•  657
    Practical Integration: the Art of Balancing Values, Institutions and Knowledge. Lessons from the History of British Public Health and Town Planning.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56 92-105. 2016.
    The paper uses two historical examples, public health (1840-1880) and town planning (1945-1975) in Britain, to analyse the challenges faced by goal-driven research, an increasingly important trend in science policy, as exemplified by the prominence of calls for addressing Grand Challenges. Two key points are argued. (1) Given that the aim of research addressing social or global problems is to contribute to improving things, this research should include all the steps necessary to bring science an…Read more
  •  455
    Pandemics - Background paper
    with Jasper Littmann
    Forward Look Archive. 2011.
    The background paper provides an introduction to the concept of pandemics and to the ethical and political issues related with pandemic preparedness.
  •  363
    Grand Challenges and Small Steps. Introduction to the Special Issue 'Interdisciplinary Integration: The Real Grand Challenge for the Life Sciences?'
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56 39-47. 2016.
    This collection addresses two different audiences: 1) historians and philosophers of the life sciences reflecting on collaborations across disciplines, especially as regards defining and addressing Grand Challenges; 2) researchers and other stakeholders involved in cross-disciplinary collaborations aimed at tackling Grand Challenges in the life and medical sciences. The essays collected here offer ideas and resources both for the study and for the practice of goal-driven cross-disciplinary resea…Read more
  •  351
    The Ethical Work that Regulations Will not Do
    Information, Communication and Society 15 (1): 124-141. 2012.
    Ethical concerns in e-social science are often raised with respect to privacy, confidentiality, anonymity and the ethical and legal requirements that govern research. In this article, the authors focus on ethical aspects of e-research that are not directly related to ethical regulatory framework or requirements. These frameworks are often couched in terms of benefits or harms that can be incurred by participants in the research. The authors shift the focus to the sources of value in terms of whi…Read more
  •  327
    Measuring Openness and Evaluating Digital Academic Publishing Models: Not Quite the Same Business
    with Yrsa Neuman
    The Journal of Electronic Publishing 17 (3). 2014.
    In this article we raise a problem, and we offer two practical contributions to its solution. The problem is that academic communities interested in digital publishing do not have adequate tools to help them in choosing a publishing model that suits their needs. We believe that excessive focus on Open Access (OA) has obscured some important issues; moreover exclusive emphasis on increasing openness has contributed to an agenda and to policies that show clear practical shortcomings. We believe th…Read more
  •  247
    Conceptual and terminological confusion around Personalised Medicine: a coping strategy
    with Vidar Halgunset
    BMC Medical Ethics 17 (1): 1-12. 2016.
    The idea of personalised medicine (PM) has gathered momentum recently, attracting funding and generating hopes as well as scepticism. As PM gives rise to differing interpretations, there have been several attempts to clarify the concept. In an influential paper published in this journal, Schleidgen and colleagues have proposed a precise and narrow definition of PM on the basis of a systematic literature review. Given that their conclusion is at odds with those of other recent attempts to underst…Read more
  •  194
    Harvesting the Promise of AOPs: An assessment and recommendations
    with Annamaria Carusi, Mark R. Davies, Beate I. Escher, Geoff Hodges, Kenneth M. Y. Leung, Maurice Wheelan, Catherine Willet, and Gerald T. Ankley
    Science of the Total Environment 628 1542-1556. 2018.
    The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept is a knowledge assembly and communication tool to facilitate the transparent translation of mechanistic information into outcomes meaningful to the regulatory assessment of chemicals. The AOP framework and associated knowledgebases (KBs) have received significant attention and use in the regulatory toxicology community. However, it is increasingly apparent that the potential stakeholder community for the AOP concept and AOP KBs is broader than scientists…Read more
  •  116
    The paper points out three serious problems in Ruud ter Meulen’s view of solidarity and of its role in healthcare ethics. First, it is not clear whether and to what extent ter Meulen expects normative concepts to be rooted in existing social practices: his criticism of liberal theories of justice seems to imply a different view on this issue than his implicit assumption that normative concepts are independent from social and historical trends. Second, it is not clear at which level his notion of…Read more
  •  79
    The paper discusses the possibility that the benefits of pharmacogenomics will not be distributed equally and will create orphan populations. I argue that since these inequalities are not substantially different from those produced by ‘traditional’ drugs and are not generated with the intention to discriminate, their production needs not be unethical. Still, the final result is going against deep-seated moral feelings and intuitions, as well as broadly accepted principles of just distribution of…Read more
  •  68
    A Starting Point for a Practical and Methodological Discussion (review)
    (Ibidem) le Letture di Planum. The Journal of Urbanism (1): 34-47. 2013.
    The paper is a critical discussion of Susan Fainstein's "The Just City". The review points out some weaknesses of Fainstein's three-dimensional account of justice, because the dimension of equity dominates over those of democracy and diversity. Moreover, the reasons for focusing on the just city instead of the good city are questioned. The review discusses two further important issues emerging from Fainstein's book: 1) the ethos of planners and, more generally, the role of experts in policy maki…Read more
  •  50
    Concerns about emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases have given a new lease of life to quarantinist measures: a series of time-honoured techniques for controlling the spread of infectious diseases through breaking the chain of human contagion. Since such measures typically infringe individual rights or privacy their use is subject to legal regulations and gives rise to ethical and political worries and suspicions. Yet in some circumstances they can be very effective. After considering som…Read more
  •  44
    The paper discusses some of the implications of regulatory innovation in the area of advanced biological therapies and personalised medicine. Benefits, risks and trade-offs are highlighted.
  •  38
    In spite of extensive criticisms, war metaphors are still widespread in medical discourse. In the domain of public health analogies between war and infectious diseases are rooted in the similar impacts they can have on political institutions and communities. This similarity has been emphasized by the recent trend of addressing infectious disease from the point of view of national security. Nevertheless, it is here argued that the analogy cannot be used to model normative principles for treating …Read more
  •  37
    Making Sense of A Theory of Justice
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 1 (3): 283-306. 2001.
    The primary aim of this interpretive essay is to reconstruct some of the most important features of Rawls’s theory of justice, and to offer a hypothesis about how its assumptions and arguments are tied together in a highly structured construction. An almost philological approach is adopted to highlight Rawlsian ideas. First, I consider in what sense Rawls is an individualist and in what sense he is not. Fromthis I conclude that he ought not be charged of psychological egoism or atomism. Then I c…Read more
  •  32
    The paper defends the theoretical strength and consistency of Rawls's constructivism, showing its ability to articulate and convincingly weave together several key ethical ideas; yet it questions the political relevance of this admirable normative architecture. After having illustrated Rawls's conception of moral agency and practical reason, the paper tackles two criticisms raised by Scheffler. First the allegation of naturalism based on Rawls's disdain of common sense ideas on desert is rebutte…Read more
  •  21
    La giustizia e il bene
    Teoria Politica (2-3): 341-369. 2003.
    In this article an attempt is made of presenting the deontological feature of A Theory of Justice under a new light. Through an exploration of the meaning of the priority of the good over the right and of the significance and function of the argument of the congruence between justice and individual good, the differences between teleology and deontology are displayed. Deontology seems to have several advantages: a) it allows for pluralism of values and a richer and deeper understanding of practic…Read more
  •  17
    The paper defends the theoretical strength and consistency of Rawls's constructivism, showing its ability to articulate and convincingly weave together several key ethical ideas; yet it questions the political relevance of this admirable normative architecture. After having illustrated Rawls's conception of moral agency and practical reason, the paper tackles two criticisms raised by Scheffler. First the allegation of naturalism based on Rawls's disdain of common sense ideas on desert is rebutte…Read more
  •  11
    La storia, la morale e la politica in Tucidide
    Teoria Politica (3): 31-60. 2008.
    History, Ethics and Politics in Thucydides - The paper analyses Thucydides’s views on history, ethics and politics trying to highlight how they affect each other. Thucydides has a tragic conception of history, according to which, notwithstanding the presence of some constants, human vicissitudes are open to unpredictability and chance. This view is closely related to Thucydides moral outlook, which is interpreted as a version of moral pluralism that recognises two mutually incompatible families …Read more
  •  7
    Sergio Cremaschi’s L’etica del Novecento offers a clear and careful account of the development of ethical theory in English-language and German Philosophy. The focus on meta-ethics and normative concerns allows the author to offer a very concise, reliable and comprehensive overview of philosophical ethics. In this respect the book effectively fills the gap left by the lack of a good, updated history of ethics. Although those qualities establish Cremaschi’s work as a valuable reference book, a fe…Read more
  •  7
    Both a significant body of literature and the case study presented here show that digital knowledge repositories struggle to attract the needed level of data and knowledge contribution that they need to be successful. This happens also to high profile and prestigious initiatives. The paper argues that the reluctance of researchers to contribute can only be understood in light of the highly competitive context in which research careers need to be built nowadays and how this affects researchers’ q…Read more
  •  6
    In this review of Rawls’ last publication two aims are pursued. First, an attempt is made to clarify how this new work makes the deep structure of the theory emerge, thus indicating the way the different arguments, assumptions and conceptions are strictly intertwined. The main point is to show that the overlapping consensus does not bear a foundational role, since justification rests on the combined work of reflective equilibrium and of the original position. The possibility of an overlapping co…Read more
  •  5
    Book Review: The Impact of the Internet on Our Moral Lives (review)
    Journal of International Political Theory 2 (2): 224-226. 2006.