•  2
    Human enhancement : ethical issues in human enhancement
    In Jesper Ryberg, Thomas S. Petersen & Clark Wolf (eds.), New Waves in Applied Ethics, Palgrave-macmillan. 2007.
  •  548
    Bilking the bilking argument
    Analysis 69 (4): 605-611. 2009.
    Is it conceptually possible for an event, L, to be the cause of an earlier event, E? Some writers have employed the so-called bilking argument to attempt to show that the idea of such backwards causation is incoherent . According to this argument, if we are presented with what someone claims to be a case of backwards causation, it would be possible in principle to wait for E to occur, and then intervene to prevent the occurrence of L, thus demonstrating that E could not have been caused by L aft…Read more
  •  216
    Ethical issues in human enhancement
    In J. Ryberg, T. Petersen & C. Wolf (eds.), New Waves in Applied Ethics, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 120--152. 2007.
    Human enhancement has emerged in recent years as a blossoming topic in applied ethics. With continuing advances in science and technology, people are beginning to realize that some of the basic parameters of the human condition might be changed in the future. One important way in which the human condition could be changed is through the enhancement of basic human capacities. If this becomes feasible within the lifespan of many people alive today, then it is important now to consider the normativ…Read more
  •  16
    The value of being biologically related to one's family
    Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (12): 755-756. 2016.
  •  63
    Ethics, speculation, and values
    NanoEthics 2 (3): 317-327. 2008.
    Some writers claim that ethicists involved in assessing future technologies like nanotechnology and human enhancement devote too much time to debating issues that may or may not arise, at the expense of addressing more urgent, current issues. This practice has been claimed to squander the scarce and valuable resource of ethical concern. I assess this view, and consider some alternatives to ‘speculative ethics’ that have been put forward. I argue that attempting to restrict ethical debate so as t…Read more
  •  21
    In Defence of Drinking Alone
    with Hannah Maslen
    The Philosophers' Magazine 75 13-15. 2016.
  •  48
    Memory and mineness in personal identity
    Philosophical Psychology 29 (4): 479-489. 2016.
    Stanley Klein and Shaun Nichols describe the case of patient R.B., whose memories lacked the sense of “mineness” usually conveyed by memory. Klein and Nichols take R.B.’s case to show that the sense of mineness is merely a contingent feature of memory, which they see as raising two problems for memory-based accounts of personal identity. First, they see it as potentially undermining the appeal of memory-based accounts. Second, they take it to show that the conception of quasi-memory that underpi…Read more
  •  25
    Leonard Berlin reports that neuroscientific data have been presented in court by lawyers wishing to argue that their clients have reduced or absent moral responsibility for their behaviour because their brain function is impaired. Berlin cites evidence showing that such neuroscientific data can influence judges to pass more lenient sentences, and he anticipates that advances in “the neurology of criminal behavior” may lead courts to view certain criminals as having reduced accountability for the…Read more
  •  47
    Introducing Transformative Technologies into Democratic Societies
    Philosophy and Technology 25 (1): 27-45. 2012.
    Transformative technologies can radically alter human lives making us stronger, faster, more resistant to disease and so on. These include enhancement technologies as well as cloning and stem cell research. Such technologies are often approved of by many liberals who see them as offering us opportunities to lead better lives, but are often disapproved of by conservatives who worry about the many consequences of allowing these to be used. In this paper, we consider how a democratic government wit…Read more
  •  100
    What is it Like to Affect the Past?
    Topoi 34 (1): 195-199. 2015.
    Michael Dummett argued that, whilst we can imagine circumstances under which agents may rationally believe themselves capable of affecting the past, the attitude of such agents is bound to seem ‘paradoxical and unnatural to us’. Therefore, only agents very unlike us could intentionally affect the past. I argue that this is not the case. I outline circumstances in which the attitude of such agents is prudent, even by our own standards. Worlds in which backwards causation occurs could, then, conta…Read more
  •  955
    (No abstract is available for this citation)
  •  80
    A defence of quasi-memory
    Philosophy 81 (2): 323-355. 2006.
    Is it conceptually possible for one person to ‘remember’ the experiences of another person? Many philosophical discussions of personal identity suppose that this is possible. For example, some philosophers believe that our personal identity through time consists in the continuation of our mental lives, including the holding of memories over time. However, since a person’s memories are necessarily memories of her own experiences, a definition of personal identity in terms of memory risks circular…Read more
  •  5
    Making consequentialism more appealing
    Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (5): 359-360. 2015.
  •  2
    Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems
    with Immaculada de Melo Martin, Valentina Urbanek, David Frank, William Kabasenche, Nicholas Agar, S. Matthew Liao, Anders Sandberg, Allen Thompson, Stephen Jackson, Donald S. Maier, Nicole Hassoun, Benjamin Hale, Sune Holm, and Scott Simmons
    Lexington Books. 2013.
    Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems consists of thirteen chapters that address the ethical issues raised by technological intervention and design across a broad range of biological and ecological systems. Among the technologies addressed are geoengineering, human enhancement, sex selection, genetic modification, and synthetic biology
  •  34
    Why is informed consent important?
    Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (7): 435-436. 2014.
    Decision-making is a prominent theme in this edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics. Our feature article examines the relationship between trust and informed consent. Informed consent is, of course, central to the decision-making process in medicine. In addition, several articles consider decision-making in medicine from a variety of angles.Informed consent and trust: Eyal's argumentIn our feature article, Nir Eyal attacks attempts by bioethicists including Onora O'Neill, Torbjörn Tännsjö, and…Read more
  •  571
    Bioconservatism, Bioliberalism, and Repugnance
    Monash Bioethics Review 28 (1). 2009.
    We consider the current debate between bioconservatives and their opponents—whom we dub bioliberals—about the moral acceptability of human enhancement and the policy implications of moral debates about enhancement. We argue that this debate has reached an impasse, largely because bioconservatives hold that we should honour intuitions about the special value of being human, even if we cannot identify reasons to ground those intuitions. We argue that although intuitions are often a reliable guide …Read more
  •  259
    Should we enhance self-esteem?
    Philosophica 79 71-91. 2007.
    The conviction that high self-esteem is beneficial both to the individual and to society in general has been pervasive both in academia and in popular culture. If it is indeed beneficial, it is a prime candidate for pharmacological enhancement. There is evidence to suggest, however, that the benefits of high self-esteem to the individual have been exaggerated; and that there are few - if any - social benefits. With this evidence in mind, I consider in what ways high self-esteem is valuable, a…Read more
  •  333
  •  106
    Human Engineering and Climate Change
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2). 2012.
    Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which invo…Read more
  •  29
    Reassessing Biopsychosocial Psychiatry
    British Journal of Psychiatry 210 (1): 3-5. 2017.
    Psychiatry uncomfortably spans biological and psychosocial perspectives on mental illness, an idea central to Engel's biopsychosocial paradigm. This paradigm was extremely ambitious, proposing new foundations for clinical practice as well as a non-reductive metaphysics for mental illness. Perhaps given this scope, the approach has failed to engender a clearly identifiable research programme. And yet the view remains influential. We reassess the relevance of the biopsychosocial paradigm for psych…Read more
  •  73
    Mellor and Dennett on the perception of temporal order
    Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195): 231-238. 1999.
    I discuss theories about the way in which we determine the precedence ofperceived events. I examine Mellor’s account, which claims that it is thetiming of our perceptions of events that enables us to determine their order,and Dennett’s criticism of this. Dennett cites psychological experimentswhich suggest that it is the content of our perceptions, rather than theirtiming, which allows us to determine the order of the events perceived. Iargue that by distinguishing between two different ways of …Read more