On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics

On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics

Principles, Practices, and Prospects

Edited by: Brian Rappert orcid, Michael J. Selgelid orcid

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Claims about the transformations enabled by modern science and medicine have been accompanied by an unsettling question in recent years: might the knowledge being produced undermine – rather than further – human and animal well being? On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics examines the potential for the skills, know-how, information, and techniques associated with modern biology to serve contrasting ends. In recognition of the moral ambiguity of science and technology, each chapter considers steps that might be undertaken to prevent the deliberate spread of disease. Central to achieving this aim is the consideration of what role ethics might serve. To date, the ethical analysis of the themes of this volume has been limited. This book remedies this situation by bringing together contributors from a broad range of backgrounds to address a highly important ethical issue confronting humanity during the 21st century.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Dec 2013
ANU Press
Practical Ethics and Public Policy
Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE)
Arts & Humanities: Philosophy & Religion; Social Sciences: Social Policy & Administration

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  1. Ethics and Dual-Use Research (PDF, 123KB)Michael J. Selgelid doi

Part I: Dual Use in Context

  1. Nanotechnology and Dual-Use Dilemmas (PDF, 317KB)Jim Whitman doi
  2. What Does Neuroethics Have to Say about the Problem of Dual Use? (PDF, 387KB)Valentina Bartolucci and Malcolm Dando doi
  3. Synthetic Biology as a Field of Dual-Use Bioethical Concern (PDF, 183KB)Alexander Kelle doi
  4. Crops Agents, Phytopathology and Ethical Review (PDF, 733KB)Simon Whitby doi
  5. The Super TB Experiment: Evolution and Resolution of an Experiment with Dual-Use Concerns (PDF, 135KB)Nancy Connell doi

Part II: Ethical Frameworks and Principles

  1. Moral Development and Ethical Decision-Making (PDF, 196KB)Judi Sture doi
  2. Responsible Dual Use (PDF, 571KB)John Forge doi
  3. An Expected-Value Approach to the Dual-Use Problem (PDF, 947KB)Thomas Douglas doi
  4. The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Ethics of Dual Use (PDF, 137KB)Suzanne Uniacke doi
  5. Unknowns in Dual-Use Dilemmas (PDF, 1.2MB)Michael Smithson doi
  6. Moral Responsibility, Collective-Action Problems and the Dual-Use Dilemma in Science and Technology (PDF, 1.4MB)Seumas Miller doi
  7. Biosecurity and the Just-War Tradition (PDF, 1.1MB)Koos van der Bruggen doi
  8. The Precautionary Principle and the Dual-Use Dilemma (PDF, 140KB)Steve Clarke doi

Part III: Ethical Practices

  1. Scientific Control Over Dual-Use Research: Prospects for Self-Regulation (PDF, 180KB)David B. Resnik doi
  2. Contrasting Dual-Use Issues in Biology and Nuclear Science (PDF, 171KB)Nicholas G. Evans doi
  3. Considering Contextuality in Dual-Use Discussions: Is There a Problem? (PDF, 154KB)Louise Bezuidenhout doi

Part IV: Ethical Futures

  1. Exploring the Role of Life Scientists in Combating the Misuse of Incapacitating Chemical and Toxin Agents (PDF, 299KB)Michael Crowley doi
  2. WHO Project on Responsible Life-Sciences Research for Global Health Security: Why Ethics and How to Strengthen It? (PDF, 223KB)Emmanuelle Tuerlings and Andreas Reis doi


  1. Ethics as … (PDF, 251KB)Brian Rappert doi

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