Risky research and bystander consent

Bioethics 34 (9):912-917 (2020)
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Abstract

There is no quick and easy answer to the question whether research activities that endanger bystanders without their consent ever thereby violate those bystanders’ rights. We cannot dismiss the idea that bystanders possess strong rights against researchers simply on the grounds that they are, after all, merely bystanders. Indeed, it is easy to imagine scenarios in which researchers would be morally required to gain the informed consent of bystanders whom they risk harming. Whether bystander consent is required in any particular real‐world case will depend, in part, upon exactly how the research activity endangers them.

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Matthew Hanser
University of California at Santa Barbara

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