innovation at the School of Law, University of Manchester

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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