Cambridge University
Faculty of Philosophy
North Stoneham, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  •  3
    Whether it is morally permissible to compel women to undergo a caesarean section is a topic of longstanding debate. Despite plenty of arguments against the moral permissibility of a forced caesarean section, the question keeps cropping up. This paper seeks to scrutinise a particular moral argument in favour of compulsion: the appeal to parental obligation. We present what we take to be a distillation of the basic form of this argument. We then argue that, in the absence of an exhaustive theory o…Read more
  •  7
    Nine Months
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (3): 371-386. 2020.
    When did we begin to exist? Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard argue that a new human organism comes into existence neither earlier nor later than the moment of gastrulation: 16 days after conception. Several critics have responded that the onset of the organism must happen earlier; closer to conception. This article makes a radically different claim: if we accept Smith and Brogaard’s ontological commitments, then human organisms start, on average, roughly nine months after conception. The main poin…Read more
  •  57
    A 2017 Nature report was widely touted as hailing the arrival of the artificial womb. But the scientists involved claim their technology is merely an improvement in neonatal care. This raises an under-considered question: what differentiates neonatal incubation from artificial womb technology? Considering the nature of gestation—or metaphysics of pregnancy—(a) identifies more profound differences between fetuses and neonates/babies than their location (in or outside the maternal body) alone: fet…Read more
  •  86
    Were You a Part of Your Mother?
    Mind 128 (511): 609-646. 2019.
    Is the mammalian embryo/fetus a part of the organism that gestates it? According to the containment view, the fetus is not a part of, but merely contained within or surrounded by, the gestating organism. According to the parthood view, the fetus is a part of the gestating organism. This paper proceeds in two stages. First, I argue that the containment view is the received view; that it is generally assumed without good reason; and that it needs substantial support if it is to be taken seriously.…Read more
  •  38
  •  122
    Lady Parts: The Metaphysics of Pregnancy
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 165-187. 2018.
    What is the metaphysical relationship between the fetus/embryo and the pregnant organism? In this paper I apply a substance metaphysics view developed by Barry Smith and Berit Brogaard to argue, on the basis of topological connectedness, that fetuses/embryos are Lady-Parts: part of the maternal organism up until birth. This leaves two options. Either mammalian organisms begin at birth, or we revise our conception of organisms such that mammalian organisms can be part of other mammals. The first …Read more
  •  197
    Paracetamol, poison, and polio: Why Boorse's account of function fails to distinguish health and disease
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2): 241-264. 2010.
    Christopher Boorse's Bio Statistical Theory (BST) defines health as the absence of disease, and disease as the adverse departure from normal species functioning. This paper presents a two-pronged problem for this account. First I demonstrate that, in order to accurately account for dynamic physiological functions, Boorse's account of normal function needs to be modified to index functions against situations. I then demonstrate that if functions are indexed against situations, the BST can no long…Read more
  •  54
    What is it to be healthy?
    Analysis 67 (2): 128-133. 2007.
  •  206
    What is it to be healthy?
    Analysis 67 (2). 2007.
  •  68
    Naturalist accounts of mental disorder
    In K. . W. . M. Fulford (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry, Oxford University Press. pp. 363. 2013.
    This chapter examines naturalistic accounts of mental disorder: accounts that define disorder as biological dysfunction. There are three such accounts: an eliminativist account ; a forward-looking or goal-contribution account and a backward-looking or evolutionary account. I argue first, and contra Szasz, that biological functions can be attributed at a mental level. But our mental architecture might simultaneously support many different ways of attributing function claims, which might undermine…Read more
  •  71
    Situation-Specific Disease and Dispositional Function: Table 1
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2): 391-404. 2016.
    In, I argued that Boorse's biostatistical theory of health is unable to accommodate diseases that are the normal result of harmful environments. Hausman disagrees: if the BST compares normal dispositional function against the whole population or reference class, rather than against organisms in similar circumstances as I proposed, then my challenge can be avoided. In this paper, I argue that Hausman's response fails: his proposal cannot accommodate a series of common physiological processes, suc…Read more
  •  79
    Naturalism about Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6): 590-608. 2014.
    The literature on health and diseases is usually presented as an opposition between naturalism and normativism. This article argues that such a picture is too simplistic: there is not one opposition between naturalism and normativism, but many. I distinguish four different domains where naturalist and normativist claims can be contrasted: (1) ordinary usage, (2) conceptually clean versions of “health” and “disease,” (3) the operationalization of dysfunction, and (4) the justification for that op…Read more
  •  17
    Interdisciplinary Workshop on Concepts of Health and Disease: Report
    with Ben Chisnall and M. M. McCabe
    Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17 (5): 1018-1022. 2011.
  •  37
    Interdisciplinary workshop report: methodology and 'Personhood and Identity in Medicine'
    with Mary Margaret McCabe
    Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18 (5): 1057-1063. 2012.
  •  46
    A note on being healthy – reply
    Diametros 31 136-137. 2012.
  •  39
    On the 13th June 2014, the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King’s College London hosted a one-day workshop on ‘Parentalism and Trust.’ This workshop was the sixth in a series of workshops whose aim is to provide a new model for high-quality open interdisciplinary engagement between medical professionals and philosophers. The term ‘Parentalism’ rather than paternalism is chosen and used throughout because of some of the derisory and unfortunate gender connotations associated with pa…Read more
  •  28
    On 27 September 2013, the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King's College London hosted a 1-day workshop on ‘Medical knowledge, Medical Duties’. This workshop was the fifth in a series of five workshops whose aim is to provide a new model for high-quality, open interdisciplinary engagement between medical professionals and philosophers. This report identifies the key points of discussion raised throughout the day and the methodology employed.