Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Philosophical Bioethics Projects

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Philosophical Bioethics Consortium and Web Hub

Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D., M.A. from the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy is currently developing a Philosophical Bioethics Hub with support from the Greenwall Foundation and Consortium partners at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and NYU’s Center for Bioethics, A Hub website is currently being developed and will include: Greenwall Philosophical Bioethics Seminar Series, normative-empirical bioethics tookit, events and web-based lecture series in philosophy and bioethics.

Houston/Galveston Philosophical Bioethics Network

The Houston/Galveston Network is comprised of philosophers working at the intersection of philosophy and bioethics. The network is a collaborative between philosophy faculty and post-docs in The BCM Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Rice University’s Philosophy Department, and UTMB’s Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities.

The network meets monthly for works-in-progress sessions. Contact Dr. Blumenthal-Barby at jennifer.blumenthal-barby@bcm.edu if you are a philosopher (faculty or post-doc) in Houston/Galveston interested in joining the group.

Recent topics have included consciousness and value, addiction and blameworthiness, the moral authority of experience, fetal pain and personhood—among others.

Philosophy Book Reading Group

The group reads and discusses (through five-six meetings) one new book in philosophy with relevance to bioethics each semester (fall, spring).

Books read so far include:

Semi-Annual Philosophical Bioethics Workshop

This workshop is sponsored by the Greenwall Foundation. View program agendas from the past workshops for details:

Philosophical Bioethics Scholarship

Check out recent philosophical bioethics scholarship from the center’s faculty, post-docs, and staff:

Nelson R, Fernandez-Lynch H, Moore B, Waggoner M, Blumenthal-Barby JS. Bioethics and the Moral Authority of Experience. American Journal of Bioethics, October, 2022; 1-13. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2022.2127968.

Blumenthal-Barby JS. Bringing Nuance to Autonomy-Based Considerations in Vaccine Mandate Debates, in Ethics and the COVID Pandemic: Lessons for the Future edited by Julian Savulescu (Oxford University Press, 2022), forthcoming.

Omelianchuk, A. Can double‐effect reasoning justify lethal organ donation? Bioethics, Volume 36, Issue 6, Page 648-654, April 2022. 

Omelianchuk, A. The inviolateness of life and equal protection: a defense of the dead-donor rule. Theor Med Bioeth 43, 1–27, March 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11017-022-09557-4

Bibler TM. Responding Well to Spiritual Worldviews: A Taxonomy for Clinical Ethicists. HEC Forum. 2022 Jan 7. doi: 10.1007/s10730-021-09468-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34994915.

Nelson R, Moore B, Blumenthal-Barby JS. Pediatric Authenticity: Hiding in Plain Sight. Hastings Center Report, 52(1), 2022:42-50.

Omelianchuk, A. Brain Death as the End of a Human Organism as a Self-moving Whole. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Volume 46, Issue 5, October 2021, Pages 530–560, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhab021

Blumenthal-Barby JS, Sean Aas, Dan Brudney, Jessica Flanigan, Matthew Liao, Alex London, Wayne Sumner, Julian Savulescu. The Place of Philosophy in Bioethics Today. American Journal of Bioethics (target article), 2021 June; online ahead of print.

Blumenthal-Barby J, Ubel PA. Supported Decision Making: A Concept at the Margins vs. Center of Autonomy? Am J Bioeth. 2021 Nov; 21(11):43-44. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2021.1981033. PMID: 34710007.

Moore B, Nelson RH, Ubel PA, Blumenthal-Barby J. Two Minds, One Patient: Clearing up Confusion About "Ambivalence". Am J Bioeth. 2021 Feb 23:1-18. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2021.1887965. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33620300.

Blumenthal-Barby, J. S. 2021. Good ethics and bad choices: The relevance of behavioral economics for medical ethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

RH Nelson & LP Francis. (2020). Intellectual Disability and Justice in a Pandemic. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 30(3-4): 319-338.

RH Nelson. (2020). A Critique of the Neurodiversity View. Journal of Applied Philosophy 38(2): 335-347.

Malek J. Reed on expressivism at the end of life: a bridge too far. J Med Ethics. 2020 Aug;46(8):552. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2020-106533. Epub 2020 Jul 14. PMID: 32665255.

Taylor M. Conceptual challenges to the harm threshold. Bioethics. 2020 Jun;34(5):502-508. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12686. Epub 2019 Nov 7. PMID: 31697399.

Moore B, Nelson RH. Moral Intimacy, Authority, and Discretion. Am J Bioeth. 2020 Feb;20(2):66-68. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2019.1701743. PMID: 31990252.

Peterson A, Kostick K, O’Brien K, Blumenthal-Barby JS. Seeing Minds in Disorders of Consciousness Patients. Brain Injury. 2019;1-9.

Nelson RH, Malek J. Clinical Ethics Expertise: Beyond Justified Normative Recommendations? Am J Bioeth. 2019 Nov;19(11):82-84. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2019.1665744. PMID: 31661422.

Shannon CM, Coverdale JH, Gordon M, Blumenthal-Barby JS. Clinical Ultimatums: Coercion as Subjection. Am J Bioeth. 2019 Sep;19(9):54-56. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2019.1630509. PMID: 31419195.

Blumenthal-Barby JS, Ubel PA. In Defense of Denial: Difficulty Knowing When Beliefs Are Unrealistic and When Unrealistic Beliefs Are Bad. American Journal of Bioethics 18(9), 2018:4-15.

Blumenthal-Barby JS, Opel DJ. Nudge or Grudge? Choice Architecture and Parental Decision Making. Hastings Center Report, 48(2), 2018:33-39.