• Popper and His Critics Revisited
    Science & Education 25 (1-2): 221-227. 2016.
  •  4
    Inspired by Smith, Ben-Moshe suggests that we should only accommodate conscientious objections in medicine based on moral beliefs that are true, or which closely approximate to the truth. He suggests that we can identify moral truths by consulting our consciences when our consciences adopt the standpoint of an impartial spectator. He also suggests some changes to our current practices in regard to the management of CO in medicine that would be needed were his proposal to be adopted. Here, I argu…Read more
  •  11
    The Fundamental Attribution Error and Harman's Case against Character Traits
    South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4): 350-368. 2006.
  •  18
    Bioconservatism, bioenhancement and backfiring
    with Tamara Kayali Browne
    Journal of Moral Education 49 (2): 241-256. 2020.
    ABSTRACTThe prospect of enhancing ourselves through the use of new biotechnologies is for the most part, hypothetical. Nevertheless, the question of whether we should undertake such enhancement is worthy of discussion as it may become possible in the future. In this article, we consider one form of argument that conservative opponents of biotechnological means of enhancement deploy in opposition to the use of enhancement technologies—the backfiring objection. This is the objection that the use o…Read more
  •  52
    The fundamental attribution error and Harman's case against character traits
    South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (4): 350-368. 2006.
    Gilbert Harman argues that the warrant for the lay attribution of character traits is completely undermined by the “fundamental attribution error” (FAE). He takes it to have been established by social psychologists, that the FAE pervades ordinary instances of lay person perception. However, examination of recent work in psychology reveals that there are good reasons to doubt that the effects observed in experimental settings, which ground the case for the FAE, pervade ordinary instances of perso…Read more
  •  20
    An ethical and prudential argument for prioritizing the reduction of parasite-stress in the allocation of health care resources
    with Russell Powell and Julian Savulescu
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (2): 90-91. 2012.
    The link between parasite-stress and complex psychological dispositions implies that the social, political, and economic benefits likely to flow from public health interventions that reduce rates of non-zoonotic infectious disease are far greater than have traditionally been thought. We sketch a prudential and ethical argument for increasing public health resources globally and redistributing these to focus on the alleviation of parasite-stress in human populations
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    When they believe in miracles
    Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (9): 582-583. 2013.
    Brierley et al argue that in cases where it is medically futile to continue providing life-sustaining therapies to children in intensive care, medical professionals should be allowed to withdraw such therapies, even when the parents of these children believe that there is a chance of a miracle cure taking place. In reasoning this way, Brierley et al appear to implicitly assume that miracle cures will never take place, but they do not justify this assumption and it would be very difficult for the…Read more
  •  1
    Trust me I'ma doctor
    Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 1 (2): 61-71. 1999.
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    Paternalism, Consent, and the Use of Experimental Drugs in the Military
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33 (4): 337-355. 2008.
    Modern military organizations are paternalistic organizations. They typically recognize a duty of care toward military personnel and are willing to ignore or violate the consent of military personnel in order to uphold that duty of care. In this paper, we consider the case for paternalism in the military and distinguish it from the case for paternalism in medicine. We argue that one can consistently reject paternalism in medicine but uphold paternalism in the military. We consider two well-known…Read more
  • The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate (edited book)
    with Julian Savulescu, Tony Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal
    Oxford University Press UK. 2016.
    We humans can enhance some of our mental and physical abilities above the normal upper limits for our species with the use of particular drug therapies and medical procedures. We will be able to enhance many more of our abilities in more ways in the near future. Some commentators have welcomed the prospect of wide use of human enhancement technologies, while others have viewed it with alarm, and have made clear that they find human enhancement morally objectionable. The Ethics of Human Enhanceme…Read more
  •  79
    Jonathan Haidt ( 2001 ) advances the 'Social Intuitionist' account of moral judgment , which he presents as an alternative to rationalist accounts of moral judgment , hitherto dominant in psychology. Here I consider Haidt's anti-rationalism and the debate that it has provoked in moral psychology , as well as some anti-rationalist philosophical claims that Haidt and others have grounded in the empirical work of Haidt and his collaborators. I will argue that although the case for anti-rationalism …Read more
  • Commentary on Nola's Paper
    Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 255 203. 2008.
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    Pluralism unconstrained
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (2). 1997.
    The problem of constraining methodological pluralism is highlighted in a discussion of John Dupr 's The Disorder of Things . Dupr requires limits on what are to count as legitimate scientific methodologies. Although Dupr recognises this requirement, he fails in his attempt to appropriately ground such limitations.
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    Moral minds
    Minerva 46 (1): 147-150. 2008.
  • Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News
    Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 5 (1). 2003.
  •  234
    Abstract Following Clarke (2002), a Lakatosian approach is used to account for the epistemic development of conspiracy theories. It is then argued that the hypercritical atmosphere of the internet has slowed down the development of conspiracy theories, discouraging conspiracy theorists from articulating explicit versions of their favoured theories, which could form the hard core of Lakatosian research pro grammes. The argument is illustrated with a study of the “controlled demolition” theory of …Read more
  •  8
    Jon Haidt, a leading figure in contemporary moral psychology, advocates a participation-centric view of religion, according to which participation in religious communal activity is significantly more important than belief in explaining religious behaviour and commitment. He describes the participation-centric view as ‘Straight out of Durkheim’. I argue that this is a misreading of Durkheim, who held that religious behaviour and commitment are the joint products of belief and participation, with …Read more
  •  2
    The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate (edited book)
    with Julian Savulescu, C. A. J. Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal
    Oxford University Press. 2016.
    An international team of ethicists refresh the debate about human enhancement by examining whether resistance to the use of technology to enhance our mental and physical capabilities can be supported by articulated philosophical reasoning, or explained away, e.g. in terms of psychological influences on moral reasoning.
  •  11
    Stop Wishing. Start Doing!: Motivational Enhancement Is Already in Use
    with Alberto Giubilini
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (1): 29-31. 2015.
  •  19
    Miracles, Scarce Resources, and Fairness
    American Journal of Bioethics 18 (5): 65-66. 2018.
  •  33
  •  8
    This timely book analyses and evaluates ethical and social implications of recent developments in reporting surgeon performance. It contains chapters by leading international specialists in philosophy, bioethics, epidemiology, medical administration, surgery, and law, demonstrating the diversity and complexity of debates about this topic, raising considerations of patient autonomy, accountability, justice, and the quality and safety of medical services. Performance information on individual card…Read more
  •  11
    A Prospect Theory Approach to Understanding Conservatism
    Philosophia 45 (2): 551-568. 2017.
    There is widespread agreement about a combination of attributes that someone needs to possess if they are to be counted as a conservative. They need to lack definite political ideals, goals or ends, to prefer the political status quo to its alternatives, and to be risk averse. Why should these three highly distinct attributes, which are widely believed to be characteristic of adherents to a significant political position, cluster together? Here I draw on prospect theory to develop an explanation…Read more
  •  1
    Cartwright on Fundamentalism
    Theoria 45 53-65. 1998.
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    Bioconservatism, bioliberalism, and the wisdom of reflecting on repugnance
    with Rebecca Roach
    Monash Bioethics Review 28 (1): 04-1. 2009.
    We consider the current debate between bioconservatives and their chief 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 relia…Read more
  •  65
    Appeals to intuitions as evidence in philosophy are challenged by experimental philosophers and other critics. A common response to experimental philosophical criticisms is to hold that only professional philosophers? intuitions count as evidence in philosophy. This ?expert intuitions defence? is inadequate for two reasons. First, recent studies indicate significant variability in professional philosophers? intuitions. Second, the academic literature on professional intuitions gives us reasons t…Read more
  •  42
    Ontological disunity and a realism worth having
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5): 628-629. 2004.
    Ross & Spurrett (R&S) appear convinced that the world must have a unified ontological structure. This conviction is difficult to reconcile with a commitment to mainstream realism, which involves allowing that the world may be ontologically disunified. R&S should follow Kitcher by weakening their conception of unification so as to allow for the possibility of ontological disunity.
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    Against the unification of the behavioral sciences
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1): 21-22. 2007.
    The contemporary behavioral sciences are disunified and could not easily become unified, as they operate with incompatible explanatory models. According to Gintis, tolerance of this situation is “scandalous” (sect. 12). I defend the ordinary behavioral scientist's lack of commitment to a unifying explanatory model and identify several reasons why the behavioral sciences should remain disunified for the foreseeable future. (Published Online April 27 2007).
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    I consider two transcendental arguments for realism in the philosophy of science, which are due to Roy Bhaskar (A realist theory of science, 1975) and Nancy Cartwright (The dappled world, 1999). Bhaskar and Cartwright are both influential figures, however there is little discussion of their use of transcendental arguments in the literature. Here I seek to correct this oversight. I begin by describing the role of the transcendental arguments in question, in the context of the broader philosophica…Read more