Nazi Data: Dissociation From Evil
Whitely, William P.
Hafner, Arthur W.
Hastings Center Report. 1989 Jul/Aug; 19(4): 16-18.
This case study and three commentaries involve a contemporary researcher pondering the moral implications of using Nazi experimental data related to his work. How should Nazi data be regarded? Is it tainted information, or morally neutral? Should researchers today treat this data differently than more conventionally gathered information? Mark Sheldon and William Whitely cite Kristine Moe's four conditions that, if met, may justify the use of Nazi data. They conclude that, while researchers may be obliged to use the data if it can preserve life, by doing so they may be desecrating the memory of Nazi victims unless they can continually and creatively sustain a sense of condemnation. Brian Folker and Arthur Hafner reject the use of Nazi data, but conclude that each researcher must decide out of a concern for him- or herself as a moral being. Willard Gaylin argues that to use Nazi data is to legitimatize it and to become an accomplice. (KIE abstract)
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