•  8
    What We Argue About When We Argue About Death
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. forthcoming.
    The literature on the determination of death has often if not always assumed that the concept of human death should be defined in terms of the end of the human organism. I argue that this broadly biological conceptualization of human death cannot constitute a basis for agreement in a pluralistic society characterized by a variety of reasonable views on the nature of our existence as embodied beings. Rather, following Robert Veatch, I suggest that we must define death in moralized terms, as the l…Read more
  •  39
    Bioethics: 50 Puzzles, Problems, and Thought Experiments collects 50 cases—both real and imaginary—that have been, or should be, of special interest and importance to philosophical bioethics. Cases are collected together under topical headings in a natural order for an introductory course in bioethics. Each case is described in a few pages, which includes bioethical context, a concise narrative of the case itself, and a discussion of its importance, both for broader philosophical issues and for …Read more
  •  69
    Technological measures meant to change sexual orientation are, we have argued elsewhere, deeply alarming, even and indeed especially if they are safe and effective. Here we point out that this in part because they produce a distinctive kind of ‘clinical collective action problem’, a sort of dilemma for individual clinicians and researchers: a treatment which evidently relieves the suffering of particular patients, but in the process contributes to a practice that substantially worsens the condit…Read more
  •  67
    (Owning) our Bodies, (Owning) our Selves?
    In David Sobel & Steven Wall (eds.), Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy Volume 9, Oxford University Press. 2023.
    I argue here that our rights in our bodies are not well explained by self-ownership – and thus, also, that we cannot infer any further distributive implications of self-ownership from intuitions about body rights via inference to the best explanation. And I sketch an alternative view, on which we do indeed own our bodies, but not because we own ourselves. Self-ownership, I argue, provides a satisfying explanation only if we take it seriously: not as a mere metaphor, but as an expression of a lit…Read more
  •  57
    Bodily Rights in Personal Ventilators?
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 (1): 73-86. 2021.
    This article asks whether personal ventilators should be redistributed to maximize lives saved in emergency condition, like the COVID-19 pandemic. It begins by examining extant claims that items like ventilators are literally parts of their user’s bodies. Arguments in favor of incorporation for ventilators fail to show that they meet valid sufficient conditions to be body parts, but arguments against incorporation also fail to show that they fail to meet clearly valid necessary conditions. Furth…Read more
  •  109
    The Place of Philosophy in Bioethics Today
    with Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Dan Brudney, Jessica Flanigan, S. Matthew Liao, Alex London, Wayne Sumner, and Julian Savulescu
    American Journal of Bioethics 22 (12): 10-21. 2021.
    In some views, philosophy’s glory days in bioethics are over. While philosophers were especially important in the early days of the field, so the argument goes, the majority of the work in bioethics today involves the “simple” application of existing philosophical principles or concepts, as well as empirical work in bioethics. Here, we address this view head on and ask: What is the role of philosophy in bioethics today? This paper has three specific aims: (1) to respond to skeptics and make the …Read more
  •  41
    This paper critically engages ethical issues in the allocation of novel, and potentially costly, health care resources to patients with disorders of consciousness. First, we review potential benefits of novel health care resources for patients and their families and outline preliminary considerations to address concerns about cost. We then address two problems regarding the allocation of health care resources to patients with disorders of consciousness: (1) the problem of uncertain moral status;…Read more
  •  155
    Disability, Society, and Personal Transformation
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 18 (1): 49-74. 2020.
    The social model of disability claims that disadvantage from disability is primarily a result of the social response to bodily difference. Social modellers typically draw two normative conclusions: first, that society has a responsibility to address disability disadvantage as a matter of justice, not charity; second, that the appropriate way of addressing this disadvantage is to change social institutions themselves, to better fit for bodily difference, rather than to normalize bodies to fit exi…Read more
  •  47
    Disconnecting a patient from artificial life support, on their request, is often if not always a matter of letting them die, not killing them—and sometimes, permissibly doing so. Stopping a patient’s heart on request, by contrast, is a kind of killing, and rarely if ever a permissible one. The difference seems to be that procedures of the first kind remove an unwanted external support for bodily functioning, rather than intervening in the body itself. What should we say, however, about cases at …Read more
  •  164
    Prosthetic embodiment
    Synthese 198 (7): 6509-6532. 2019.
    What makes something a part of my body, for moral purposes? Is the body defined naturalistically: by biological relations, or psychological relations, or some combination of the two? This paper approaches this question by considering a borderline case: the status of prostheses. I argue that extant accounts of the body fail to capture prostheses as genuine body parts. Nor, however, do they provide plausible grounds for excluding prostheses, without excluding some paradigm organic parts in the pro…Read more
  •  50
    Some notes on the nature and limits of posthumous rights: a response to Persad
    Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5): 345-346. 2020.
    A person’s body can, it seems, survive well after losing the capacity to support Lockean personhood. If our rights in our bodies are, basically, rights in our selves or persons, this seems to imply that we do not after all have a right to direct the disposition of our living remains via advance directive. Govind Persad argues that our rights over our bodies persist after the loss of our personhood; we have a right to insist that our bodies die after we are gone for much the same reason that we h…Read more
  •  35
    Who Owns the Data in a Medical Information Commons?
    with Amy L. McGuire, Jessica Roberts, and Barbara J. Evans
    Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 47 (1): 62-69. 2019.
    In this paper, we explore the perspectives of expert stakeholders about who owns data in a medical information commons and what rights and interests ought to be recognized when developing a governance structure for an MIC. We then examine the legitimacy of these claims based on legal and ethical analysis and explore an alternative framework for thinking about participants' rights and interests in an MIC.
  •  35
    Being and Owning: The Body, Bodily Material, and the Law by Jesse Wall (review)
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 28 (4): 13-16. 2019.
    Jesse Wall's Being and Owning: The Body, Bodily Material, and the Law addresses the legal status of 'bodily material'; items which used to be, but are no longer, part of a living human organism: especially, 'separated' materials like gametes or tissue samples, and cadavers and other mortal remains. Wall's discussion, however, ranges widely across jurisprudential and philosophical issues concerning our relation to our bodies and our rights in them. His central, plausible contention is that body r…Read more
  •  40
    Disability, Disease, and Health Sufficiency
    with David Wasserman
    In Carina Fourie & Annette Rid (eds.), What is Enough?: Sufficiency, Justice, and Health, Oxford University Press. 2016.
    This chapter argues that standard accounts of health are ill-suited to constructing a plausible theory of health justice, particularly a sufficientarian theory. The problem in these accounts is revealed by their treatment of disability. Theorists of health justice need to define “health” more narrowly to capture the legitimate claims of people with disabilities. Following Ronald Amundson and Peter Hucklenbroich, this chapter proposes such a definition. Health, as defined in this chapter, is the …Read more
  •  90
    Sexual Reorientation in Ideal and Non‐Ideal Theory
    Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (4): 463-485. 2018.
  •  174
    On valuing impairment
    Philosophical Studies 175 (5): 1113-1133. 2018.
    In The Minority Body, Elizabeth Barnes rejects prevailing social constructionist accounts of disability for two reasons. First, because they understand disability in terms of oppressive social responses to bodily impairment, they cannot make sense of disability pride. Second, they maintain a problematic distinction between impairment and disability. In response to these challenges, this paper defends a version of the social model of disability, which we call the Social Exclusion Model. On our ac…Read more
  •  121
    You Didn't Build That: Equality and Productivity in a Complex Society
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1): 69-88. 2019.
    This paper argues for Serious Distributive Egalitarianism – the view that some material inequalities are seriously objectionable as such; not merely, say, because such inequalities tend to generate inequalities in status. Social justice requires equality, I argue, because basic social institutions produce important goods and are produced in turn by the relevantly equal contributions of all those that comply with them. E.g., basic social institutions make it much easier to produce cooperatively t…Read more
  •  102
    Disabled – therefore, Unhealthy?
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5): 1259-1274. 2016.
    This paper argues that disabled people can be healthy. I argue, first, following the well-known ‘social model of disability’, that we should prefer a usage of ‘disabled’ which does not imply any kind of impairment that is essentially inconsistent with health. This is because one can be disabled only because limited by false social perception of impairment and one can be, if impaired, disabled not because of the impairment but rather only because of the social response to it. Second, I argue that…Read more
  •  169
    Distributing Collective Obligation
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (3): 1-23. 2015.
    In this paper I develop an account of member obligation: the obligations that fall on the members of an obligated collective in virtue of that collective obligation. I use this account to argue that unorganized collections of individuals can constitute obligated agents. I argue first that, to know when a collective obligation entails obligations on that collective’s members, we have to know not just what it would take for each member to do their part in satisfying the collective obligation, but …Read more
  •  298
    Natural and Social Inequality
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (5): 576-601. 2016.
    This paper examines the moral import of a distinction between natural and social inequalities. Following Thomas Nagel, it argues for a “denatured” distinction that relies less on the biological vs. social causation of inequalities than on the idea that society is morally responsible for some inequalities but not others. It maintains that securing fair equality of opportunity by eliminating such social inequalities has particularly high priority in distributive justice. Departing from Nagel, it a…Read more