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Threats to the Common Good: Biochemical Weapons and Human Subjects Research


  • Alex John London


The threat of biological and chemical terrorism highlights a growing tension in research ethics between respecting the interests of individuals and safeguarding and protecting the common good. But what it actually means to protect the common good is rarely scrutinized. There are two conceptions of the common good that provide very different accounts of the limits of permissible medical research. Decisions about the limits of acceptable medical research in defense of the common good should be carried out only within the latter framework.