•  3
    Measuring the Biases that Matter: The Ethical and Causal Foundations for Measures of Fairness in Algorithms
    Proceedings of the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency 2019 269-278. 2019.
    Measures of algorithmic bias can be roughly classified into four categories, distinguished by the conditional probabilistic dependencies to which they are sensitive. First, measures of "procedural bias" diagnose bias when the score returned by an algorithm is probabilistically dependent on a sensitive class variable (e.g. race or sex). Second, measures of "outcome bias" capture probabilistic dependence between class variables and the outcome for each subject (e.g. parole granted or loan denied).…Read more
  •  1
    Measuring Fairness in an Unfair World
    Proceedings of AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society 2020 286-292. 2020.
    Computer scientists have made great strides in characterizing different measures of algorithmic fairness, and showing that certain measures of fairness cannot be jointly satisfied. In this paper, I argue that the three most popular families of measures - unconditional independence, target-conditional independence and classification-conditional independence - make assumptions that are unsustainable in the context of an unjust world. I begin by introducing the measures and the implicit idealizatio…Read more
  •  13
    The Social Risks of Science
    Hastings Center Report 50 (6): 27-38. 2020.
    Many instances of scientific research impose risks, not just on participants and scientists but also on third parties. This class of social risks unifies a range of problems previously treated as distinct phenomena, including so-called bystander risks, biosafety concerns arising from gain-of-function research, the misuse of the results of dual-use research, and the harm caused by inductive risks. The standard approach to these problems has been to extend two familiar principles from human subjec…Read more
  •  24
    Agent-Based Models of Dual-Use Research Restrictions
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2): 377-399. 2021.
    Scientific research that could cause grave harm, either through accident or intentional malevolence, is known as dual-use research. Recent high-profile cases of dual-use research in the life sciences have led to debate about the extent to which restrictions on the conduct and dissemination of such research may impede scientific progress. We adapt formal models of scientific networks to systematically explore the effects that different regulatory schemes may have on a community’s ability to learn…Read more
  •  31
    The Contribution of Security to Well-being
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (3). 2019.
    Do unknown and unrealized risks of harm diminish an individual’s well-being? The traditional answer is no: that the security of prudential goods benefits an individual only instrumentally or by virtue of their subjective sense of security. Recent work has argued, however, that the security of prudential goods non-instrumentally benefits an individual regardless of whether or not they enjoy subjective security. In this paper, I critically examine three claims about the way in which unknown and un…Read more
  •  16
    Security, Planning and Justice: A Reply to Mintz-Woo
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3): 387-390. 2018.
    In a recent paper, I argued that the mere risk of climate-related harm was itself a harm, since it undermined the security of individuals subject to that risk. In his commentary, Mintz-Woo argues that my account of the value of security is mistaken. On his view, the value of belief-relative security is already well captured by standard theories of wellbeing, and the value of fact-relative security is illusory. In the following, I attempt to respond to his concerns. First, I argue contrary to Min…Read more
  •  11
    The limits of global health diplomacy: Taiwan’s observer status at the world health assembly
    with Lee Kelley
    Globalization and Health 10 (71): 1-9. 2014.
    In 2009, health authorities from Taiwan formally attended the 62nd World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization as observers, marking the country’s participation for the first time since 1972. The long process of negotiating this breakthrough has been cited as an example of successful global health diplomacy. This paper analyses this negotiation process, drawing on government documents, formal representations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and key informant interviews. The actor…Read more
  •  82
    Against the Autonomy Argument for Mandatory GMO Labeling
    Public Affairs Quarterly 32 (2): 85-117. 2018.
    Many argue that consumers possess a “right to know” when products contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, on the grounds that it would protect consumer autonomy. In this paper, I critically evaluate that claim. I begin by providing a version of the “consumer autonomy” argument, showing that its success relies on ambiguities in the notion of autonomy. I then distinguish four approaches to autonomy and articulate the circumstances under which they would support active disc…Read more
  •  16
    Climate-Related Insecurity, Loss and Damage
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2): 184-194. 2017.
    The harms of climate change are deeply uncertain. Though climate change will render most individuals more vulnerable to harm, many individuals will not actually suffer climate-related harms. In this paper, I argue that vulnerability to harms is itself a harm, because it undermines our enjoyment of the good of security. After some brief remarks on the concept of security, I give three reasons for thinking that depriving an individual of the security of basic goods harms them: it has a strong cont…Read more
  •  9
    Health Security and Risk Aversion
    Bioethics 30 (7): 479-489. 2016.
    Health security has become a popular way of justifying efforts to control catastrophic threats to public health. Unfortunately, there has been little analysis of the concept of health security, nor the relationship between health security and other potential aims of public health policy. In this paper I develop an account of health security as an aversion to risky policy options. I explore three reasons for thinking risk avoidance is a distinctly worthwhile aim of public health policy: that secu…Read more
  •  55
    The Concept of Security, Liberty, Fear and the State
    In Philippe Bourbeau (ed.), Security: Dialogue Across Disciplines, Cambridge University Press. pp. 22-44. 2015.
    Whilst security seems central to many moral and political problems, sustained examination of the concept by contemporary philosophers is rare. In this chapter I seek to re-ignite philosophical interest in security by uncovering some of the ways in which the concept has been both understood and misunderstood. I begin by exploring the scarce historical understandings of security within the Western philosophical canon, from the Epicureans through Hobbes and on to contemporary political philosophy, …Read more
  •  12
    What Counts? Justifications, Not Labels
    with Angus Dawson and Heather Draper
    Hastings Center Report 45 (2): 3-3. 2015.
  •  13
    This chapter provides a philosophical analysis of the different meanings of “security” and, by so doing, identifies some key features of the concept of security. I begin by establishing a number of qualities which this chapter’s conceptual analysis should ideally possess. I then make an important distinction between security as a practice and security as a state of being, and argue that more attention should be paid to the latter if our goal is to interrogate the justifiability of using security…Read more
  •  16
    Live liver donation, ethics and practitioners: 'I am between the two and if I do not feel comfortable about this situation, I cannot proceed'
    with H. Draper, S. R. Bramhall, and E. H. Thomas
    Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (3): 157-162. 2014.
    This paper discusses the views of 17 healthcare practitioners involved with transplantation on the ethics of live liver donations . Donations between emotionally related donor and recipients increased the acceptability of an LLD compared with those between strangers. Most healthcare professionals disapproved of altruistic stranger donations, considering them to entail an unacceptable degree of risk taking. Participants tended to emphasise the need to balance the harms of proceeding against those…Read more
  •  16
    Academic freedom is an important good, but it comes with several responsibilities. In this commentary we seek to do two things. First, we argue against Francesca Minerva's view of academic freedom as presented in her article ‘New threats to academic freedom’ on a number of grounds. We reject the nature of the absolutist moral claim to free speech for academics implicit in the article; we reject the elitist role for academics as truth-seekers explicit in her view; and we reject a possible more mo…Read more
  •  35
    Obesity, Liberty and Public Health Emergencies
    with Angus Dawson and Heather Draper
    Hastings Center Report 44 (6): 26-35. 2014.
    Widespread obesity poses a serious challenge to health outcomes in the developed world and is a growing problem in the developing world. There has been a raft of proposals to combat the challenge of obesity, including restrictions on the nature of food advertising, the content of prepared meals, and the size of sodas; taxes on saturated fat and on calories; and mandated “healthy-options” on restaurant menus. Many of these interventions seem to have a greater impact on rates of obesity than does …Read more