•  38
    In their article “The Concept of Voluntary Consent,” Robert Nelson and colleagues (2011) argue for two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for voluntary action: intentionality, and substantial freedom from controlling influences. They propose an instrument to empirically measure voluntariness, the Decision Making Control Instrument. I argue that (1) their conceptual analysis of intentionality and controlling influences needs expansion in light of the growing use of behavioral economics p…Read more
  •  534
    Facial Allograft Transplantation, Personal Identity, and Subjectivity
    Journal of Medical Ethics 33 (8): 449-453. 2007.
    An analysis of the identity issues involved in facial allograft transplantation is provided in this paper. The identity issues involved in organ transplantation in general, under both theoretical accounts of personal identity and subjective accounts provided by organ recipients, are examined. It is argued that the identity issues involved in facial allograft transplantation are similar to those involved in organ transplantation in general, but much stronger because the face is so closely linked …Read more
  •  1580
    Choice Architecture: Improving Choice While Preserving Liberty?
    In Christian Coons & Michael Weber (eds.), Paternalism, Cambridge University Press. 2013.
    The past four decades of research in the social sciences have shed light on two important phenomena. One is that human decision-making is full of predicable errors and biases that often lead individuals to make choices that defeat their own ends (i.e., the bad choice phenomenon), and the other is that individuals’ decisions and behaviors are powerfully shaped by their environment (i.e., the influence phenomenon). Some have argued that it is ethically defensible that the influence phenomenon be…Read more
  •  32
    On the Utility and Distinctness of the Concept of Behavioral Equipoise
    American Journal of Bioethics 11 (2): 9-10. 2011.
    In their paper, “Behavioral Equipoise: A Way to Resolve Ethical Stalemates in Clinical Research, “ Peter Ubel and Robert Silbergleit (2011) propose that we adopt another principle, the principle of behavioral equipoise, whereby RCTs are also morally justified in cases where they are expected to address the controversy, disagreement, or behavioral resistance surrounding a particular treatment. Adopting this ethical standard would allow for research to move forward and, as a result, for the resolu…Read more
  •  542
    Philosophical Explorations 13 (1). 2010.
    The phenomenon of ambivalence is an important one for any philosophy of action. Despite this importance, there is a lack of a fully satisfactory analysis of the phenomenon. Although many contemporary philosophers recognize the phenomenon, and address topics related to it, only Harry Frankfurt has given the phenomenon full treatment in the context of action theory - providing an analysis of how it relates to the structure and freedom of the will. In this paper, I develop objections to Frankfurt's…Read more
  •  40
    “Choosing Wisely” to Reduce Low-Value Care: A Conceptual and Ethical Analysis
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (5): 559-580. 2013.
    The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation has recently initiated a campaign called “Choosing Wisely,” which is aimed at reducing “low-value” care services. Lists of low-value care services are being developed and the ABIM Foundation is urging the American Medical Association and other organizations to get behind the lists, disseminate them, and implement them. Yet, there are many ethical questions that remain about the development, dissemination, and implementation of these low-v…Read more
  •  135
    Seeking Better Health Care Outcomes: The Ethics of Using the “Nudge”
    American Journal of Bioethics 12 (2): 1-10. 2012.
    Policymakers, employers, insurance companies, researchers, and health care providers have developed an increasing interest in using principles from behavioral economics and psychology to persuade people to change their health-related behaviors, lifestyles, and habits. In this article, we examine how principles from behavioral economics and psychology are being used to nudge people (the public, patients, or health care providers) toward particular decisions or behaviors related to health or healt…Read more
  •  12
    A Framework for Assessing the Moral Status of Manipulation,
    In Christian Coons Michael Weber (ed.), Manipulation, Oxford University Press. pp. 121-134. 2014.
    This paper deals with the ethics of using knowledge about a person’s particular psychological make-up, or about the psychology of judgment and decision-making in general, to shape that person’s decisions and behaviors. Various moral concerns emerge about this practice, but one of the more elusive and underdeveloped concerns is the charge of manipulation. It is this concern that is the focus of this paper. I argue that it is not the case that any of the practices traditionally labeled as “manipu…Read more
  •  32
    Tim O’Keefe, Epicurus on Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2005) (review)
    Journal of Value Inquiry 41 (1): 107-112. 2007.
    Epicurus on Freedom has considerable merit, but there are some elements of OKeefes argument that are worthy of a second thought. Two of OKeefes major claims are that Epicuruss proposal of swerves as an answer to the problem of whether we have the ability to do otherwise would be an inadequate answer, and that Epicurus should be concerned with the problem of openness and contingency of the future, not the problem of our ability to do otherwise. I address each of these claims
  •  1327
    On Nudging and Informed Consent—Four Key Undefended Premises
    American Journal of Bioethics 13 (6). 2013.
    No abstract
  •  31
    Should Repugnance Give Us Pause? On the Neuroscience of Daily Moral Reasoning
    with Aaron Cardon
    American Journal of Bioethics- Neuroscience 2 (2): 47-48. 2011.
    In our commentary we briefly review the work on the neurological differences between the rational ethical analysis used in professional contexts and the reflexive emotional responses of our daily moral reasoning, and discuss the implications for the claim that our normative arguments should not rely on the emotion of repugnance.
  •  1032
    In bioethics, the predominant categorization of various types of influence has been a tripartite classification of rational persuasion (meaning influence by reason and argument), coercion (meaning influence by irresistible threats—or on a few accounts, offers), and manipulation (meaning everything in between). The standard ethical analysis in bioethics has been that rational persuasion is always permissible, and coercion is almost always impermissible save a few cases such as imminent threat to …Read more
  •  73
    Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right is written in a manner that is accessible to all. Frankfurt’s arguments are, as usual, clear and persuasive. Korsgaard’s, Bratman’s, and Dan-Cohen’s comments are thought provoking. There are, however, two main areas in which Frankfurt’s arguments need clarification (the notion of wholehearted identification, and the concept of ambivalence), and there are misunderstandings of Frankfurt at work in Korsgaard’s (relationship between the self and the wi…Read more