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Profile: Kevin Elliott
Profile: Kevin Elliott (University of Newcastle)
  1. Kevin Elliott & Daniel McKaughan (2014). Nonepistemic Values and the Multiple Goals of Science. Philosophy of Science 81 (1):1-21.
    Recent efforts to argue that nonepistemic values have a legitimate role to play in assessing scientific models, theories, and hypotheses typically either reject the distinction between epistemic and nonepistemic values or incorporate nonepistemic values only as a secondary consideration for resolving epistemic uncertainty. Given that scientific representations can legitimately be evaluated not only based on their fit with the world but also with respect to their fit with the needs of their users, we show in two case studies that nonepistemic (...)
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  2.  41
    Kevin C. Elliott (2013). Douglas on Values: From Indirect Roles to Multiple Goals. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):375-383.
    In recent papers and a book, Heather Douglas has expanded on the well-known argument from inductive risk, thereby launching an influential contemporary critique of the value-free ideal for science. This paper distills Douglas’s critique into four major claims. The first three claims provide a significant challenge to the value-free ideal for science. However, the fourth claim, which delineates her positive proposal to regulate values in science by distinguishing direct and indirect roles for values, is ambiguous between two interpretations, and both (...)
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  3.  28
    Kevin Christopher Elliott (2010). Is a Little Pollution Good for You?: Incorporating Societal Values in Environmental Research. Oxford University Press.
    Introduction : societal values and environmental research -- The Hormesis case -- An argument for societal values in policy-relevant research -- Lesson #1 : safeguarding science -- Lesson #2 : diagnosing deliberation -- Lesson #3 : ethics for experts -- The MCS and ED cases.
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  4. Kevin C. Elliott & David Willmes (2013). Cognitive Attitudes and Values in Science. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):807-817.
    We argue that the analysis of cognitive attitudes should play a central role in developing more sophisticated accounts of the proper roles for values in science. First, we show that the major recent efforts to delineate appropriate roles for values in science would be strengthened by making clearer distinctions among cognitive attitudes. Next, we turn to a specific example and argue that a more careful account of the distinction between the attitudes of belief and acceptance can contribute to a better (...)
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  5.  14
    Daniel J. McKaughan & Kevin C. Elliott (2015). Introduction: Cognitive Attitudes and Values in Science. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:57-61.
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  6.  81
    Kevin C. Elliott (2011). Direct and Indirect Roles for Values in Science. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):303-324.
    Although many philosophers have employed the distinction between “direct” and “indirect” roles for values in science, I argue that it merits further clarification. The distinction can be formulated in several ways: as a logical point, as a distinction between epistemic attitudes, or as a clarification of different consequences associated with accepting scientific claims. Moreover, it can serve either as part of a normative ideal or as a tool for policing how values influence science. While various formulations of the distinction may (...)
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  7.  7
    Kevin C. Elliott (2014). Anthropocentric Indirect Arguments for Environmental Protection. Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (3):243-260.
    Environmental ethicists have devoted considerable attention to discussing whether anthropocentric or nonanthropocentric arguments provide more appropriate means for defending environmental protection. This paper argues that philosophers, scientists, and policy makers should pay more attention to a particular type of anthropocentric argument. These anthropocentric indirect arguments defend actions or policies that benefit the environment, but they justify the policies based on beneficial effects on humans that are not caused by their environmental benefits. AIAs appear to have numerous appealing characteristics, and their (...)
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  8. David Resnik & Kevin Elliott (2013). Taking Financial Relationships Into Account When Assessing Research. Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance 20 (3):184-205.
     
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  9.  33
    Kevin C. Elliott (2012). Epistemic and Methodological Iteration in Scientific Research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):376-382.
    A number of scholars have recently drawn attention to the importance of iteration in scientific research. This paper builds on these previous discussions by drawing a distinction between epistemic and methodological forms of iteration and by clarifying the relationships between them. As defined here, epistemic iteration involves progressive alterations to scientific knowledge claims, whereas methodological iteration refers to an interplay between different modes of research practice. While distinct, these two forms of iteration are related in important ways. Contemporary research on (...)
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  10.  49
    Kevin Elliott & Daniel McKaughan (2009). How Values in Scientific Discovery and Pursuit Alter Theory Appraisal. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):598-611.
    Philosophers of science readily acknowledge that nonepistemic values influence the discovery and pursuit of scientific theories, but many tend to regard these influences as epistemically uninteresting. The present paper challenges this position by identifying three avenues through which nonepistemic values associated with discovery and pursuit in contemporary pollution research influence theory appraisal: (1) by guiding the choice of questions and research projects, (2) by altering experimental design, and (3) by affecting the creation and further investigation of theories or hypotheses. This (...)
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  11.  39
    Kevin Elliott (2007). Varieties of Exploratory Experimentation in Nanotoxicology. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 29 (3):313 - 336.
    There has been relatively little effort to provide a systematic overview of different forms of exploratory experimentation (EE). The present paper examines the growing subdiscipline of nanotoxicology and suggests that it illustrates at least four ways that researchers can engage in EE: searching for regularities; developing new techniques, simulation models, and instrumentation; collecting and analyzing large swaths of data using new experimental strategies (e.g., computer-based simulation and "high-throughput" instrumentation); and structuring an entire disciplinary field around exploratory research agendas. In order (...)
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  12.  11
    Paul Mushak & Kevin C. Elliott (2016). Structured Development and Promotion of a Research Field: Hormesis in Biology, Toxicology, and Environmental Regulatory Science. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 25 (4):335-367.
    The ability of powerful and well-funded interest groups to steer scientific research in directions that advance their goals has become a significant social concern. This ability is increasingly being recognized in the peer-reviewed literature and in the findings of deliberative expert consensus committees. For example, there is increasing recognition that efforts to address climate change have been stymied in part by a powerful network of conservative foundations, which fund think tanks and other organizations that constitute a “climate change counter movement”. (...)
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  13.  20
    Kevin Elliott (2004). Error as Means to Discovery. Philosophy of Science 71 (2):174-197.
    This paper argues, first, that recent studies of experimentation, most notably by Deborah Mayo, provide the conceptual resources to describe scientific discovery's early stages as error-probing processes. Second, it shows that this description yields greater understanding of those early stages, including the challenges that they pose, the research strategies associated with them, and their influence on the rest of the discovery process. Throughout, the paper examines the phenomenon of "chemical hormesis" (i.e., anomalous low-dose effects from toxic chemicals) as a case (...)
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  14.  76
    Kevin Elliott (2010). Geoengineering and the Precautionary Principle. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (2):237-253.
    As it becomes more and more doubtful that the international community will take adequate steps to mitigate climate change, interest has grown in the possibility of engineering earth’s climate to prevent catastrophic levels of warming. Unfortunately, geoengineering schemes have the potential to create grave, unintended consequences. This paper explores the extent to which the precautionary principle (PP), which was developed as a guideline for responding to uncertainty in the policy sphere, can provide guidance for responding to the potential benefits and (...)
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  15.  1
    Daniel McKaughan & Kevin Elliott, Backtracking and the Ethics of Framing: Lessons From Voles and Vasopressin.
    When communicating scientific information, experts often face difficult choices about how to promote public understanding while also maintaining an appropriate level of objectivity. We argue that one way for scientists and others involved in communicating scientific information to alleviate these tensions is to pay closer attention to the major frames employed in the contexts in which they work. By doing so, they can ideally employ useful frames while also enabling the recipients of information to “backtrack” to relatively uncontroversial facts and (...)
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  16.  12
    Maureen A. O'Malley, Kevin C. Elliott & Richard M. Burian (2010). From Genetic to Genomic Regulation: Iterativity in microRNA Research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (4):407-417.
    The discovery and ongoing investigation of microRNAs suggest important conceptual and methodological lessons for philosophers and historians of biology. This paper provides an account of miRNA research and the shift from viewing these tiny regulatory entities as minor curiosities to seeing them as major players in the post-transcriptional regulation of genes. Conceptually, the study of miRNAs is part of a broader change in understandings of genetic regulation, in which simple switch-like mechanisms were reinterpreted as aspects of complex cellular and genome-wide (...)
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  17.  14
    Kevin C. Elliott (2014). Financial Conflicts of Interest and Criteria for Research Credibility. Erkenntnis 79 (5):917-937.
    The potential for financial conflicts of interest (COIs) to damage the credibility of scientific research has become a significant social concern, especially in the wake of high-profile incidents involving the pharmaceutical, tobacco, fossil-fuel, and chemical industries. Scientists and policy makers have debated whether the presence of financial COIs should count as a reason for treating research with suspicion or whether research should instead be evaluated solely based on its scientific quality. This paper examines a recent proposal to develop criteria for (...)
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  18.  22
    Kevin C. Elliott (2006). An Ethics of Expertise Based on Informed Consent. Science and Engineering Ethics 12 (4):637-661.
    Ethicists widely accept the notion that scientists have moral responsibilities to benefit society at large. The dissemination of scientific information to the public and its political representatives is central to many of the ways in which scientists serve society. Unfortunately, the task of providing information can often give rise to moral quandaries when scientific experts participate in politically charged debates over issues that are fraught with uncertainty. This paper develops a theoretical framework for an “ethics of expertise” (EOE) based on (...)
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  19.  4
    David B. Resnik & Kevin C. Elliott (2015). Bisphenol A and Risk Management Ethics. Bioethics 29 (3):182-189.
    It is widely recognized that endocrine disrupting compounds, such as Bisphenol A, pose challenges for traditional paradigms in toxicology, insofar as these substances appear to have a wider range of low-dose effects than previously recognized. These compounds also pose challenges for ethics and policymaking. When a chemical does not have significant low-dose effects, regulators can allow it to be introduced into commerce or the environment, provided that procedures and rules are in place to keep exposures below an acceptable level. This (...)
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  20.  61
    Justin Weinberg & Kevin C. Elliott (2012). Science, Expertise, and Democracy. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (2):83-90.
    The combination of government’s significant involvement in science, science’s significant effects on the public, and public ignorance raise important challenges for reconciling scientific expertise with democratic governance. Nevertheless, there have recently been a variety of encouraging efforts to make scientific activity more responsive to social values and to develop citizens’ capacity to engage in more effective democratic governance of science. This essay introduces a special issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal on “Science, Expertise, and Democracy,” consisting of five (...)
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  21.  6
    Kevin Elliott (2012). Selective Ignorance and Agricultural Research. Science, Technology, and Human Values 38 (3):328-350.
    Scholars working in science and technology studies have recently argued that we could learn much about the nature of scientific knowledge by paying closer attention to scientific ignorance. Building on the work of Robert Proctor, this article shows how ignorance can stem from a wide range of selective research choices that incline researchers toward partial, limited understandings of complex phenomena. A recent report produced by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development serves as the article’s central (...)
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  22.  14
    Kevin Elliott (2000). Conceptual Clarification and Policy-Related Science: The Case of Chemical Hormesis. Perspectives on Science 8 (4):346-366.
    : This paper examines the epistemological warrant for a toxicological phenomenon known as chemical hormesis. First, it argues that conceptual confusion contributes significantly to current disagreements about the status of chemical hormesis as a biological hypothesis. Second, it analyzes seven distinct concepts of chemical hormesis, arguing that none are completely satisfactory. Finally, it suggests three ramifications of this analysis for ongoing debates about the epistemological status of chemical hormesis. This serves as a case study supporting the value of philosophical methodologies (...)
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  23.  39
    Kevin C. Elliott (2009). The Ethical Significance of Language in the Environmental Sciences: Case Studies From Pollution Research. Ethics, Place and Environment 12 (2):157 – 173.
    This paper examines how ethically significant assumptions and values are embedded not only in environmental policies but also in the language of the environmental sciences. It shows, based on three case studies associated with contemporary pollution research, how the choice of scientific categories and terms can have at least four ethically significant effects: influencing the future course of scientific research; altering public awareness or attention to environmental phenomena; affecting the attitudes or behavior of key decision makers; and changing the burdens (...)
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  24.  15
    Kevin C. Elliott (2006). A Novel Account of Scientific Anomaly: Help for the Dispute Over Low-Dose Biochemical Effects. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):790-802.
    The biological effects of low doses of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are currently a matter of significant scientific controversy. This paper argues that philosophers of science can contribute to alleviating this controversy by examining it with the aid of a novel account of scientific anomaly. Specifically, analysis of contemporary research on chemical hormesis (i.e., alleged beneficial biological effects produced by low doses of substances that are harmful at higher doses) suggests that scientists may initially describe anomalous phenomena in terms of (...)
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  25. David Volz & Kevin Elliott (2012). Addressing Conflicts of Interest in Nanotechnology Oversight. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 14:664-8.
     
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  26. David Volz & Kevin Elliott (2012). Mitigating Conflicts of Interest in Chemical Safety Testing. Environmental Science and Technology 46 (15):7937-8.
     
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  27.  1
    Kevin C. Elliott & Michael Dickson, Distinguishing Risk and Uncertainty in Risk Assessments of Emerging Technologies.
    Economist Frank Knight drew a distinction between decisions under risk and decisions under uncertainty. Despite the significance of this distinction for decision theory, we argue that there has been inadequate attention to the difficulties involved in classifying decision situations into these categories. Using the risk assessment of carbon nanotubes as an example, we show that it is often unclear whether there is adequate information to classify a decision situation as being under risk as opposed to uncertainty. We conclude by providing (...)
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  28.  4
    Kevin C. Elliott (2005). Developmental Systems Theory and Human Embryos: A Response to Austriaco. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 5 (2):249-259.
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  29.  7
    Kevin Elliott (2008). Norton's Conception of Sustainability. Environmental Ethics 29 (1):3-22.
    In his new book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, Bryan G. Norton proposes an account of sustainability grounded in the deliberation of local communities as part of an adaptive management process. One can distinguish two different ways of justifying his account—resulting in “political” and “metaphysical” conceptions of sustainability—in much the same way that John Rawls famously distinguishes between political and metaphysical conceptions of justice. Whereas the metaphysical conception of sustainability depends on principles that are specific to American pragmatist (...)
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  30.  2
    Kevin C. Elliott (forthcoming). Standardized Study Designs, Value Judgments, and Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research. Perspectives on Science:529-551.
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  31.  10
    Kevin Elliott (2007). Norton's Conception of Sustainability: Political, Not Metaphysical? Environmental Ethics 29 (1):3-22.
    In his new book, Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management, Bryan G. Norton proposes an account of sustainability grounded in the deliberation of local communities as part of an adaptive management process. One can distinguish two different ways of justifying his account—resulting in “political” and “metaphysical” conceptions of sustainability—in much the same way that John Rawls famously distinguishes between political and metaphysical conceptions of justice. Whereas the metaphysical conception of sustainability depends on principles that are specific to American pragmatist (...)
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  32.  20
    Kevin Elliott (2007). An Ironic Reductio for a 'Pro-Life' Argument:1 Hurlbut's Proposal for Stem Cell Research. Bioethics 21 (2):98–110.
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  33.  3
    Kevin Elliott (2015). Review: Daniel Steel. Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence, and Environmental Policy. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 82 (3):524-527.
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  34.  29
    Kevin Elliott, Ignorance, Uncertainty, and the Development of Scientific Language.
    Robert Proctor has argued that ignorance or non-knowledge can be fruitfully divided into at least three categories: ignorance as native state or starting point; ignorance as lost realm or selective choice; and ignorance as strategic ploy or active construct. This chapter explores Proctor’s second category, ignorance as selective choice. When scientists investigate poorly understood phenomena, they have to make selective choices about what questions to ask, what research strategies and metrics to employ, and what language to use for describing the (...)
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  35. Charles S. Bryan, Theresa J. Call & Kevin C. Elliott (2007). The Ethics of Infection Control: Philosophical Frameworks. Ethics 28 (9):1077-1084.
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  36.  16
    Kevin C. Elliott (2008). Fritz Allhoff, Patrick Lin, James Moor, and John Weckert (Eds.):Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology,:Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):405-408.
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  37.  4
    Kevin Elliott (2011). Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. [REVIEW] Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 102:204-205.
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  38.  5
    Kevin Elliott & A. I. Sabra (2000). Ment Inquiry, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Management and Governance, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She is Currently Editing (with James G. March) a Book in Honor of Herbert A. Simon's Contributions, Forthcoming with MIT Press. [REVIEW] Perspectives on Science 8 (4).
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  39.  13
    Katherine W. Robinson & Kevin C. Elliott (2011). Environmental Aesthetics and Public Environmental Philosophy. Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (2):175 - 191.
    We argue that environmental aesthetics, and specifically the concept of aesthetic integrity, should play a central role in a public environmental philosophy designed to communicate about environmental problems in an effective manner. After developing the concept of the ?aesthetic integrity? of the environment, we appeal to empirical research to show that it contributes significantly to people?s sense of place, which is, in turn, central to their well-being and motivational state. As a result, appealing to aesthetic integrity in policy contexts is (...)
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  40.  2
    Kevin Elliott (2006). Hormesis and Environmental Policy: An Ethical Analysis. Public Affairs Quarterly 20 (1):31-53.
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  41.  1
    Maureen A. O’Malley, Kevin C. Elliott & Richard M. Burian (2010). From Genetic to Genomic Regulation: Iterativity in microRNA Research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):407-417.
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  42.  4
    Kevin C. Elliott (2010). Nature in Common? Environmental Ethics 32 (1):79-84.
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  43.  12
    Kevin C. Elliott (2010). Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles, Energy Policy, and the Ethics of Expertise. Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (4):376-393.
    Relatively few thinkers have attempted to develop a systematic ‘ethics of expertise’ (EOE) that can guide scientists and other technical experts in providing information to the public. This paper argues that the prima facie duty to disseminate information in a manner that does not damage the self-determination of decision makers could fruitfully serve as one of the core principles of an EOE. Moreover, this duty can be fleshed out in promising ways by drawing on the concept of informed consent, which (...)
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  44.  1
    Kevin Elliott (2015). Daniel Steel,Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence, and Environmental Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 266 Pp., $95.00. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 82 (3):524-527.
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  45.  3
    Kevin C. Elliott (2014). Environmental Health Ethics. Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (2):238-239.
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  46.  7
    Kevin Elliott (2008). Kristin Shrader‐Frechette:Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health,:Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health. Philosophy of Science 75 (2):249-251.
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  47.  6
    Kevin Elliott (2011). Review of What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter: From Science to Ethics. [REVIEW] Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 5 (1).
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  48.  3
    Kevin C. Elliott (2013). Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk From Toxicants. Ethics, Policy and Environment 16 (2):226 - 229.
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  49. Kevin Elliott (2002). Biomedical Ethics, Public-Health Risk Assessment, and the Naturalistic Fallacy. Public Affairs Quarterly 16 (4):351-376.
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  50. Kevin Elliott, Ethical and Societal Values in Nanotoxicology.
    Ethicists and policy makers have spent a good deal of effort considering how to make societal decisions in response to emerging public- and environmental-health risks like those posed by nanomaterials. This paper explores how these sorts of ethical and societal value judgments about responding to nanotechnology’s environmental health and safety risks arise not only in the public-policy domain but also “upstream,” in the performance of scientific research. It focuses especially on the notion that particular forms of research can be more (...)
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