Dual-Use Research Codes of Conduct: Lessons from the Life Sciences
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This paper considers multiple meanings of the expression ‘dual use’ and examines lessons to be learned from the life sciences when considering ethical and policy issues associated with the dual-use nature of nanotechnology (and converging technologies). After examining recent controversial dual-use experiments in the life sciences, it considers the potential roles and limitations of science codes of conduct for addressing concerns associated with dual-use science and technology. It concludes that, rather than being essentially associated with voluntary self-governance of the scientific community, codes of conduct should arguably be part of a broader regulatory oversight system.
KeywordsEthics Nanoethics Dual use Biological weapons Chemical weapons Mousepox Polio Influenza Codes of conduct Responsibility Science policy Regulation
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the “Gordon Cain Conference: The Dilemmas of Dual Use”, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, March 2008. The production of this article was partly supported by a Wellcome Trust Enhancement Award in Biomedical Ethics—“Building a Sustainable Capacity in Dual-Use Bioethics” (Chief Investigators: Malcolm Dando, Simon Whitby, Jim Whitman, Brian Rappert, Judi Sture, and Michael Selgelid). I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for numerous astute editorial suggestions.
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