Counterfactual Consent and the Use of Deception in Research

Bioethics 29 (7):470-477 (2014)
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The use of deception for the purposes of research is a widespread practice within many areas of study. If we want to avoid either absolute acceptance or absolute rejection of this practice then we require some method of distinguishing between those uses of deception which are morally acceptable and those which are not. In this article I discuss the concept of counterfactual consent, and propose a related distinction between counterfactual-defeating deception and counterfactual-compatible deception. The aim is to show that this proposed distinction will be useful in furthering the debate regarding the use of deception for the purposes of research



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Alan T. Wilson
University of Bristol

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