•  61
    Genetic traits
    Biology and Philosophy 5 (3): 327-347. 1990.
    Recognizing that all traits are the result of an interaction between genes and environment, I offer a set of criteria for nevertheless making sense of our practice of singling out certain traits as genetic ones, in effect making a distinction between causes and mere conditions. The central criterion is that a trait is genetic if it is genetic differences that make the differences in that trait variable in a given population. A second criterion requires that genetic traits be individuated in a wa…Read more
  •  46
    Beyond bioethics: the 5th International Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36 (1): 1-5. 2015.
    We are pleased to once again present to the readers of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics papers from the Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable. Previous issues have followed the 3rd and 4th Roundtables, and the current issue presents a selection from the more than 20 papers presented at the 5th Philosophy of Medicine Roundtable, which took place in New York, at Columbia University, in November 2013. Like its predecessors, held in Birmingham, AL, Rotterdam, and San Sebastian, this Roundtable attract…Read more
  •  44
    It is often claimed that a clinical investigator may ethically participate (e.g., enroll patients) in a trial only if she is in equipoise (if she has no way to ground a preference for one arm of the study). But this is a serious problem, for as data accumulate, it can be expected that there will be a discernible trend favoring one of the treatments prior to the point where we achieve the trial's objective. In this paper, I critically evaluate Benjamin Freedman's 'clinical equipoise' solution to …Read more
  •  38
    Philosophy of Medicine (edited book)
    Elsevier. 2011.
    This volume covers a wide range of conceptual, epistemological and methodological issues in the philosophy of science raised by reflection upon medical science and practice.
  •  34
    Pulling the plug on clinical equipoise: A critique of Miller and Weijer
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 17 (3): 203-226. 2007.
    : As clinicians, researchers, bioethicists, and members of society, we face a number of moral dilemmas concerning randomized clinical trials. How we manage the starting and stopping of such trials—how we conceptualize what evidence is sufficient for these decisions—has implications for both our obligations to trial participants and for the nature and security of the resultant medical knowledge. One view of how this is to be done, "clinical equipoise," recently has been given an extended defense …Read more
  •  33
    Bryan G. Norton, ed.: The Preservation of Species (review)
    Environmental Ethics 10 (1): 91-94. 1988.
  •  30
    This paper examines some criticisms that have been made of two standard genetic methodologies: heritability and path analysis. I conclude that the criticisms should be taken seriously, concerning both the accuracy of heritability measures and their significance. In light of the fact that such studies remain prominent in the literature, I consider what possible rationale they can retain consistent with these criticisms. In particular, I consider (1) a role in the identification of high-risk indiv…Read more
  •  29
    The conflict between randomized clinical trials and the therapeutic obligation
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 11 (4): 347-366. 1986.
    The central dilemma concerning randomized clinical trials (RCTs) arises out of some simple facts about causal methodology (RCTs are the best way to generate the reliable causal knowledge necessary for optimally-informed action) and a prima facie plausible principle concerning how physicians should treat their patients (always do what it is most reasonable to believe will be best for the patient). A number of arguments related to this in the literature are considered. Attempts to avoid the dilemm…Read more
  •  28
    Animal care ethics, ANZCCART, and public perceptions of animal use ethics
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (3-4): 249-257. 2000.
    The public attitude to animal use in Australia and New Zealandcan be inferred from survey results and political activity. The publicis concerned about the rights of animals as far as any uses causing painare concerned, but takes a more utilitarian view of the taking of lifewhere no suffering is involved. Many of the participants in two recentANZCCART conferences fall short in their knowledge of and attitudetoward these concerns. Animal welfare legislation and standards need tobe reformed so that…Read more
  •  28
    Paul Thompson, food biotechnology in ethical perspective, London: Blackie academic and professional, 1997 (review)
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (3-4): 341-347. 2000.
  •  25
    So-called "clinical equipoise" and the argument from design
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32 (2). 2007.
    In this article, I review and expand upon arguments showing that Freedman's so-called "clinical equipoise" criterion cannot serve as an appropriate guide and justification for the moral legitimacy of carrying out randomized clinical trials. At the same time, I try to explain why this approach has been given so much credence despite compelling arguments against it, including the fact that Freedman's original discussion framed the issues in a misleading way, making certain things invisible: Clinic…Read more
  •  18
    Nondistributive Social Factors, Noneconomic Distributive Factors
    American Journal of Bioethics 15 (3): 40-42. 2015.
  •  17
    This paper critically examines a particular strategy for resolving the central ethical dilemma associated with randomized clinical trials — the “community equipoise” strategy . The dilemma is that RCTs appear to violate a physician's duty to choose that therapy which there is most reason to believe is in the patient's best interest, randomizing patients even once evidence begins to favor one treatment. The community equipoise strategy involves the suggestion that our judgment that neither treatm…Read more
  •  16
    Locating the Right Rationale: Phase I
    American Journal of Bioethics 14 (12): 12-13. 2014.
  •  12
    Medicine Meets the Golem
    Metascience 16 (2): 277-279. 2007.
  •  9
    Sober's Use of Unanimity in the Units of Selection Problem
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986. 1986.
    Sober argues that the units of selection problem in evolutionary biology is to be understood and solved by applying the general analysis of what it means for C to cause E in a population. The account he utilizes is the unanimity account, according to which C causes E in a population when C raises the probability of E in each causal context. I argue that he does not succeed here, both because the unanimity account is not well grounded in the general case, and because there are important differenc…Read more
  •  7
    Origins and challenges
    with Ana Rodriguez
    In Catherine Myser (ed.), Bioethics Around the Globe, Oxford University Press. pp. 120. 2011.
  •  5
    The Structure of Biological Science
    Noûs 25 (1): 123-125. 1991.
  •  4
    Ethical Issues in Enhancement Research
    Journal of Evolution and Technology 18 (1): 42-49. 2008.
    This paper is a preliminary exploration concerning how the ethics of research on human subjects may differ when we move from the well-discussed context of research on therapies to the less-discussed context of research on enhancements. A number of differences are described. There are some features that make such research more morally problematic in certain ways, but some of the features may actually ameliorate some of the moral tensions that exist in human subjects research. It is hoped that thi…Read more
  •  4
    This paper critically examines a particular strategy for resolving the central ethical dilemma associated with randomized clinical trials — the “community equipoise” strategy. The dilemma is that RCTs appear to violate a physician's duty to choose that therapy which there is most reason to believe is in the patient's best interest, randomizing patients even once evidence begins to favor one treatment. The community equipoise strategy involves the suggestion that our judgment that neither treatme…Read more
  • Explanation and Causation in Genetics
    Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. 1984.
    I discuss genetic causation and explanation with the aim of improving our conceptualization of the relationship between genes, environment and phenotype. I then utilize this discussion to illustrate, test and elaborate certain philosophical accounts of causation and explanation . The central theme is the population-relativity of causal claims. ;I begin with an explication of 'genetic trait'. All traits have both genetic and environmental causal factors, so more must be said than that genetic tra…Read more
  • Bioethics in Costa Rica : origins and challenges
    with Ana Rodriguez
    In Catherine Myser (ed.), Bioethics Around the Globe, Oxford University Press. 2011.