•  114
    Kidney Sales and the Burden of Proof
    Journal of Practical Ethics 7 (3): 32-53. 2019.
    Janet Radcliffe Richards’ The Ethics of Transplants outlines a novel framework for moral inquiry in practical contexts and applies it to the topic of paid living kidney donation. In doing so, Radcliffe Richards makes two key claims: that opponents of organ markets bear the burden of proof, and that this burden has not yet been satisfied. This paper raises four related objections to Radcliffe Richards’ methodological framework, focusing largely on how Radcliffe Richards uses this framework in her…Read more
  •  81
    Germline gene editing and the precautionary principle
    with Christopher Gyngell and Julian Savulescu
    Bioethics 34 (1): 49-59. 2020.
    Bioethics, EarlyView.
  •  74
    Assessing the Likely Harms to Kidney Vendors in Regulated Organ Markets
    American Journal of Bioethics 14 (10): 7-18. 2014.
    Advocates of paid living kidney donation frequently argue that kidney sellers would benefit from paid donation under a properly regulated kidney market. The poor outcomes experienced by participants in existing markets are often entirely attributed to harmful black-market practices. This article reviews the medical and anthropological literature on the physical, psychological, social, and financial harms experienced by vendors under Iran's regulated system of donor compensation and black markets…Read more
  •  27
    One common objection to establishing regulated live donor organ markets is that such markets would be exploitative. Perhaps surprisingly, exploitation arguments against organ markets have been widely rejected in the philosophical literature on the subject. It is often argued that concerns about exploitation should be addressed by increasing the price paid to organ sellers, not by banning the trade outright. I argue that this analysis rests on a particular conception of exploitation, and outline …Read more
  •  26
    Commodification and Human Interests
    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 15 (3): 429-440. 2018.
    In Markets Without Limits and a series of related papers, Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski argue that it is morally permissible to buy and sell anything that it is morally permissible to possess and exchange outside of the market. Accordingly, we should open markets in “contested commodities” including blood, gametes, surrogacy services, and transplantable organs. This paper clarifies some important aspects of the case for market boundaries and in so doing shows why there are in fact moral limit…Read more
  •  16
    Emerging moral status issues (review)
    with Christopher Gyngell
    Monash Bioethics Review 38 (2): 95-104. 2020.
    Many controversies in bioethics turn on questions of moral status. Some moral status issues have received extensive bioethical attention, including those raised by abortion, embryo experimentation, and animal research. Beyond these established debates lie a less familiar set of moral status issues, many of which are tied to recent scientific breakthroughs. This review article surveys some key developments that raise moral status issues, including the development of in vitro brains, part-human an…Read more
  •  15
    Moral uncertainty and the farming of human-pig chimeras
    Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (7): 440-446. 2019.
    It may soon be possible to generate human organs inside of human-pig chimeras via a process called interspecies blastocyst complementation. This paper discusses what arguably the central ethical concern is raised by this potential source of transplantable organs: that farming human-pig chimeras for their organs risks perpetrating a serious moral wrong because the moral status of human-pig chimeras is uncertain, and potentially significant. Those who raise this concern usually take it to be uniqu…Read more
  •  11
    Our recent article begins by describing a new technique for creating human–animal chimeras. This technique—known as interspecies blastocyst complementation—may enable us to generate human organs inside of human–pig chimeras. One central concern about farming human–pig chimeras for their organs is that their moral status would be uncertain and potentially significant. Our article is partly, but not only, about such concerns. At the heart of our paper are two broader questions. First, how should w…Read more
  •  11
    Choice, pressure and markets in kidneys
    Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (5): 310-313. 2018.
    We do not always benefit from the expansion of our choice sets. This is because some options change the context in which we must make decisions in ways that render us worse off than we would have been otherwise. One promising argument against paid living kidney donation holds that having the option of selling a ‘spare’ kidney would impact people facing financial pressures in precisely this way. I defend this argument from two related criticisms: first, that having the option to sell one’s kidney…Read more
  •  11
    Moral Limits of Brain Organoid Research
    with Julian Savulescu
    Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 47 (4): 760-767. 2019.
    Brain organoid research raises ethical challenges not seen in other forms of stem cell research. Given that brain organoids partially recapitulate the development of the human brain, it is plausible that brain organoids could one day attain consciousness and perhaps even higher cognitive abilities. Brain organoid research therefore raises difficult questions about these organoids' moral status – questions that currently fall outside the scope of existing regulations and guidelines. This paper sh…Read more
  •  8
    Julian J. Koplin Replies
    Hastings Center Report 50 (1): 46-46. 2020.
  •  7
    Lessons from Frankenstein 200 years on: brain organoids, chimaeras and other ‘monsters’
    with John Massie
    Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (8): 567-571. 2021.
    Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has captured the public imagination ever since it was first published over 200 years ago. While the narrative reflected 19th-century anxieties about the emerging scientific revolution, it also suggested some clear moral lessons that remain relevant today. In a sense, Frankenstein was a work of bioethics written a century and a half before the discipline came to exist. This paper revisits the lessons of Frankenstein regarding the creation and manipulation of life in th…Read more
  •  5
    Old Challenges or New Issues? Genetic Health Professionals’ Experiences Obtaining Informed Consent in Diagnostic Genomic Sequencing
    with Danya F. Vears, Pascal Borry, and Julian Savulescu
    AJOB Empirical Bioethics 12 (1): 12-23. 2021.
  •  4
    Old Challenges or New Issues? Genetic Health Professionals’ Experiences Obtaining Informed Consent in Diagnostic Genomic Sequencing
    with Danya F. Vears, Pascal Borry, and Julian Savulescu
    Ajob Empirical Bioethics 1-12. forthcoming.
  •  4
    Why genomics researchers are sometimes morally required to hunt for secondary findings
    with Julian Savulescu and Danya F. Vears
    BMC Medical Ethics 21 (1): 1-11. 2020.
    Genomic research can reveal ‘unsolicited’ or ‘incidental’ findings that are of potential health or reproductive significance to participants. It is widely thought that researchers have a moral obligation, grounded in the duty of easy rescue, to return certain kinds of unsolicited findings to research participants. It is less widely thought that researchers have a moral obligation to actively look for health-related findings. This paper examines whether there is a moral obligation, grounded in th…Read more
  •  3
    The Moral Relevance of Humanization
    American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1): 59-61. 2021.
    Greely’s target article outlines six categories of ethical issues associated with human brain surrogate research. Some of these issues are familiar from other research contexts; others, less...
  •  2
    ‘It’s not worse than eating them’: the limits of analogy in bioethics
    Monash Bioethics Review 38 (2): 129-145. 2020.
    Bioethicists often defend novel practices by drawing analogies with practices that we are already familiar with and currently tolerate. If some novel practice is less bad than some widely-accepted practice, then we cannot rightly reject it. Using the bioethics literature on xenotransplantation and interspecies blastocyst complementation as a case study, I show how this style of argument can go awry. The key problem is that our moral intuitions about familiar practices can be distorted by their s…Read more
  •  1
    In their recent paper in this journal, Zümrüt Alpinar-Şencan and colleagues review existing dignity-based objections to organ markets and outline a new form of dignity-based objection they believe has more merit: one grounded in a social account of dignity. This commentary clarifies some aspects of the social account of dignity and then shows how this revised account can be applied to other perennial issues in bioethics, including the ethics of human embryo research and the ethics of creating pa…Read more