•  29
    Self-tests for influenza: an empirical ethics investigation
    with Benedict Rumbold and Clare Wenham
    BMC Medical Ethics 18 (1): 33. 2017.
    In this article we aim to assess the ethical desirability of self-test diagnostic kits for influenza, focusing in particular on the potential benefits and challenges posed by a new, mobile phone-based tool currently being developed by i-sense, an interdisciplinary research collaboration based at University College London and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Our study adopts an empirical ethics approach, supplementing an initial review into the ethical considerati…Read more
  •  41
    Privacy Rights and Public Information
    Journal of Political Philosophy 27 (1): 3-25. 2019.
    This article concerns the nature and limits of individuals’ rights to privacy over information that they have made public. For some, even suggesting that an individual can have a right to privacy over such information may seem paradoxical. First, one has no right to privacy over information that was never private to begin with. Second, insofar as one makes once-private information public – whether intentionally or unintentionally – one waives one’s right to privacy to that information. In this a…Read more
  •  21
    Affordability and Non-Perfectionism in Moral Action
    with Benedict Rumbold, Victoria Charlton, Annette Rid, Polly Mitchell, Peter Littlejohns, Catherine Max, and Albert Weale
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4): 973-991. 2019.
    One rationale policy-makers sometimes give for declining to fund a service or intervention is on the grounds that it would be ‘unaffordable’, which is to say, that the total cost of providing the service or intervention for all eligible recipients would exceed the budget limit. But does the mere fact that a service or intervention is unaffordable present a reason not to fund it? Thus far, the philosophical literature has remained largely silent on this issue. However, in this article, we conside…Read more
  •  113
    Ontology and the Regulation of Intellectual Property
    The Monist 93 (3): 450-463. 2010.
    Philosophical reflection on intellectual property (IP) is still very young. Whilst much has been written by lawyers on intellectual property, the vast majority of this writing is philosophically unsophisticated. This paper aims to at least partially remedy this philosophical deficit by examining what reflection on the ontology of intellectual property can add to our understanding of how to regulate IP. I argue that ontological reflection should bring us to an important basic fact, namely that ow…Read more
  •  17
    Since the 1960s we have moved rapidly from a “doctor-knows-best” society which in which medical paternalism -- such as withholding information from patients “for their benefit” -- was common, towards a society which celebrates patients’ rights to make informed decisions about their care. In Choosing Life, Choosing Death, Charles Foster mounts a polemic against the current enthusiasm for respect for autonomy in medical ethics and law
  •  73
    When we talk about intellectual property, it is often implicitly assumed that we are talking about private intellectual property. However, private property and the idea of private ownership do not exhaust the possibilities for accounts of ownership and of property. There are other ways that ownership can operate, such as common property. A resource is common property if its use is ‘governed by rules whose point is to make them available for use by all or any members of the society.’
  •  81
    Hard paternalism, fairness and clinical research: why not?
    with Sarah J. L. Edwards
    Bioethics 26 (2). 2012.
    Jansen and Wall suggest a new way of defending hard paternalism in clinical research. They argue that non-therapeutic research exposing people to more than minimal risk should be banned on egalitarian grounds: in preventing poor decision-makers from making bad decisions, we will promote equality of welfare. We argue that their proposal is flawed for four reasons.First, the idea of poor decision-makers is much more problematic than Jansen and Wall allow. Second, pace Jansen and Wall, it may be pr…Read more
  •  60
    Just health: meeting health needs fairly is an ambitious book, in which Norman Daniels attempts to bring together in a single framework all his work on health and justice from the past 25 years. One major aim is to reconcile his earlier work on the special moral importance of healthcare with his later work on the social determinants of health. In his earlier work, Daniels argued that healthcare is of special moral importance because it protects opportunity. In this later work, Daniels argues tha…Read more
  •  47
    The infant mortality rate in Liberia is 50 times higher than it is in Sweden, whilst a child born in Japan has a life expectancy at birth of more than double that of one born in Zambia. 1 And within countries, we see differences which are nearly as great. For example, if you were in the USA and travelled the short journey from the poorer parts of Washington to Montgomery County Maryland, you would find that ‘for each mile travelled life expectancy rises about a year and a half. There is a twenty…Read more
  •  119
    Could there be a right to own intellectual property?
    Law and Philosophy 28 (4). 2009.
    Intellectual property typically involves claims of ownership of types, rather than particulars. In this article I argue that this difference in ontology makes an important moral difference. In particular I argue that there cannot be an intrinsic moral right to own intellectual property. I begin by establishing a necessary condition for the justification of intrinsic moral rights claims, which I call the Rights Justification Principle. Briefly, this holds that if we want to claim that there is an…Read more
  •  262
    Is respect for autonomy defensible?
    Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (6): 353-356. 2007.
    Three main claims are made in this paper. First, it is argued that Onora O’Neill has uncovered a serious problem in the way medical ethicists have thought about both respect for autonomy and informed consent. Medical ethicists have tended to think that autonomous choices are intrinsically worthy of respect, and that informed consent procedures are the best way to respect the autonomous choices of individuals. However, O’Neill convincingly argues that we should abandon both these thoughts. Second…Read more
  •  177
    Transhumanism and moral equality
    Bioethics 21 (8). 2007.
    Conservative thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama have produced a battery of objections to the transhumanist project of fundamentally enhancing human capacities. This article examines one of these objections, namely that by allowing some to greatly extend their capacities, we will undermine the fundamental moral equality of human beings. I argue that this objection is groundless: once we understand the basis for human equality, it is clear that anyone who now has sufficient capacities to count as a…Read more
  •  47
    Rights (edited book)
    John Wiley and Sons. 2007.
    We are all familiar with assertions of rights: we talk of the right to confi dentiality, the right to health care and, more controversially, the right to die. But beneath this surface familiarity lies a heap of diffi culties about what it is to have a right, how we should go about determining which assertions of rights are genuine and what role (if any) rights should play in our broader moral thinking. This chapter aims to offer a guide through these perplexities.
  •  26