Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy

Philosophical Bioethics Projects


Philosophical Bioethics Consortium and Web Hub

Blumenthal-Barby, Ph.D., M.A. from the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy developed 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. The Hub website includes: 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 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:

Kostick-Quenet K, Lang B, Smith J, Hurley M, Blumenthal-Barby JS. Trust Criteria for Artificial Intelligence in Health: Normative and Epistemic Considerations. Journal of Medical Ethics. 2023 Nov 18:jme-2023-109338. doi: 10.1136/jme-2023-109338. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37979976.

Lang, Benjamin H., Blumenthal-Barby, J.S. Nyholm, Sven. Responsibility Gaps and Black Box Healthcare AI: Shared Responsibilisation as a Solution. DISO 2, 52 (November 16, 2023).

Blumenthal-Barby J. Ethics of speculation. J Med Ethics. 2023 Aug;49(8):525. doi: 10.1136/jme-2023-109429. PMID: 37487621.

Kitts, M. Throwing the Embryos out with the Bathwater? A Novel Evaluation of the Value of Embryos. J Appl Philos.  July 2023.

Smith J, Blumenthal-Barby J. Call for moral recognition as part of paediatric assent. J Med Ethics. 2023 Jul;49(7):481-482. doi: 10.1136/jme-2023-109013. Epub 2023 May 5. PMID: 37147114; PMCID: PMC10583811.

Blumenthal-Barby, JS. The End of Personhood, American Journal of Bioethics (target article), 2023 Jan 12;1-10, online ahead of print.

Blumenthal-Barby JS. An AI Bill of Rights: Implications for Health Care AI and Machine Learning-A Bioethics Lens. American Journal of Bioethics, 23(1), 2023: 4-6.

Blumenthal-Barby JS. Theoretical vs. Practical Reasons: Derek Parfit and Bioethics, American Journal of Bioethics, 22(9), 2022: 1-3.

Largent EA, Clapp J, Blumenthal-Barby JS, Grady C, McGuire AL, Karlawish J, Grill JD, Stites SD, Peterson A. Deciding with Others: Interdependent Decision Making. Hastings Center Report, 52(6), 2023: 23-32.

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),

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.

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,

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.

Blumenthal-Barby J. The End of Personhood [published online ahead of print, 2023 Jan 12]. Am J Bioeth. 2023;1-10. doi:10.1080/15265161.2022.2160515

Bobier C, Rodger D, Hurst DJ, Omelianchuk A. In defense of xenotransplantation research: Because of, not in spite of, animal welfare concerns [published online ahead of print, 2022 Dec 27]. Xenotransplantation. 2022;e12791. doi:10.1111/xen.12791