Reconciling Regulation with Scientific Autonomy in Dual-Use Research

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 47 (1):72-94 (2022)
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Abstract

In debates over the regulation of communication related to dual-use research, the risks that such communication creates must be weighed against against the value of scientific autonomy. The censorship of such communication seems justifiable in certain cases, given the potentially catastrophic applications of some dual-use research. This conclusion however, gives rise to another kind of danger: that regulators will use overly simplistic cost-benefit analysis to rationalize excessive regulation of scientific research. In response to this, we show how institutional design principles and normative frameworks from free speech theory can be used to help extend the argument for regulating dangerous dual-use research beyond overly simplistic cost-benefit reasoning, but without reverting to an implausibly absolutist view of scientific autonomy.

Author Profiles

Robert Mark Simpson
University College London
Nicholas Evans
Australian National University
Michael Selgelid
Monash University

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