Some ethical reflections on vulnerability, disability and technologies

When:21 Mar 2017, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Susan Dodds (UNSW)
Professor Susan Dodds

Philosophy Seminar


This paper is a work in progress that builds on my earlier work, with Catriona Mackenzie and Wendy Rogers (Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy), on the concept of human vulnerability its ethical implications. I explore how attention to vulnerabilities combined with “disability bioethics” (Jackie Leach Scully Disability Bioethics: Moral Bodies, Moral Knowledge 2008) can usefully inform evaluation of the ethical significance of assistive technologies from prosthetics to biosensors and mobile device apps and neural implants, and can also offer a different, possibly more rewarding, way of engaging with the therapy/ enhancement distinction and the current debate about human enhancement (see eg various articles by Robert Sparrow, John Harris and Julian Savulescu who’ve kept up a pretty robust debate in this area for over a decade).

About Susan Dodds

Susan Dodds is a Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. Her research explores the intersections between applied ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology and feminist theory. She is a Chief Investigator and leader of the Ethics, Policy and Public Engagement Theme of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Australian Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES). Significant recent publications include S. Dodds and R. A. Ankeny (eds) Big Picture Bioethics: Developing Democratic Policy in Contested Domains, Springer 2016 and C. Mackenzie, W. Rogers and S. Dodds (eds)Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy, OUP 2014.

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