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Thomas Douglas
Oxford University
  1. Is Preventive Detention Morally Worse Than Quarantine?Thomas Douglas - 2019 - In Jan W. De Keijser, Julian Roberts & Jesper Ryberg (eds.), Predictive Sentencing: Normative and Empirical Perspectives. London: Hart Publishing.
    In some jurisdictions, the institutions of criminal justice may subject individuals who have committed crimes to preventive detention. By this, I mean detention of criminal offenders (i) who have already been punished to (or beyond) the point that no further punishment can be justified on general deterrent, retributive, restitutory, communicative or other backwardlooking grounds, (ii) for preventive purposes—that is, for the purposes of preventing the detained individual from engaging in further criminal or otherwise socially costly conduct. Preventive detention, thus understood, (...)
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  2. Enhancement, Biomedical.Thomas Douglas - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  3. The Future of Neuroethics and the Relevance of the Law.Sjors Ligthart, Thomas Douglas, Christoph Bublitz & Gerben Meynen - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 10 (3):120-121.
    Open Peer Commentary, referring to "Neuroethics at 15: The Current and Future Environment for Neuroethics".
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  4. Punishing Wrongs From the Distant Past.Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Law and Philosophy 38 (4):335-358.
    On a Parfit-inspired account of culpability, as the psychological connections between a person’s younger self and older self weaken, the older self’s culpability for a wrong committed by the younger self diminishes. Suppose we accept this account and also accept a culpability-based upper limit on punishment severity. On this combination of views, we seem forced to conclude that perpetrators of distant past wrongs should either receive discounted punishments or be exempted from punishment entirely. This article develops a strategy for resisting (...)
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  5.  66
    Are You Morally Modified?: The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals.Neil Levy, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane, Sylvia Terbeck, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (2):111-125.
    A number of concerns have been raised about the possible future use of pharmaceuticals designed to enhance cognitive, affective, and motivational processes, particularly where the aim is to produce morally better decisions or behavior. In this article, we draw attention to what is arguably a more worrying possibility: that pharmaceuticals currently in widespread therapeutic use are already having unintended effects on these processes, and thus on moral decision making and morally significant behavior. We review current evidence on the moral effects (...)
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  6. Stem Cell Research and Same Sex Reproduction.Thomas Douglas, Catherine Harding, Hannah Bourne & Julian Savulescu - 2012 - In Muireann Quigley, Sarah Chan & John Harris (eds.), Stem Cells: New Frontiers in Science and Ethics. World Scientific.
    Recent advances in stem cell research suggest that in the future it may be possible to create eggs and sperm from human stem cells through a process that we term in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). IVG would allow treatment of some currently untreatable forms of infertility. It may also allow same-sex couples to have genetically-related children. For example, cells taken from one man could potentially be used to create an egg, which could then be fertilised using naturally produced sperm from another (...)
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  7. Asbestos Neglect: Why Asbestos Exposure Deserves Greater Policy Attention.Thomas Douglas & Laura Van den Borre - 2019 - Health Policy 123 (5):516-519.
    While many public health threats are now widely appreciated by the public, the risks from asbestos exposure remain poorly understood, even in high-risk groups. This article makes the case that asbestos exposure is an important, ongoing global health threat, and argues for greater policy efforts to raise awareness of this threat. It also proposes the extension of asbestos bans to developing countries and increased public subsidies for asbestos testing and abatement.
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  8.  65
    Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problems.Chris Gyngell & Thomas Douglas - 2015 - Bioethics 29 (4):241-250.
    Reproductive genetic technologies allow parents to decide whether their future children will have or lack certain genetic predispositions. A popular model that has been proposed for regulating access to RGTs is the ‘genetic supermarket’. In the genetic supermarket, parents are free to make decisions about which genes to select for their children with little state interference. One possible consequence of the genetic supermarket is that collective action problems will arise: if rational individuals use the genetic supermarket in isolation from one (...)
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  9. Neuro-Interventions as Criminal Rehabilitation: An Ethical Review.Jonathan Pugh & Thomas Douglas - 2017 - In Jonathan D. Jacobs & Jonathan Jackson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics. London: Routledge.
    According to a number of influential views in penal theory, 1 one of the primary goals of the criminal justice system is to rehabilitate offenders. Rehabilitativemeasures are commonly included as a part of a criminal sentence. For example, in some jurisdictions judges may order violent offenders to attend anger management classes or to undergo cognitive behavioural therapy as a part of their sentences. In a limited number of cases, neurointerventions — interventions that exert a direct biological effect on the brain (...)
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  10. Moral Neuroenhancement.Brian D. Earp, Thomas Douglas & Julian Savulescu - 2017 - In L. Syd M. Johnson & Karen S. Rommelfanger (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. Routledge.
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  11. Biological Interventions for Crime Prevention.Christopher Chew, Thomas Douglas & Nadira Faber - forthcoming - In David Birks & Thomas Douglas (eds.), Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter sets the scene for the subsequent philosophical discussions by surveying a number of biological interventions that have been used, or might in the future be used, for the purposes of crime prevention. These interventions are pharmaceutical interventions intended to suppress libido, treat substance abuse or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or modulate serotonin activity; nutritional interventions; and electrical and magnetic brain stimulation. Where applicable, we briefly comment on the historical use of these interventions, and in each case we discuss (...)
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  12. A Conception of Genetic Parenthood.Thomas Douglas & Katrien Devolder - 2019 - Bioethics 33 (1):54-59.
    We seek to develop a plausible conception of genetic parenthood, taking a recent discussion by Heidi Mertes as our point of departure. Mertes considers two conceptions of genetic parenthood—one invoking genetic resemblance, and the other genetic inheritance—and presents counter-examples to both conceptions. We revise Mertes’ second conception so as to avoid these and related counter-examples.
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  13. Parental Partiality and Future Children.Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1).
    Prospective parents are sometimes partial towards their future children, engaging in what I call ‘pre-parental partiality’. Common sense morality is as permissive of pre-parental partiality as it is of ordinary parental partiality—partiality towards one’s existing children. But I argue that existing justifications for partiality typically establish weaker reasons in support of pre-parental partiality than in support of parental partiality. Thus, either these existing justifications do not fully account for our reasons of parental partiality, or our reasons to engage in pre-parental (...)
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  14. Enhancement and Civic Virtue.William Jefferson, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Social Theory and Practice 40 (3):499-527.
    Opponents of biomedical enhancement frequently adopt what Allen Buchanan has called the “Personal Goods Assumption.” On this assumption, the benefits of biomedical enhancement will accrue primarily to those individuals who undergo enhancements, not to wider society. Buchanan has argued that biomedical enhancements might in fact have substantial social benefits by increasing productivity. We outline another way in which enhancements might benefit wider society: by augmenting civic virtue and thus improving the functioning of our political communities. We thus directly confront critics (...)
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  15. Enhancement & Desert.Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
    It is sometimes claimed that those who succeed with the aid of enhancement technologies deserve the rewards associated with their success less, other things being equal, than those who succeed without the aid of such technologies. This claim captures some widely held intuitions, has been implicitly endorsed by participants in social-psychological research, and helps to undergird some otherwise puzzling philosophical objections to the use of enhancement technologies. I consider whether it can be provided with a rational basis. I examine three (...)
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  16. The Morality of Moral Neuroenhancement.Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In Clausen Jens & Levy Neil (eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer.
    This chapter reviews recent philosophical and neuroethical literature on the morality of moral neuroenhancements. It first briefly outlines the main moral arguments that have been made concerning moral status neuroenhancements. These are neurointerventions that would augment the moral status of human persons. It then surveys recent debate regarding moral desirability neuroenhancements: neurointerventions that augment that the moral desirability of human character traits, motives or conduct. This debate has contested, among other claims (i) Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu’s contention that there (...)
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  17. Autonomy and the Ethics of Biological Behaviour Modification.Julian Savulescu, Thomas Douglas & Ingmar Persson - 2014 - In Akira Akabayashi (ed.), The Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Much disease and disability is the result of lifestyle behaviours. For example, the contribution of imprudence in the form of smoking, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and drug and alcohol abuse to ill-health is now well established. More importantly, some of the greatest challenges facing humanity as a whole – climate change, terrorism, global poverty, depletion of resources, abuse of children, overpopulation – are the result of human behaviour. In this chapter, we will explore the possibility of using advances in the (...)
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  18. Justifications for Non-­Consensual Medical Intervention: From Infectious Disease Control to Criminal Rehabilitation.Jonathan Pugh & Thomas Douglas - 2016 - Criminal Justice Ethics 35 (3):205-229.
    A central tenet of medical ethics holds that it is permissible to perform a medical intervention on a competent individual only if that individual has given informed consent to the intervention. However, in some circumstances it is tempting to say that the moral reason to obtain informed consent prior to administering a medical intervention is outweighed. For example, if an individual’s refusal to undergo a medical intervention would lead to the transmission of a dangerous infectious disease to other members of (...)
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  19. Selecting Against Disability: The Liberal Eugenic Challenge and the Argument From Cognitive Diversity.Christopher Gyngell & Thomas Douglas - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (2):319-340.
    Selection against embryos that are predisposed to develop disabilities is one of the less controversial uses of embryo selection technologies. Many bio-conservatives argue that while the use of ESTs to select for non-disease-related traits, such as height and eye-colour, should be banned, their use to avoid disease and disability should be permitted. Nevertheless, there remains significant opposition, particularly from the disability rights movement, to the use of ESTs to select against disability. In this article we examine whether and why the (...)
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  20. Impartiality and Infectious Disease: Prioritizing Individuals Versus the Collective in Antibiotic Prescription.Bernadine Dao, Thomas Douglas, Alberto Giubilini, Julian Savulescu, Michael Selgelid & Nadira S. Faber - 2019 - Ajob Empirical Bioethics 10 (1):63-69.
    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health disaster driven largely by antibiotic use in human health care. Doctors considering whether to prescribe antibiotics face an ethical conflict between upholding individual patient health and advancing public health aims. Existing literature mainly examines whether patients awaiting consultations desire or expect to receive antibiotic prescriptions, but does not report views of the wider public regarding conditions under which doctors should prescribe antibiotics. It also does not explore the ethical significance of public views (...)
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  21. Enhancement in Sport, and Enhancement Outside Sport.Thomas Douglas - 2007 - Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 1 (1).
    Sport is one of the first areas in which enhancement has become commonplace. It is also one of the first areas in which the use of enhancement technologies has been heavily regulated. Some have thus seen sport as a testing ground for arguments about whether to permit enhancement. However, I argue that there are fairness-based objections to enhancement in sport that do not apply as strongly in some other areas of human activity. Thus, I claim that there will often be (...)
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  22. Risk Assessment Tools in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychiatry: The Need for Better Data.Thomas Douglas, Jonathan Pugh, Illina Singh, Julian Savulescu & Seena Fazel - 2017 - European Psychiatry 42:134-137.
    Violence risk assessment tools are increasingly used within criminal justice and forensic psychiatry, however there is little relevant, reliable and unbiased data regarding their predictive accuracy. We argue that such data are needed to (i) prevent excessive reliance on risk assessment scores, (ii) allow matching of different risk assessment tools to different contexts of application, (iii) protect against problematic forms of discrimination and stigmatisation, and (iv) ensure that contentious demographic variables are not prematurely removed from risk assessment tools.
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  23.  93
    Nonconsensual Neurocorrectives and Bodily Integrity: A Reply to Shaw and Barn.Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Neuroethics 12 (1):107-118.
    In this issue, Elizabeth Shaw and Gulzaar Barn offer a number of replies to my arguments in ‘Criminal Rehabilitation Through Medical Intervention: Moral Liability and the Right to Bodily Integrity’, Journal of Ethics. In this article I respond to some of their criticisms.
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  24.  55
    Disease, Normality, and Current Pharmacological Moral Modification.Neil Levy, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane, Sylvia Terbeck, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (2):135-137.
    Response to commentary. We are grateful to Crockett and Craigie for their interesting remarks on our paper. We accept Crockett’s claim that there is a need for caution in drawing inferences about patient groups from work on healthy volunteers in the laboratory. However, we believe that the evidence we cited established a strong presumption that many of the patients who are routinely taking a medication, including many people properly prescribed the medication for a medical condition, have morally significant aspects of (...)
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  25.  99
    An Expected Value Approach to the Dual-Use Problem.Thomas Douglas - 2013 - In Brian Rappert & Michael Selgelid (eds.), On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. ANU Press.
    In this chapter I examine how expected-value theory might inform responses to what I call the dual-use problem. I begin by defining that problem. I then outline a procedure, which invokes expected-value theory, for tackling it. I first illustrate the procedure with the aid of a simplified schematic example of a dual-use problem, and then describe how it might also guide responses to more complex real-world cases. I outline some attractive features of the procedure. Finally, I consider whether and how (...)
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  26. Resisting Sparrow's Sexy Reductio : Selection Principles and the Social Good.Simon Rippon, Pablo Stafforini, Katrien Devolder, Russell Powell & Thomas Douglas - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (7):16-18.
    Principles of procreative beneficence (PPBs) hold that parents have good reasons to select the child with the best life prospects. Sparrow (2010) claims that PPBs imply that we should select only female children, unlesswe attach normative significance to “normal” human capacities. We argue that this claim fails on both empirical and logical grounds. Empirically, Sparrow’s argument for greater female wellbeing rests on a selective reading of the evidence and the incorrect assumption that an advantage for females would persist even when (...)
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  27.  85
    The Negative Effects of Neurointerventions: Confusing Constitution and Causation.Thomas Douglas & Hazem Zohny - 2018 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 9 (3):162-164.
    Birks and Buyx (2018) claim that, at least in the foreseeable future, nonconsensual neurointerventions will almost certainly suppress some valuable mental states and will thereby impose an objectionable harm to mental integrity—a harm that it is pro tanto wrong to impose. Of course, incarceration also interferes with valuable mental states, so might seem to be objectionable in the same way. However, Birks and Buyx block this result by maintaining that the negative mental effects of incarceration are merely foreseen, whereas those (...)
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  28. Consequentialism and the Death Penalty.Dominic J. Wilkinson & Thomas Douglas - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (10):56-58.
    Comment on "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'". Arguments in defense of the death penalty typically fall into one of two groups. Consequentialist arguments point out beneficial aspects of capital punishment, normally focusing on deterrence, while non-consequentialist arguments seek to justify execution independently of its effects, for example, by appealing to the concept of retribution. Michael Keane's target article "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'" should, we believe, be read as an interesting new consequentialist defense of (...)
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  29. Germline Edits: Trust Ethics Review Process.Julian Savulescu, Chris Gyngell & Thomas Douglas - 2015 - Nature 520.
    Summary: Edward Lanphier and colleagues contend that human germline editing is an unethical technology because it could have unpredictable effects on future generations. In our view, such misgivings do not justify their proposed moratorium.
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  30.  40
    Response to Commentaries.Julian Savulescu, Thomas Douglas & Ingmar Persson - 2014 - In Akira Akabayashi (ed.), The Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  31.  86
    The Epistemic Costs of Compromise in Bioethics.Katrien Devolder & Thomas Douglas - 2018 - Bioethics 32 (2):111-118.
    Bioethicists sometimes defend compromise positions, particularly when they enter debates on applied topics that have traditionally been highly polarised, such as those regarding abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research. However, defending compromise positions is often regarded with a degree of disdain. Many are intuitively attracted to the view that it is almost always problematic to defend compromise positions, in the sense that we have a significant moral reason not to do so. In this paper, we consider whether this common (...)
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  32.  72
    Neural and Environmental Modulation of Motivation: What's the Moral Difference?Thomas Douglas - forthcoming - In David Birks & Thomas Douglas (eds.), Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Interventions that modify a person’s motivations through chemically or physically influencing the brain seem morally objectionable, at least when they are performed nonconsensually. This chapter raises a puzzle for attempts to explain their objectionability. It first seeks to show that the objectionability of such interventions must be explained at least in part by reference to the sort of mental interference that they involve. It then argues that it is difficult to furnish an explanation of this sort. The difficulty is that (...)
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  33.  69
    Taking Drugs to Help Others.Thomas Douglas - 2016 - In David Edmonds (ed.), Philosophers Take On the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Every day the news shows us provoking stories about what's going on in the world, about events which raise moral questions and problems. In Philosophers Take On the World a team of philosophers get to grips with a variety of these controversial issues, from the amusing to the shocking, in short, engaging, often controversial pieces. This chapter covers drug use, making you think again about the judgements we make on a daily basis and the ways in which we choose to (...)
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  34.  40
    Introduction.Thomas Douglas & David Birks - forthcoming - In David Birks & Thomas Douglas (eds.), Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Crime-preventing neurointerventions (CPNs) are increasingly being used or advocated for crime prevention. There is increasing use of testosterone-lowering agents to prevent recidivism in sexual offenders, and strong political and scientific interest in developing pharmaceutical treatments for psychopathy and anti-social behaviour. Recent developments suggest that we may ultimately have at our disposal a range of drugs capable of suppressing violent aggression, and it is not difficult to imagine possible applications of such drugs in crime prevention. But should neurointerventions be used in (...)
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  35.  46
    The Case Against Forced Methadone Detox in the US Prisons.Daniel D’Hotman, Jonathan Pugh & Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Public Health Ethics 12 (1):89-93.
    Methadone maintenance therapy is a cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for heroin dependence. In the USA, a majority of heroin-dependent offenders are forced to detox from methadone when incarcerated. Recent research published in The Lancet has demonstrated the negative health and economic outcomes associated with such policies. Methadone Continuation Versus Forced Withdrawal on Incarceration in a Combined US Prison and Jail: A Randomised, Open Label Trial. The Lancet, 386, 350–359). This novel evidence raises questions as to the justification for current policies of (...)
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