•  703
    Conscientious objection in health care is a form of compromise whereby health care practitioners can refuse to take part in safe, legal, and beneficial medical procedures to which they have a moral opposition (for instance abortion). Arguments in defense of conscientious objection in medicine are usually based on the value of respect for the moral integrity of practitioners. I will show that philosophical arguments in defense of conscientious objection based on respect for such moral integrity a…Read more
  •  693
    After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?
    with Francesca Minerva
    Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5): 261-263. 2013.
    Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the…Read more
  •  604
    The Australian Federal Government has announced a two-year trial scheme to compensate living organ donors. The compensation will be the equivalent of six weeks paid leave at the rate of the national minimum wage. In this article I analyse the ethics of compensating living organ donors taking the Australian scheme as a reference point. Considering the long waiting lists for organ transplantations and the related costs on the healthcare system of treating patients waiting for an organ, the 1.3 mil…Read more
  •  600
    Abortion and the Argument from Potential: What We Owe to the Ones Who Might Exist
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (1): 49-59. 2012.
    Next SectionI challenge the idea that the argument from potential (AFP) represents a valid moral objection to abortion. I consider the form of AFP that was defended by Hare, which holds that abortion is against the interests of the potential person who is prevented from existing. My reply is that AFP, though not unsound by itself, does not apply to the issue of abortion. The reason is that AFP only works in the cases of so-called same number and same people choices, but it falsely presupposes th…Read more
  •  563
    Reliance on intuitive and emotive responses is widespread across many areas of bioethics, and the current debate on biotechnological human enhancement is particularly interesting in this respect. A strand of “bioconservatives” that has explicitly drawn connections to the modern conservative tradition, dating back to Edmund Burke, appeals explicitly to the alleged wisdom of our intuitions and emotions to ground opposition to some biotechnologies or their uses. So-called bioliberals, those who in …Read more
  •  449
    Euthanasia
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (1): 35-46. 2013.
    The current impasse in the old debate about the morality of euthanasia is mainly due to the fact that the actual source of conflict has not been properly identified—or so I shall argue. I will first analyse the two different issues involved in the debate, which are sometimes confusingly mixed up, namely: (a) what is euthanasia?, and (b) why is euthanasia morally problematic? Considering documents by physicians, philosophers and the Roman Catholic Church, I will show that (a) ‘euthanasia’ is defi…Read more
  •  247
    The Ethics of Human Enhancement
    Philosophy Compass 10 (4): 233-243. 2015.
    Ethical debate surrounding human enhancement, especially by biotechnological means, has burgeoned since the turn of the century. Issues discussed include whether specific types of enhancement are permissible or even obligatory, whether they are likely to produce a net good for individuals and for society, and whether there is something intrinsically wrong in playing God with human nature. We characterize the main camps on the issue, identifying three main positions: permissive, restrictive and c…Read more
  •  220
    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health disaster driven largely by antibiotic use in human health care. Doctors considering whether to prescribe antibiotics face an ethical conflict between upholding individual patient health and advancing public health aims. Existing literature mainly examines whether patients awaiting consultations desire or expect to receive antibiotic prescriptions, but does not report views of the wider public regarding conditions under which doctors should…Read more
  •  157
    Stop wishing. Start doing!
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (1): 29-31. 2015.
  •  76
    What in the World Is Moral Disgust?
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2): 227-242. 2016.
    I argue that much philosophical discussion of moral disgust suffers from two ambiguities: first, it is not clear whether arguments for the moral authority of disgust apply to disgust as a consequence of moral evaluations or instead to disgust as a moralizing emotion; second, it is not clear whether the word ‘moral’ is used in a normative or in a descriptive sense. This lack of clarity generates confusion between ‘fittingness’ and ‘appropriateness’ of disgust. I formulate three conditions that ar…Read more
  •  63
    We describe a form of moral artificial intelligence that could be used to improve human moral decision-making. We call it the “artificial moral advisor”. The AMA would implement a quasi-relativistic version of the “ideal observer” famously described by Roderick Firth. We describe similarities and differences between the AMA and Firth’s ideal observer. Like Firth’s ideal observer, the AMA is disinterested, dispassionate, and consistent in its judgments. Unlike Firth’s observer, the AMA is non-abs…Read more
  •  42
    According to human enhancement advocates, it is morally permissible (and sometimes obligatory) to use biomedical means to modulate or select certain biological traits in order to increase people’s welfare, even when there is no pathology to be treated or prevented. Some authors have recently proposed to extend the use of biomedical means to modulate lust, attraction, and attachment. I focus on some conceptual implications of this proposal, particularly with regard to bioconservatives’ understand…Read more
  •  41
    We argue that individuals who have access to vaccines and for whom vaccination is not medically contraindicated have a moral obligation to contribute to the realisation of herd immunity by being vaccinated. Contrary to what some have claimed, we argue that this individual moral obligation exists in spite of the fact that each individual vaccination does not significantly affect vaccination coverage rates and therefore does not significantly contribute to herd immunity. Establishing the existence…Read more
  •  39
    I argue that appeals to conscience do not constitute reasons for granting healthcare professionals exemptions from providing services they consider immoral. My argument is based on a comparison between a type of objection that many people think should be granted, i.e. to abortion, and one that most people think should not be granted, i.e. to antibiotics. I argue that there is no principled reason in favour of conscientious objection qua conscientious that allows to treat these two cases differen…Read more
  •  38
    Taxing Meat: Taking Responsibility for One’s Contribution to Antibiotic Resistance
    with Hannah Maslen, Julian Savulescu, Thomas Douglas, and Patrick Birkl
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (2): 179-198. 2017.
    Antibiotic use in animal farming is one of the main drivers of antibiotic resistance both in animals and in humans. In this paper we propose that one feasible and fair way to address this problem is to tax animal products obtained with the use of antibiotics. We argue that such tax is supported both by deontological arguments, which are based on the duty individuals have to compensate society for the antibiotic resistance to which they are contributing through consumption of animal products obta…Read more
  •  34
    Influenza Vaccination Strategies Should Target Children
    with Ben Bambery, Thomas Douglas, Michael J. Selgelid, Hannah Maslen, Andrew J. Pollard, and Julian Savulescu
    Public Health Ethics 11 (2): 221-234. 2018.
    Strategies to increase influenza vaccination rates have typically targeted healthcare professionals and individuals in various high-risk groups such as the elderly. We argue that they should focus on increasing vaccination rates in children. Because children suffer higher influenza incidence rates than any other demographic group, and are major drivers of seasonal influenza epidemics, we argue that influenza vaccination strategies that serve to increase uptake rates in children are likely to be …Read more
  •  33
    Vaccination, Risks, and Freedom: The Seat Belt Analogy
    with Julian Savulescu
    Public Health Ethics. forthcoming.
    We argue that, from the point of view public health ethics, vaccination is significantly analogous to seat belt use in motor vehicles and that coercive vaccination policies are ethically justified for the same reasons why coercive seat belt laws are ethically justified. We start by taking seriously the small risk of vaccines’ side effects and the fact that such risks might need to be coercively imposed on individuals. If millions of individuals are vaccinated, even a very small risk of serious s…Read more
  •  32
    Antimicrobial resistance kills people. According to a recent estimate, ‘7 00 000 people die of resistant infections every year’, and ‘by 2050 10 million lives a year are at risk due to drug resistant infections, as are 100 trillion USD of economic output’.1 Today, ‘bacteria are resistant to nearly all antibiotics that were earlier active against them’.2 For all these reasons, antimicrobial resistance is considered a ‘slowly emerging disaster’3 and a ‘global health security issue’.4 The prospect …Read more
  •  28
    An Argument for Compulsory Vaccination: The Taxation Analogy
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (3): 446-466. 2020.
  •  27
    The treatment-enhancement distinction is often used to delineate acceptable and unacceptable medical interventions. It is likely that future assistive and augmenting technologies will also soon develop to a level that they might be considered to provide users, in particular those with disabilities, with abilities that go beyond natural human limits, and become in effect an enhancing technology. In this paper, we describe how this process might take place, and discuss the moral implications of su…Read more
  •  26
    Regulating Genome Editing: For an Enlightened Democratic Governance
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (1): 76-88. 2019.
    How should we regulate genome editing in the face of persistent substantive disagreement about the moral status of this technology and its applications? In this paper, we aim to contribute to resolving this question. We first present two diametrically opposed possible approaches to the regulation of genome editing. A first approach, which we refer to as “elitist,” is inspired by Joshua Greene’s work in moral psychology. It aims to derive at an abstract theoretical level what preferences people w…Read more
  •  26
    Demandingness and Public Health Ethics
    with Julian Savulescu
    Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1): 65-87. 2019.
    Public health policies often require individuals to make personal sacrifices for the sake of protecting other individuals or the community at large. Such requirements can be more or less demanding for individuals. This paper examines the implications of demandingness for public health ethics and policy. It focuses on three possible public health policies that pose requirements that are differently demanding: vaccination policies, policy to contain antimicrobial resistance, and quarantine and iso…Read more
  •  26
    Reasons and Freedom
    Hastings Center Report 43 (1): 4-5. 2013.
  •  25
    Enhancing Equality
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (3): 335-354. 2019.
    The range of opportunities people enjoy in life largely depends on social, biological, and genetic factors for which individuals are not responsible. Philosophical debates about equality of opportunities have focussed mainly on addressing social determinants of inequalities. However, the introduction of human bioenhancement should make us reconsider what our commitment to equality entails. We propose a way of improving morally relevant equality that is centred on what we consider a fair distribu…Read more
  •  23
    Nudging Immunity: The Case for Vaccinating Children in School and Day Care by Default
    with Lucius Caviola, Hannah Maslen, Thomas Douglas, Anne-Marie Nussberger, Nadira Faber, Samantha Vanderslott, Sarah Loving, Mark Harrison, and Julian Savulescu
    HEC Forum 31 (4): 325-344. 2019.
    Many parents are hesitant about, or face motivational barriers to, vaccinating their children. In this paper, we propose a type of vaccination policy that could be implemented either in addition to coercive vaccination or as an alternative to it in order to increase paediatric vaccination uptake in a non-coercive way. We propose the use of vaccination nudges that exploit the very same decision biases that often undermine vaccination uptake. In particular, we propose a policy under which children…Read more
  •  22
    Queue questions: Ethics of COVID‐19 vaccine prioritization
    with Julian Savulescu and Dominic Wilkinson
    Bioethics 35 (4): 348-355. 2021.
    Bioethics, EarlyView.
  •  22
    Harms to Vendors: We Should Discourage, Not Prohibit Organ Sales
    American Journal of Bioethics 14 (10): 25-27. 2014.
    No abstract
  •  21
    Normality, Therapy, and Enhancement
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (3): 347-354. 2015.
  •  20
    Clarifications on the moral status of newborns and the normative implications
    with Francesca Minerva
    Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5): 264-265. 2013.
    In this paper we clarify some issues related to our previous article ‘After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?’