Romanell Fellows Blog


Romanell Fellows are currently blogging about selected papers, including, but not limited to, those listed on this page and available for download.

For further information, contact Ali Hasanzadeh,


  • Dobbs v Jackson: U.S. Supreme Court Case
    Blog discussion, June to July, 2022.
  • Eric Olson: The Extended Self
    Blog discussion begins May 18, 2022.
  • Jeremy Williams: Paper as provided for discussion
    The paper by Jeremy Williams on anti-abortion violence was provided, July 26, 2021, for blog discussion by fellows.
  • Johansson and Ekendahl: Does Abortion Harm the Fetus?
    Abstract: A central claim in abortion ethics is what might be called the Harm Claim – the claim that abortion harms the fetus. In this article, we put forward a simple and straightforward reason to reject the Harm Claim. Rather than invoking controversial assumptions about personal identity, or some nonstandard account of harm, as many other critics of the Harm Claim have done, we suggest that the aborted fetus cannot be harmed for the simple reason that it does not occupy any well-being level.
  • Tom Dougherty: Informed Consent, Disclosure, and Understanding
    "Perhaps the most influential ethical principle in contemporary biomedical practice is that informed consent is required for therapy and research. And yet empirical research confirms what virtually every medical professional knows from experience: patients and research participants regularly fail to understand basic facts that are disclosed to them about the events in which they are agreeing to take part.1 If they are required to understand these disclosures, then this would mean malpractice is widespread. But if no feasible institutional reform would ensure comprehension, then insisting on it would foreclose valuable therapy and research."
  • Joseph Mazor: On the Child’s Right to Bodily Integrity
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  • Tollefsen and Curlin: Conscience and the Way of Medicine
     Chris Tollefsen and Farr Curlin paper “Conscience and the Way of Medicine”
  • Shewmon: Constructing the death elephant: a synthetic paradigm shift for the definition, criteria and tests for death
    D. Alan Shewmon, “Constructing the Death Elephant: A Synthetic Paradigm Shift for the Definition, Criteria and Tests for Death." 2010 Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35: 356-29 pubmed. Shewmon's article relates to the May 14, 2021, RCCE Zoom workshop with Shewmon about this article.
  • Boulter: Can Consequences Be Right-Makers?
    This paper sets out a novel challenge to consequentialism as a theory in normative ethics. The challenge is rooted in the ontological claim that consequences of actions do not exist at the time required to be that in virtue of which actions are right or wrong, and so consequences cannot play the role attributed to them by consequentialists. The challenge takes the form of a dilemma. 
  • Addiction is a Brain Disease, versus, Addiction is not a Brain Disease
    This blog considers alternate view presented by two papers. Leshner's paper, published by Frontiers in Neuroscience: The Science of Substance Abuse; and, Levy's paper published by Frontiers in Psychiatry, Hypothesis and Theory Article.
  • Savulescu and Foddy: A Liberal Account of Addiction
    Philosophers and psychologists have been attracted to two differing accounts of addictive motivation. In this paper, we investigate these two accounts and challenge their mutual claim that addictions compromise a person’s self-control. 
  • Mind-Brain Dualism and Its Place in Mental Health Care
    This chapter begins by setting out and explaining the doctrine of "substance dualism", according to which the mind and the brain are distinct and mutually independent "substances". It then examines the merits and deficiencies of dualism, in comparison with those of alternative theories, in answering questions about the nature and treatment of mental disorder. its similarities and differences from bodily illness, and the relation between mental disorder and brain dysfunctnon. The alternative theories considered are the mind-brain identity version of materialism, and Merleau-Ponty's conception of human beings as "embodied subjects".
  • Institutions, Beliefs and Ethics: Eugenics as a Case Study
    The article uses an examination of the most troubling strand of the eugenics movements—coercive negative eugenics—to challenge the way many philosophers conceive of ethics. It is commonly assumed that to prepare ourselves for the difficult choices thrust upon us by advances in genomic science we must understand what went wrong in eugenics. 
  • Human Challenge Studies to Accelerate Coronavirus Vaccine Licensure
    Controlled human challenge trials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates could accelerate the testing and potential rollout of efficacious vaccines. By replacing conventional phase 3 testing of vaccine candidates, such trials may subtract many months from the licensure process, making efficacious vaccines available more quickly.
  • Harm as a necessary component of the concept of medical disorder
    Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis asserts that the concept of medical disorder includes a naturalistic component of dysfunction (failure of biologically designed functioning) and a value (harm) component, both of which are required for disorder attributions. Muckler and Taylor, defending a purely naturalist, value-free understanding of disorder, argue that harm is not necessary for disorder.
  • The relativity of ‘placebos’: defending a modified version of Grünbaum’s definition
    This article argues that health care systems that are grounded in solidarity have the right to penalise some users who are responsible for their poor health.
  • Social value, clinical equipoise, and research in a public health emergency
    The 2016 CIOMS International ethical guidelines for health‐related research involving humans states that ‘health‐related research should form an integral part of disaster response’ and that, ‘widespread emergency use (of unproven interventions) with inadequate data collection about patient outcomes must therefore be avoided’ (Guideline 20). Keywords: CIOMS guidelines, Ebola, equipoise, public health emergencies, research ethics, right to try.
  • Parfit: Equality or Priority
    The author aims to discuss Nagle's paper 'Equality' as a "kind of egalitarian reasoning."
  • Solidarity and Responsibility in Health Care
    This article argues that health care systems that are grounded in solidarity have the right to penalise some users who are responsible for their poor health.
  • How to Allocate Scarce Health Resources
    This paper reviews existing responses to the QALY trap and argues that all are problematic. Authors argue that adopting a moderate form of prioritarianism avoids the QALY trap and disability discrimination. Keywords: QALY, disability, priority setting, health care, prioritarianism.
  • The Ethics of Rationing
    The initial Romanell Fellows blog, The Ethics of Rationing, was open to discussion in a one-week forum, at the end of April, 2020. Although this paper is prior to Covid-19, it is an article that will give the “lay of the land”  on the ethics of rationing. The paper touches on plenty of topics, albeit briefly, it will provide Romanell Fellows with their varied interests and specializations with many issues to pursue in their comments.