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Philosophical Disquisitions

Author: John Danaher

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Interviews with experts about the philosophy of the future.
107 Episodes
90 - The Future of Identity

90 - The Future of Identity


What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be you? Philosophers, psychologists and sociologists all seem to agree that your identity is central to how you think of yourself and how you engage with others. But how are emerging technologies changing how we enact and constitute our identities? That's the subject matter of this podcast with Tracey Follows. Tracy is a professional futurist. She runs a consultancy firm called Futuremade. She is a regular writer and speaker on futurism. She has appeared on the BBC and is a contributing columnist with Forbes. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Futuriss and the World Futures Studies Federation. We talk about her book The Future of You: Can your identity survive the 21st Century?You can download the podcast here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics covered in this episode include:The nature of identityThe link between technology and identityIs technology giving us more creative control over identity?Does technology encourage more conformity and groupthink?Is our identity being fragmented by technology?Who controls the technology of identity formation?How should we govern the technology of identity formation in the future?Relevant LinksThe Future of You by TraceyTracey on TwitterTracey at ForbesFuturemade consultancyTracey's talk to the London Futurists Subscribe to the newsletter
What are the origins and dynamics of human morality? Is morality, at root, an attempt to solve basic problems of cooperation? What implications does this have for the future? In this episode, I chat to Dr Oliver Scott Curry about these questions. We discuss, in particular, his theory of morality as cooperation (MAC). Dr Curry is Research Director for Kindlab, at He is also a Research Affiliate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, at the London School of Economics. He received his PhD from LSE in 2005. Oliver’s academic research investigates the nature, content and structure of human morality. He tackles such questions as: What is morality? How did morality evolve? What psychological mechanisms underpin moral judgments? How are moral values best measured? And how does morality vary across cultures? To answer these questions, he employs a range of techniques from philosophy, experimental and social psychology and comparative anthropology. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include:The nature of moralityThe link between human morality and cooperationThe seven types of cooperation How these seven types of cooperation generate distinctive moral normsThe evidence for the theory of morality as cooperationIs the theory underinclusive, reductive and universalist? Is that a problem?Is the theory overinclusive? Could it be falsified?Why Morality as Cooperation is better than Moral Foundations TheoryThe future of cooperationRelevant linksOliver's webpageOliver on TwitterOliver's Podcast - The Map'Morality as Cooperation: A Problem-Centred Approach' by Oliver (sets out the theory of MAC)'Morality is fundamentally an evolved solution to problems of social co-operation' (debate at the Royal Anthropological Society)'Moral Molecules: Morality as a combinatorial system' by Oliver and his colleagues'Is it good to cooperate? Testing the theory of morality-as-cooperation in 60 societies' by Oliver and colleagues'What is wrong with moral foundations theory?' by Oliver Subscribe to the newsletter
Should we use technology to surveil, rate and punish/reward all citizens in a state? Do we do it anyway? In this episode I discuss these questions with Wessel Reijers, focusing in particular on the lessons we can learn from the Chinese Social Credit System. Wessel is a postdoctoral Research Associate at the European University Institute, working in the ERC project “BlockchainGov”, which looks into the legal and ethical impacts of distributed governance. His research focuses on the philosophy and ethics of technology, notably on the development of a critical hermeneutical approach to technology and the investigation of the role of emerging technologies in the shaping of citizenship in the 21st century. He completed his PhD at the Dublin City University with a Dissertation entitled “Practising Narrative Virtue Ethics of Technology in Research and Innovation”. In addition to a range of peer-reviewed articles, he recently published the book Narrative and Technology Ethics with Palgrave, which he co-authored with Mark Coeckbelbergh. You can download the episode here or listen below.You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed in this episode includeThe Origins of the Chinese Social Credit SystemHistorical Parallels to the SystemSocial Credit Systems in Western CulturesIs China exceptional when it comes to the use of these systems?The impact of social credit systems on human values such as freedom and authenticityHow the social credit system is reshaping citizenshipThe possible futures of social credit systemsRelevant LinksWessel's homepageWessel on Twitter'A Dystopian Future? The Rise of Social Credit Systems' - a written debate featuring Wessel'How to Make the Perfect Citizen? Lessons from China's Model of Social Credit System' by Liav Orgad and Wessel ReijersNarrative and Technology Ethics by Wessel Reijers and Mark Coeckelbergh Subscribe to the newsletter
How do we make sure that an AI does the right thing? How could we do this when we ourselves don't even agree on what the right thing might be? In this episode, I talk to Iason Gabriel about these questions. Iason is a political theorist and ethicist currently working as a Research Scientist at DeepMind. His research focuses on the moral questions raised by artificial intelligence. His recent work addresses the challenge of value alignment, responsible innovation, and human rights. He has also been a prominent contributor to the debate about the ethics of effective altruism.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes:Topics discussed include:What is the value alignment problem?Why is it so important that we get value alignment right?Different ways of conceiving the problemHow different AI architectures affect the problemWhy there can be no purely technical solution to the value alignment problemSix potential solutions to the value alignment problemWhy we need to deal with value pluralism and uncertaintyHow political theory can help to resolve the problem Relevant LinksIason on Twitter"Artificial Intelligence, Values and Alignment" by Iason"Effective Altruism and its Critics" by IasonMy blog series on the above article"Social Choice Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" by Seth Baum Subscribe to the newsletter
 Are we losing our liberty as a result of digital technologies and algorithmic power? In particular, might algorithmically curated filter bubbles be creating a world that encourages both increased polarisation and increased conformity at the same time? In today’s podcast, I discuss these issues with Henrik Skaug Sætra. Henrik is a political scientist working in the Faculty of Business, Languages and Social Science at Østfold University College in Norway. He has a particular interest in political theory and philosophy, and has worked extensively on Thomas Hobbes and social contract theory, environmental ethics and game theory. At the moment his work focuses mainly on issues involving the dynamics between human individuals, society and technology. You download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include: Selective Exposure and Confirmation Bias How algorithms curate our informational ecology Filter Bubbles Echo Chambers How the internet is created more internally conformist but externally polarised groups The nature of political freedom Tocqueville and the tyranny of the majority Mill and the importance of individuality How algorithmic curation of speech is undermining our liberty What can be done about this problem?Relevant Links Henrik's faculty homepage Henrik on Researchgate Henrik on Twitter 'The Tyranny of Perceived Opinion: Freedom and information in the era of big data' by Henrik 'Privacy as an aggregate public good' by Henrik 'Freedom under the gaze of Big Brother: Preparing the grounds for a liberal defence of privacy in the era of Big Data' by Henrik 'When nudge comes to shove: Liberty and nudging in the era of big data' by Henrik Subscribe to the newsletter
Do our values change over time? What role do emotions and technology play in altering our values? In this episode I talk to Steffen Steinert (PhD) about these issues. Steffen is a postdoctoral researcher on the Value Change project at TU Delft. His research focuses on the philosophy of technology, ethics of technology, emotions, and aesthetics. He has published papers on roboethics, art and technology, and philosophy of science. In his previous research he also explored philosophical issues related to humor and amusement.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes Topics discussed include: What is a value?Descriptive vs normative theories of valuePsychological theories of personal valuesThe nature of emotionsThe connection between emotions and valuesEmotional contagionEmotional climates vs emotional atmospheresThe role of social media in causing emotional contagionIs the coronavirus promoting a negative emotional climate?Will this affect our political preferences and policies?General lessons for technology and value change Relevant Links Steffen's HomepageThe Designing for Changing Values Project @ TU DelftCorona and Value Change by Steffen'Unleashing the Constructive Potential of Emotions' by Steffen and Sabine RoeserAn Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Personal Values Subscribe to the newsletter
83 - Privacy is Power

83 - Privacy is Power


Are you being watched, tracked and traced every minute of the day? Probably. The digital world thrives on surveillance. What should we do about this? My guest today is Carissa Véliz. Carissa is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute of Ethics in AI at Oxford University. She is also a Tutorial Fellow at Hertford College Oxford. She works on privacy, technology, moral and political philosophy and public policy. She has also been a guest on this podcast on two previous occasions. Today, we’ll be talking about her recently published book Privacy is Power. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show Notes Topics discussed in this show include: The most surprising examples of digital surveillanceThe nature of privacyIs privacy dead?Privacy as an intrinsic and instrumental valueThe relationship between privacy and autonomyDoes surveillance help with security and health?The problem with mass surveillanceThe phenomenon of toxic dataHow surveillance undermines democracy and freedomAre we willing to trade privacy for convenient services?And much more Relevant Links Carissa's WebpagePrivacy is Power by CarissaSummary of Privacy is Power in AeonReview of Privacy is Power in The Guardian Carissa's Twitter feed (a treasure trove of links about privacy and surveillance)Views on Privacy: A Survey by Sian Brooke and Carissa VélizData, Privacy and the Individual by Carissa Véliz Subscribe to the newsletter
 Facial recognition technology has seen its fair share of both media and popular attention in the past 12 months. The runs the gamut from controversial uses by governments and police forces, to coordinated campaigns to ban or limit its use. What should we do about it? In this episode, I talk to Brenda Leong about this issue. Brenda is Senior Counsel and Director of Artificial Intelligence and Ethics at Future of Privacy Forum. She manages the FPF portfolio on biometrics, particularly facial recognition. She authored the FPF Privacy Expert’s Guide to AI, and co-authored the paper, “Beyond Explainability: A Practical Guide to Managing Risk in Machine Learning Models.” Prior to working at FPF, Brenda served in the U.S. Air Force. You can listen to the episode below or download here. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show notesTopics discussed include: What is facial recognition anyway? Are there multiple forms that are confused and conflated? What's the history of facial recognition? What has changed recently? How is the technology used? What are the benefits of facial recognition? What's bad about it? What are the privacy and other risks? Is there something unique about the face that should make us more worried about facial biometrics when compared to other forms? What can we do to address the risks? Should we regulate or ban?Relevant Links Brenda's Homepage Brenda on Twitter 'The Privacy Expert's Guide to AI and Machine Learning' by Brenda (at FPF) Brenda's US Congress Testimony on Facial Recognition 'Facial recognition and the future of privacy: I always feel like … somebody’s watching me' by Brenda 'The Case for Banning Law Enforcement From Using Facial Recognition Technology' by Evan Selinger and Woodrow Hartzog Subscribe to the newsletter
In today's episode, I talk to Nikita Aggarwal about the legal and regulatory aspects of AI and algorithmic governance. We focus, in particular, on three topics: (i) algorithmic credit scoring; (ii) the problem of 'too big to fail' tech platforms and (iii) AI crime. Nikita is a DPhil (PhD) candidate at the Faculty of Law at Oxford, as well as a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute's Digital Ethics Lab. Her research examines the legal and ethical challenges due to emerging, data-driven technologies, with a particular focus on machine learning in consumer lending. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the legal department of the International Monetary Fund, where she advised on financial sector law reform in the Euro area. You can listen to the episode below or download here. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show Notes Topics discussed include: The digitisation, datafication and disintermediation of consumer credit markets Algorithmic credit scoring The problems of risk and bias in credit scoring How law and regulation can address these problems Tech platforms that are too big to fail What should we do if Facebook fails? The forms of AI crime How to address the problem of AI crime Relevant Links Nikita's homepage Nikita on Twitter 'The Norms of Algorithmic Credit Scoring' by Nikita 'What if Facebook Goes Down? Ethical and Legal Considerations for the Demise of Big Tech Platforms' by Carl Ohman and Nikita 'Artificial Intelligence Crime: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Foreseeable Threats and Solutions' by Thomas King, Nikita, Mariarosario Taddeo and Luciano FloridiPost Block Status & visibility Visibility Public Publish September 18, 2020 1:09 pm Stick to the top of the blog Author John Danaher Enable AMP Move to trash 9 Revisions Permalink Categories Uncategorized Podcast Add New Category Tags Add New Tag Separate with commas or the Enter key. Featured image Excerpt Discussion Open publish panel NotificationsCode editor selected Subscribe to the newsletter
Lots of algorithmic tools are now used to support decision-making in the criminal justice system. Many of them are criticised for being biased. What should be done about this? In this episode, I talk to Chelsea Barabas about this very question. Chelsea is a PhD candidate at MIT, where she examines the spread of algorithmic decision making tools in the US criminal legal system. She works with interdisciplinary researchers, government officials and community organizers to unpack and transform mainstream narratives around criminal justice reform and data-driven decision making. She is currently a Technology Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Formerly, she was a research scientist for the AI Ethics and Governance Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show notes Topics covered in this show include The history of algorithmic decision-making in criminal justiceModern AI tools in criminal justiceThe problem of biased decision-makingExamples of bias in practiceThe FAT (Fairness, Accountability and Transparency) approach to biasCan we de-bias algorithms using formal, technical rules?Can we de-bias algorithms through proper review and oversight?Should we be more critical of the data used to build these systems?Problems with pre-trial risk assessment measuresThe abolitionist perspective on criminal justice reform Relevant Links Chelsea's homepageChelsea on Twitter"Beyond Bias: Reimagining the terms "Ethical AI" in Criminal Law" by ChelseaVideo presentation of this paper"Studying up: reorienting the study of algorithmic fairness around issues of power." by Chelsea and orsKleinberg et al on the impossibility of fairnessKleinberg et al on using algorithms to detect discriminationThe Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran Muhammad Subscribe to the newsletter
 What happens if an autonomous machine does something wrong? Who, if anyone, should be held responsible for the machine's actions? That's the topic I discuss in this episode with Daniel Tigard. Daniel Tigard is a Senior Research Associate in the Institute for History & Ethics of Medicine, at the Technical University of Munich. His current work addresses issues of moral responsibility in emerging technology. He is the author of several papers on moral distress and responsibility in medical ethics as well as, more recently, papers on moral responsibility and autonomous systems. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).          Show NotesTopics discussed include:  What is responsibility? Why is it so complex? The three faces of responsibility: attribution, accountability and answerability Why are people so worried about responsibility gaps for autonomous systems? What are some of the alleged solutions to the "gap" problem? Who are the techno-pessimists and who are the techno-optimists? Why does Daniel think that there is no techno-responsibility gap? Is our application of responsibility concepts to machines overly metaphorical?  Relevant Links Daniel's ResearchGATE profile Daniel's papers on Philpapers "There is no Techno-Responsibility Gap" by Daniel "Artificial Intelligence, Responsibility Attribution, and a Relational Justification of Explainability" by Mark Coeckelbergh Technologically blurred accountability? by Kohler, Roughley and Sauer Subscribe to the newsletter
   Are robots like humans? Are they agents? Can we have relationships with them? These are just some of the questions I explore with today's guest, Sven Nyholm. Sven is an assistant professor of philosophy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on ethics, particularly the ethics of technology. He is a friend of the show, having appeared twice before. In this episode, we are talking about his recent, great, book Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes:Topics covered in this episode include: Why did Sven play football with a robot? Who won? What is a robot? What is an agent? Why does it matter if robots are agents? Why does Sven worry about a normative mismatch between humans and robots? What should we do about this normative mismatch? Why are people worried about responsibility gaps arising as a result of the widespread deployment of robots? How should we think about human-robot collaborations? Why should human drivers be more like self-driving cars? Can we be friends with a robot? Why does Sven reject my theory of ethical behaviourism? Should we be pessimistic about the future of roboethics?Relevant Links Sven's Homepage Sven on Philpapers Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism 'Can a robot be a good colleague?' by Sven and Jilles Smids 'Attributing Agency to Automated Systems: Reflections on Human–Robot Collaborations and Responsibility-Loci' by Sven 'Automated Cars Meet Human Drivers: Responsible Human-Robot Coordination and The Ethics of Mixed Traffic' by Sven and Jilles Smids  Subscribe to the newsletter
If an AI system makes a decision, should its reasons for making that decision be explainable to you? In this episode, I chat to Scott Robbins about this issue. Scott is currently completing his PhD in the ethics of artificial intelligence at the Technical University of Delft. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from California State University, Chico and an M.Sc. in Ethics of Technology from the University of Twente. He is a founding member of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and a member of the 4TU Centre for Ethics and Technology. Scott is skeptical of AI as a grand solution to societal problems and argues that AI should be boring.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopic covered include: Why do people worry about the opacity of AI?What's the difference between explainability and transparency?What's the moral value or function of explainable AI?Must we distinguish between the ethical value of an explanation and its epistemic value?Why is it so technically difficult to make AI explainable?Will we ever have a technical solution to the explanation problem?Why does Scott think there is Catch 22 involved in insisting on explainable AI?When should we insist on explanations and when are they unnecessary?Should we insist on using boring AI?  Relevant LinksScotts's webpageScott's paper "A Misdirected Principle with a Catch: Explicability for AI"Scott's paper "The Value of Transparency: Bulk Data and Authorisation""The Right to an Explanation Explained" by Margot KaminskiEpisode 36 - Wachter on Algorithms and Explanations  Subscribe to the newsletter
How do we get back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic? One suggestion is that we use increased amounts of surveillance and tracking to identify and isolate infected and at-risk persons. While this might be a valid public health strategy it does raise some tricky ethical questions. In this episode I talk to Carissa Véliz about these questions. Carissa is a Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, also at Oxford. She is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics as well as two forthcoming solo-authored books Privacy is Power (Transworld) and The Ethics of Privacy (Oxford University Press).You can download the episode here or listen below.You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include The value of privacyDo we balance privacy against other rights/values?The significance of consent in debates about consentDigital contact tracing and digital quarantinesThe ethics of digital contact tracingIs the value of digital contact tracing being oversold?The relationship between testing and contact tracingCOVID 19 as an important moment in the fight for privacyThe data economy in light of COVID 19The ethics of immunity passportsThe importance of focusing on the right things in responding to COVID 19  Relevant LinksCarissa's WebpageCarissa's Twitter feed (a treasure trove of links about privacy and surveillance)Views on Privacy: A Survey by Sian Brooke and Carissa VélizData, Privacy and the Individual by Carissa VélizScience paper on the value of digital contact tracingThe Apple-Google proposal for digital contact tracing''The new normal': China's excessive coronavirus public monitoring could be here to stay' 'In Coronavirus Fight, China Gives Citizens a Color Code, With Red Flags''To curb covid-19, China is using its high-tech surveillance tools''Digital surveillance to fight COVID-19 can only be justified if it respects human rights''Why ‘Mandatory Privacy-Preserving Digital Contact Tracing’ is the Ethical Measure against COVID-19' by Cansu Canca'The COVID-19 Tracking App Won't Work' 'What are 'immunity passports' and could they help us end the coronavirus lockdown?''The case for ending the Covid-19 pandemic with mass testing'  Subscribe to the newsletter
There is a lot of data and reporting out there about the COVID 19 pandemic. How should we make sense of that data? Do the media narratives misrepresent or mislead us as to the true risks associated with the disease? Have governments mishandled the response? Can they be morally blamed for what they have done. These are the questions I discuss with my guest on today's show: David Shaw. David is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel and an Assistant Professor at the Care and Public Health Research Institute, Maastricht University. We discuss some recent writing David has been doing on the Journal of Medical Ethics blog about the coronavirus crisis.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include... Why is it important to keep death rates and other data in context?Is media reporting of deaths misleading?Why do the media discuss 'soaring' death rates and 'grim' statistics?Are we ignoring the unintended health consequences of COVID 19?Should we take the economic costs more seriously given the link between poverty/inequality and health outcomes?Did the UK government mishandle the response to the crisis? Are they blameworthy for what they did?Is it fair to criticise governments for their handling of the crisis?Is it okay for governments to experiment on their populations in response to the crisis?Relevant LinksDavid's Profile Page at the University of Basel'The Vital Contexts of Coronavirus' by David'The Slow Dragon and the Dim Sloth: What can the world learn from coronavirus responses in Italy and the UK?' by Marcello Ienca and David Shaw'Don't let the ethics of despair infect the ICU' by David Shaw, Dan Harvey and Dale Gardiner'Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total' in the NYT (getting the context right?!)Preliminary results from German Antibody tests in one town: 14% of the population infectedDo Death Rates Go Down in a Recession?The Sun's Good Friday headlineSubscribe to the newsletter
I'm still thinking a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode I turn away from some of the 'classical' ethical questions about the disease and talk more about how to understand it and form reasonable beliefs about the public health information that has been issued in response to it. To help me do this I will be talking to Katherine Furman. Katherine is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests are at the intersection of Philosophy and Health Policy. She is interested in how laypeople understand issues of science, objectivity in the sciences and social sciences, and public trust in science. Her previous work has focused on the HIV/AIDs pandemic and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015. We will be talking about the lessons we can draw from this work for how we think about the COVID-19 pandemic.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show NotesTopics discussed include: The history of explaining the causes of diseaseMono-causal theories of diseaseMulti-causal theories of diseaseLessons learned from the HIV/AIDs pandemicThe practical importance of understanding the causes of disease in the current pandemicIs there an ethics of belief?Do we have epistemic duties in relation to COVID-19?Is it reasonable to believe 'rumours' about the disease?Lessons learned from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreakThe importance of values in the public understanding of scienceRelevant LinksKatherine's HomepageKatherine @ University of Liverpool"Mono-Causal and Multi-Causal Theories of Disease: How to Think Virally and Socially about the Aetiology of AIDS" by Katherine"Moral Responsibility, Culpable Ignorance, and Suppressed Disagreement" by Katherine"The international response to the Ebola outbreak has excluded Africans and their interests" by KatherineImperial College paper on COVID-19 scenariosOxford Paper on possible exposure levels to novel Coronavirus  Subscribe to the newsletter
We have a limited number of ventilators. Who should get access to them? In this episode I talk to Lars Sandman. Lars is a Professor of Healthcare Ethics at Linköping University, Sweden. Lars’s research involves studying ethical aspects of distributing scarce resources within health care and studying and developing methods for ethical analyses of health-care procedures. We discuss the ethics of healthcare prioritisation in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, focusing specifically on some principles Lars, along with others, developed for the Swedish government.You download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesThe prioritisation challenges we currently faceEthical principles for prioritisation in healthcareProblems with applying ethical theories in practiceSwedish legal principles on healthcare prioritisationPrinciples for access to ICU during the COVID 19 pandemicDo we prioritise younger people?Chronological age versus biological ageCould we use a lottery principle?Should we prioritise healthcare workers?Impact of COVID 19 prioritisation on other healthcare priorities  Relevant LinksLar's WebpageSwedish Legal PrinciplesBackground to the Swedish LawNew priority principles in Sweden (English Translation by Christian Munthe)"Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions" by Persad, Werthheimer and Emanuel (good overview of the ethical debate)The grim ethical dilemma of rationing medical care, explained - Vox.comSubscribe to the newsletter
Lots of people are dying right now. But people die all the time. How should we respond to all this death? In this episode I talk to Michael Cholbi about the philosophy of grief. Michael Cholbi is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely in ethical theory, practical ethics, and the philosophy of death and dying. We discus the nature of grief, the ethics of grief and how grief might change in the midst of a pandemic.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesTopics discussed include... What is grief?What are the different forms of grief?Is grief always about death?Is grief a good thing?Is grief a bad thing?Does the cause of death make a difference to grief?How does the COVID 19 pandemic disrupt grief?What are the politics of grief?Will future societies memorialise the deaths of people in the pandemic?  Relevant LinksMichael's HomepageRegret, Resilience and the Nature of Grief by MichaelFinding the Good in Grief by MichaelGrief's Rationality, Backward and Forward by MichaelCoping with Grief: A Series of Philosophical Disquisitions by meGrieving alone — coronavirus upends funeral rites (Financial Times)Coronavirus: How Covid-19 is denying dignity to the dead in Italy (BBC)Why the 1918 Spanish flu defied both memory and imagination100 years later, why don’t we commemorate the victims and heroes of ‘Spanish flu’?Subscribe to the newsletter
As nearly half the world's population is now under some form of quarantine or lockdown, it seems like an apt time to consider the ethics of infectious disease control measures of this sort. In this episode, I chat to Jonathan Pugh and Tom Douglas, both of whom are Senior Research Fellows at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in Oxford, about this very issue. We talk about the moral principles that should apply to our evaluation of infectious disease control and some of the typical objections to it. Throughout we focus specifically on some of different interventions that are being applied to tackle COVID-19.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesTopics covered include: Methods of infectious disease controlConsequentialist justifications for disease controlNon-consequentialist justificationsThe proportionality of disease control measuresCould these measures stigmatise certain populations?Could they exacerbate inequality or fuel discrimination?Must we err on the side of precaution in the midst of a novel pandemic?Is ethical evaluation a luxury at a time like this?Relevant LinksJonathan Pugh's HomepageTom Douglas's Homepage'Pandemic Ethics: Infectious Pathogen Control Measures and Moral Philosophy' by Jonathan and Tom'Justifications for Non-Consensual Medical Intervention: From Infectious Disease Control to Criminal Rehabilitation' by Jonathan and Tom'Infection Control for Third-Party Benefit: Lessons from Criminal Justice' by TomHow Different Asian Countries Responded to COVID 19    Subscribe to the newsletter
Like almost everyone else, I have been obsessing over the novel coronavirus pandemic for the past few months. Given the dramatic escalation in the pandemic in the past week, and the tricky ethical questions it raises for everyone, I thought it was about time to do an episode about it. So I reached out to people on Twitter and Jeff Sebo kindly volunteered himself to join me for a conversation. Jeff is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, and Philosophy, and Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University. Jeff’s research focuses on bioethics, animal ethics, and environmental ethics. This episode was put together in a hurry but I think it covers a lot of important ground. I hope you find it informative and useful. Be safe!You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and many over podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesTopics covered include: Individual duties and responsibilities to stop the spreadMedical ethics and medical triageBalancing short-term versus long-term interestsHealth versus well-being and other goodsState responsibilities and the social safety netThe duties of politicians and public officialsThe risk of authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic valuesGlobal justice and racism/xenophobiaOur duties to frontline workers and vulnerable members of societyAnimal ethics and the risks of industrial agricultureThe ethical upside of the pandemic: will this lead to more solidarity and sustainability?Pandemics and global catastrophic risksWhat should we be doing right now?  Some Relevant LinksJeff's webpagePatient 31 in South KoreaThe Duty to Vaccinate and collective action problemsItalian medical ethics recommendationsCOVID 19 and the Impossibility of MoralityThe problem with the UK government's (former) 'herd immunity' approachA history of the Spanish FluSubscribe to the newsletter
Comments (1)


This is my favorite podcast. It's absolutely excellent.

Aug 19th
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