Using, risking, and consent: Why risking harm to bystanders is morally different from risking harm to research subjects

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Abstract

Subjects in studies on humans are used as a means of conducting the research and achieving whatever good would justify putting them at risk. Accordingly, consent must normally be obtained before subjects are exposed to any substantial risks to their welfare. Bystanders are also often put at risk, but they are not used as a means. Accordingly—or so I argue—consent is more often unnecessary before bystanders are exposed to similar substantial risks to their welfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-905
Number of pages7
JournalBioethics
Volume34
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

Keywords

  • Means principle
  • bystanders
  • human subjects research
  • informed consent
  • research ethics
  • risk

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