University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Graduate Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2008
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Biomedical Ethics
  •  41
    Respect for Persons
    The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics. 2020.
    This chapter explores the foundation and content of the duty to respect persons. The authors argue that it is best understood as a duty to recognize people’s rights. Respect for persons therefore has specific implications for how competent and non-competent persons ought to be treated in research. For competent persons it underlies the obligation to obtain consent to many research procedures. The chapter gives an analysis of the requirements for obtaining valid consent. It then considers respect…Read more
  •  81
    Informed Consent: What Must Be Disclosed and What Must Be Understood?
    American Journal of Bioethics 21 (5): 46-58. 2021.
    Over the last few decades, multiple studies have examined the understanding of participants in clinical research. They show variable and often poor understanding of key elements of disclosure, such as expected risks and the experimental nature of treatments. Did the participants in these studies give valid consent? According to the standard view of informed consent they did not. The standard view holds that the recipient of consent has a duty to disclose certain information to the profferer of c…Read more
  •  15
    Disclosure and Consent to Medical Research Participation
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (2): 195-219. 2015.
  •  364
    Understanding, Communication, and Consent
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 45-68. 2018.
    Misconceived Consent: Miguel has stage IV lung cancer. He has nearly exhausted his treatment options when his oncologist, Dr. Llewellyn, tells him about an experimental vaccine trial that may boost his immune response to kill cancer cells. Dr. Llewellyn provides Miguel with a consent form that explains why the study is being conducted, what procedures he will undergo, what the various risks and benefits are, alternative sources of treatment, and so forth. She even sits down with him, carefully t…Read more
  •  1569
    Tom Dougherty argues that culpably deceiving another person into sex is seriously wrong no matter what the content about which she is deceived. We argue that his explanation of why deception invalidates consent has extremely implausible implications. Though we reject Dougherty’s explanation, we defend his verdict about deception and consent to sex. We argue that he goes awry by conflating the disclosure requirement for consent and the understanding requirement. When these are distinguished, we c…Read more
  •  254
    Understanding, interests and informed consent: a reply to Sreenivasan
    Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (4): 327-331. 2015.
    It is widely agreed that the view of informed consent found in the regulations and guidelines struggles to keep pace with the ever-advancing enterprise of human subjects research. Over the last 10 years, there have been serious attempts to rethink informed consent so that it conforms to our considered judgments about cases where we are confident valid consent has been given. These arguments are influenced by an argument from Gopal Sreenivasan, which apparently shows that a potential participant'…Read more
  •  418
    Cognitivist motivational internalism is the thesis that, if one believes that 'It is right to ϕ', then one will be motivated to ϕ. This thesis—which captures the practical nature of morality—is in tension with a Humean constraint on belief: belief cannot motivate action without the assistance of a conceptually independent desire. When defending cognitivist motivational internalism it is tempting to either argue that the Humean constraint only applies to non-moral beliefs or that moral beliefs on…Read more
  •  359
    Informed consent to HIV cure research
    with Joseph R. Millum
    Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (2): 108-113. 2017.
    Trials with highly unfavourable risk–benefit ratios for participants, like HIV cure trials, raise questions about the quality of the consent of research participants. Why, it may be asked, would a person with HIV who is doing well on antiretroviral therapy be willing to jeopardise his health by enrolling in such a trial? We distinguish three concerns: first, how information is communicated to potential participants; second, participants’ motivations for enrolling in potentially high risk researc…Read more
  •  245
    Can informed consent to research be adapted to risk?
    Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (7): 521-528. 2015.
    The current ethical and regulatory framework for research is often charged with burdening investigators and impeding socially valuable research. To address these concerns, a growing number of research ethicists argue that informed consent should be adapted to the risks of research participation. This would require less rigorous consent standards in low-risk research than in high-risk research. However, the current discussion is restricted to cases of research in which the risks of research parti…Read more
  •  472
    Motivational Internalism and the Challenge of Amoralism
    European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2): 452-471. 2016.
    Motivational internalism is the thesis that captures the commonplace thought that moral judgements are necessarily motivationally efficacious. But this thesis appears to be in tension with another aspect of our ordinary moral experience. Proponents of the contrast thesis, motivational externalism, cite everyday examples of amoralism to demonstrate that it is conceptually possible to be completely unmoved by what seem to be sincere first-person moral judgements. This paper argues that the challen…Read more
  •  609
    Disclosure and Consent to Medical Research Participation
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4): 195-219. 2013.
    Most regulations and guidelines require that potential research participants be told a great deal of information during the consent process. Many of these documents, and most of the scholars who consider the consent process, assume that all this information must be disclosed because it must all be understood. However, a wide range of studies surveying apparently competent participants in clinical trials around the world show that many do not understand key aspects of what they have been told. Th…Read more
  •  91
    Plenty to Worry About: Consent, Control, and Anxiety
    American Journal of Bioethics 12 (3): 35-36. 2012.
    The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 12, Issue 3, Page 35-36, March 2012.