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Vanessa Carbonell
University of Cincinnati
  1. Materialized Oppression in Medical Tools and Technologies.Shen-yi Liao & Vanessa Carbonell - forthcoming - American Journal of Bioethics:1-15.
    It is well-known that racism is encoded into the social practices and institutions of medicine. Less well-known is that racism is encoded into the material artifacts of medicine. We argue that many medical devices are not merely biased, but materialize oppression. An oppressive device exhibits a harmful bias that reflects and perpetuates unjust power relations. Using pulse oximeters and spirometers as case studies, we show how medical devices can materialize oppression along various axes of social difference, including race, gender, class, (...)
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  2. Social Constraints On Moral Address.Vanessa Carbonell - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (1):167-189.
    The moral community is a social community, and as such it is vulnerable to social problems and pathologies. In this essay I identify a particular way in which participation in the moral community can be constrained by social factors. I argue that features of the social world—including power imbalances, oppression, intergroup conflict, communication barriers, and stereotyping—can make it nearly impossible for some members of the moral community to hold others responsible for wrongdoing. Specifically, social circumstances prevent some marginalized people from (...)
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  3. De dicto desires and morality as fetish.Vanessa Carbonell - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):459-477.
    Abstract It would be puzzling if the morally best agents were not so good after all. Yet one prominent account of the morally best agents ascribes to them the exact motivational defect that has famously been called a “fetish.” The supposed defect is a desire to do the right thing, where this is read de dicto . If the morally best agents really are driven by this de dicto desire, and if this de dicto desire is really a fetish, then (...)
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  4. The ratcheting-up effect.Vanessa Carbonell - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2):228-254.
    I argue for the existence of a ‘ratcheting-up effect’: the behavior of moral saints serves to increase the level of moral obligation the rest of us face. What we are morally obligated to do is constrained by what it would be reasonable for us to believe we are morally obligated to do. Moral saints provide us with a special kind of evidence that bears on what we can reasonably believe about our obligations. They do this by modeling the level of (...)
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  5. What moral saints look like.Vanessa Carbonell - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (3):pp. 371-398.
    Susan Wolf famously claimed that the life of the moral saint is unattractive from the “point of view of individual perfection.” I argue, however, that the unattractive moral saints in Wolf’s account are self-defeating on two levels, are motivated in the wrong way, and are called into question by real-life counter-examples. By appealing to a real-life case study, I argue that the best life from the moral point of view is not necessarily unattractive from the individual point of view.
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  6. Materializing Systemic Racism, Materializing Health Disparities.Vanessa Carbonell & Shen-yi Liao - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (9):16-18.
    The purpose of cultural competence education for medical professionals is to ensure respectful care and reduce health disparities. Yet as Berger and Miller (2021) show, the cultural competence framework is dated, confused, and self-defeating. They argue that the framework ignores the primary driver of health disparities—systemic racism—and is apt to exacerbate rather than mitigate bias and ethnocentrism. They propose replacing cultural competence with a framework that attends to two social aspects of structural inequality: health and social policy, and institutional-system activity; (...)
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    Malicious Moral Envy.Vanessa Carbonell - 2022 - In Sara Protasi (ed.), The Moral Psychology of Envy. Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 129-146.
    Malicious moral envy is an aversive reaction to a rival’s moral properties or accomplishments, accompanied by a tendency to level-down the target by morally tarnishing or sabotaging them. In this essay I give an account of malicious moral envy, showing how it is a sub-type of envy more generally. I describe Donald Trump’s behaviors toward Barack Obama and Anthony Fauci as a case study of malicious moral envy. I argue that malicious moral envy is puzzling, first because it is self-defeating, (...)
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  8. What We Know and What We Owe.Vanessa Carbonell - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 3.
    Knowledge is necessary for certain moral obligations. In learning something new, one sometimes triggers a moral obligation. This paper argues that the existence of these knowledge-based obligations poses a problem for the view that we are not only free to choose the course of our own lives, including our careers and personal projects, but also free to change our minds and quit at any time to pursue something else. For if our choice of life path has generated knowledge-based moral obligations (...)
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  9. How to Put Prescription Drug Ads on Your Syllabus.Vanessa Carbonell - 2014 - Teaching Philosophy 37 (3):295-319.
    The purpose of this essay is to make the case that the ethical issues raised by the current U.S. practice of direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising are worthy of study in philosophy courses, and to provide instructors with some ideas for how they might approach teaching the topic, despite the current relative scarcity of philosophical literature published on it. This topic presents a unique opportunity to cover ground in ethics, critical thinking, and scientific literacy simultaneously. As a case study, the practice (...)
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