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Ben Davies [12]Benjamin Davies [11]
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Ben Davies
Oxford University
  1.  61
    The Right Not to Know and the Obligation to Know.Ben Davies - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):300-303.
    There is significant controversy over whether patients have a ‘right not to know’ information relevant to their health. Some arguments for limiting such a right appeal to potential burdens on others that a patient’s avoidable ignorance might generate. This paper develops this argument by extending it to cases where refusal of relevant information may generate greater demands on a publicly funded healthcare system. In such cases, patients may have an ‘obligation to know’. However, we cannot infer from the fact that (...)
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  2. Utilitarianism and Animal Cruelty: Further Doubts.Ben Davies - 2016 - De Ethica 3 (3):5-19.
    Utilitarianism has an apparent pedigree when it comes to animal welfare. It supports the view that animal welfare matters just as much as human welfare. And many utilitarians support and oppose various practices in line with more mainstream concern over animal welfare, such as that we should not kill animals for food or other uses, and that we ought not to torture animals for fun. This relationship has come under tension from many directions. The aim of this article is to (...)
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  3.  62
    No Blame No Gain? From a No Blame Culture to a Responsibility Culture in Medicine.Joshua Parker & Ben Davies - 2020 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (4):646-660.
    Healthcare systems need to consider not only how to prevent error, but how to respond to errors when they occur. In the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, one strand of this latter response is the ‘No Blame Culture’, which draws attention from individuals and towards systems in the process of understanding an error. Defences of the No Blame Culture typically fail to distinguish between blaming someone and holding them responsible. This article argues for a ‘responsibility culture’, where healthcare professionals are (...)
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  4.  33
    From Sufficient Health to Sufficient Responsibility.Ben Davies & Julian Savulescu - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (3):423-433.
    The idea of using responsibility in the allocation of healthcare resources has been criticized for, among other things, too readily abandoning people who are responsible for being very badly off. One response to this problem is that while responsibility can play a role in resource allocation, it cannot do so if it will leave those who are responsible below a “sufficiency” threshold. This paper considers first whether a view can be both distinctively sufficientarian and allow responsibility to play a role (...)
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  5. Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource, Collected and Edited by Noah Levin.Noah Levin, Nathan Nobis, David Svolba, Brandon Wooldridge, Kristina Grob, Eduardo Salazar, Benjamin Davies, Jonathan Spelman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Kristin Seemuth Whaley, Jan F. Jacko & Prabhpal Singh (eds.) - 2019 - Huntington Beach, California: N.G.E Far Press.
    Collected and edited by Noah Levin -/- Table of Contents: -/- UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: TECHNOLOGY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND IMMIGRATION 1 The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars: Your Car’s Moral Settings (Noah Levin) 2 What is Ethics and What Makes Something a Problem for Morality? (David Svolba) 3 Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr) 4 A Defense of Affirmative Action (Noah Levin) 5 The Moral Issues of Immigration (B.M. Wooldridge) 6 The Ethics of our (...)
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  6. Publish or Perish.Benjamin Davies & Giulia Felappi - 2017 - Metaphilosophy 48 (5):745-761.
    Funds and positions in philosophy should be awarded through systems that are reliable, objective, and efficient. One question usually taken to be relevant is how many publications people have in a group of well-respected journals. In the context of significant competition for jobs and funding, however, relying on quantity of publications creates a serious downside: the oft-lamented demand that we publish or perish. This article offers a systematic review of the problems involved in contemporary academic philosophy, and argues that the (...)
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  7. Fair Innings and Time-Relative Claims.Ben Davies - 2016 - Bioethics 30 (6):462-468.
    Greg Bognar has recently offered a prioritarian justification for ‘fair innings’ distributive principles that would ration access to healthcare on the basis of patients' age. In this article, I agree that Bognar's principle is among the strongest arguments for age-based rationing. However, I argue that this position is incomplete because of the possibility of ‘time-relative' egalitarian principles that could complement the kind of lifetime egalitarianism that Bognar adopts. After outlining Bognar's position, and explaining the attraction of time-relative egalitarianism, I suggest (...)
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  8.  28
    Health(Care) and the Temporal Subject.Ben Davies - 2018 - Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 13 (3):38-64.
    Many assume that theories of distributive justice must obviously take people’s lifetimes, and only their lifetimes, as the relevant period across which we distribute. Although the question of the temporal subject has risen in prominence, it is still relatively underdeveloped, particularly in the sphere of health and healthcare. This paper defends a particular view, “momentary sufficientarianism,” as being an important element of healthcare justice. At the heart of the argument is a commitment to pluralism about justice, where theorizing about just (...)
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  9. Paternalism and Evaluative Shift.Ben Davies - 2017 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 4 (2).
    Many people feel that respecting a person’s autonomy is not sufficiently important to obligate us to stay out of their affairs in all cases; but the ground for interference may often turn out to be a hunch that the agent cannot really be competent, or cannot really know what her decision implies; for if she were both of these things, surely she would not make such a foolish decision. This paper suggests a justification of paternalism that does not rely on (...)
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  10.  97
    Ageing and Terminal Illness: Problems for Rawlsian Justice.Ben Davies - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy:775-789.
    This article considers attempts to include the issues of ageing and ill health in a Rawlsian framework. It first considers Norman Daniels’ Prudential Lifespan Account, which reduces intergenerational questions to issues of intrapersonal prudence from behind a Rawslian veil of ignorance. This approach faces several problems of idealisation, including those raised by Hugh Lazenby, because it must assume that everyone will live to the same age, undermining its status as a prudential calculation. I then assess Lazenby's account, which applies Rawls’ (...)
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  11. Bursting Bubbles? QALYs and Discrimination.Ben Davies - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (2):191-202.
    The use of Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) in healthcare allocation has been criticized as discriminatory against people with disabilities. This article considers a response to this criticism from Nick Beckstead and Toby Ord. They say that even if QALYs are discriminatory, attempting to avoid discrimination – when coupled with other central principles that an allocation system should favour – sometimes leads to irrationality in the form of cyclic preferences. I suggest that while Beckstead and Ord have identified a problem, it (...)
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  12.  21
    (Draft) Bringing the Myth to Life: Three Prima Facie Cases of Optional War.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Kieran Oberman argues that there is no such thing, in realistic circumstances, as an optional war, i.e. a war that it is permissible for a state to wage, but not obligatory. Regarding a central kind of war – humanitarian intervention – this is due to what Oberman calls the Cost Principle, which says that states may not impose humanitarian costs on their citizens that those citizens do not have independent humanitarian obligations to meet. Essentially, this means that if the seriousness (...)
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  13.  53
    (Draft) Cows, Crickets and Clams: On the Alleged 'Vegan' Obligation to Eat Different Kinds of Meat.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Vegans do not eat meat. This statement seems so obvious that one might be tempted to claim that it is analytically true. Yet several authors argue that the underlying logic of veganism warrants – perhaps even demands – eating meat. I begin by considering an important principle that has been important in motivating vegan meat-eating, related to an obligation to reduce or minimise harm. I offer an alternative, rights-based view, and suggest that while this might support an obligation to eat (...)
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  14. Dennis McKerlie: Justice Between the Young and the Old. [REVIEW]Benjamin Davies - 2015 - Czech Sociological Review 51 (3):562-565.
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  15.  68
    Enhancement and the Conservative Bias.Ben Davies - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (3):339-356.
    Nicholas Agar argues that we should avoid certain ‘radical’ enhancement technologies. One reason for this is that they will alienate us from current sources of value by altering our evaluative outlooks. We should avoid this, even if enhancing will provide us with novel, objectively better sources of value. After noting the parallel between Agar’s views and G. A. Cohen’s work on the ‘conservative bias’, I explore Agar’s suggestion in relation to two kinds of radical enhancement: cognitive and anti-ageing. With regard (...)
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  16.  35
    (Draft) In Defence of Welfare Subjectivism.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Subjectivists about welfare face two problems that pull them in opposite directions. The Paradox Problem, outlined by Ben Bradley, is that, for an agent who desires that her life go badly, subjectivist theories are sometimes unable to give a determinate answer about how well her life goes. This problem demands that subjectivists choose a complex mental attitude to ground well-being. The Infant Problem, from Eden Lin, is that many subjective theories end up denying that infants (and some others) have welfare. (...)
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  17. John Rawls' 'A Theory of Justice'.Benjamin Davies - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Some people are multi-billionaires; others die because they are too poor to afford food or medications. In many countries, people are denied rights to free speech, to participate in political life, or to pursue a career, because of their gender, religion, race or other factors, while their fellow citizens enjoy these rights. In many societies, what best predicts your future income, or whether you will attend college, is your parents’ income. -/- To many, these facts seem unjust. Others disagree: even (...)
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  18. Learning to Discriminate: The Perfect Proxy Problem in Artificially Intelligent Criminal Sentencing.Benjamin Davies & Thomas Douglas - manuscript
    It is often thought that traditional recidivism prediction tools used in criminal sentencing, though biased in many ways, can straightforwardly avoid one particularly pernicious type of bias: direct racial discrimination. They can avoid this by excluding race from the list of variables employed to predict recidivism. A similar approach could be taken to the design of newer, machine learning-based (ML) tools for predicting recidivism: information about race could be withheld from the ML tool during its training phase, ensuring that the (...)
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  19.  10
    ‘Personal Health Surveillance’: The Use of mHealth in Healthcare Responsibilisation.Ben Davies - forthcoming - Public Health Ethics.
    There is an ongoing increase in the use of mobile health technologies that patients can use to monitor health-related outcomes and behaviours. While the dominant narrative around mHealth focuses on patient empowerment, there is potential for mHealth to fit into a growing push for patients to take personal responsibility for their health. I call the first of these uses ‘medical monitoring’, and the second ‘personal health surveillance’. After outlining two problems which the use of mHealth might seem to enable us (...)
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  20.  31
    Responsibility and the Limits of Patient Choice.Benjamin Davies - 2020 - Bioethics 34 (5):459-466.
    Patients are generally assumed to have the right to choices about treatment, including the right to refuse treatment, which is constrained by considerations of cost‐effectiveness. Independently, many people support the idea that patients who are responsible for their ill health should incur penalties that non‐responsible patients do not face. Surprisingly, these two areas have not received much joint attention. This paper considers whether restricting the scope of responsibility to pre‐treatment decisions can be justified, or whether a demand to hold people (...)
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  21.  31
    (Draft) The Prospects for Prospect Utilitarianism.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Sufficientarianism is a view of distributive justice that places importance on one or more ‘thresholds’, whereby those who are above the threshold have much weaker claims to additional benefits than those below, and may even have no claims at all. Hun Chung has recently argued for a new theory of distributive justice that overcomes two central problems faced by sufficientarianism. Sufficientarianism cannot give intuitively compelling answers to ‘lifeboat cases’, where we can save the lives of some but not all of (...)
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  22.  27
    ‘The Right Not to Know and the Obligation to Know’, Response to Commentaries.Ben Davies - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (5):309-310.
    Response to commentaries on 'The right not to know and the obligation to know'.
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  23.  39
    (Draft) The Universe Doesn't Care: Against the Rationalist Defence of Moral Realism.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Evolutionary debunking accounts claim that the evolutionary origins of our moral beliefs provide a problem for moral realists because evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs have more plausibility than realist accounts. A certain kind of response, which I term ‘rationalist’ offers a dual response to evolutionary debunking. First, they offer a supposedly plausible account of how we acquire objective moral knowledge through use of our rationality. Second, they claim that certain moral beliefs are not amenable to evolutionary explanation. I argue (...)
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