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  1. Lawrence Torcello (2014). Moral Agnosticism: An Ethics of Inquiry and Public Discourse. Teaching Ethics 14 (2):3-16.
    Taking Anthropogenic global warming as its framing example this paper develops an ethics of inquiry and public discourse influenced by Rawlsian public reason. The need to embrace scientific fact during civil discourse on topics of moral and political controversy is stressed as an ethical mandate. The paper argues: (1) ethicists have a moral obligation to recognize scientific consensus when relevant to ethical discussions. (2) The failure to condemn science denialism when it interferes with the public’s understanding of ethical issues is (...)
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  2. Lawrence Torcello (2013). What's the Harm? Why the Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an Ethical Problem. Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal 4 (4):333-344.
    This paper argues that it is morally irresponsible for modern medical providers or health care institutions to support and advocate the integration of CAM practices (i.e. homeopathy, acupuncture, energy healing, etc.) with conventional modern medicine. The results of such practices are not reliable beyond that of placebo. As a corollary, it is argued that prescribing placebos perceived to stand outside the norm of modern medicine is morally inappropriate. Even when such treatments do no direct physical harm, they create unnecessary barriers (...)
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  3. Lawrence Torcello (2011). Sophism and Moral Agnosticism, or, How to Tell a Relativist From a Pluralist. The Pluralist 6 (1):87-108.
    Is it possible to recognize the limits of rationality, and thus to embrace moral pluralism, without embracing moral relativism? My answer is yes; nevertheless, certain anti-foundational positions, both recent and ancient, take a cynical stance toward the possibility of any critical moral judgment, and as such, must be regarded as relativistic.1 It is such cynicism, I argue, whether openly announced or unknowingly implied, that marks the distinction between relativism and pluralism.2 The danger of this cynicism is not so much that (...)
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  4. Lawrence Torcello (2011). The Ethics of Inquiry, Scientific Belief, and Public Discourse. Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (3):197-215.
    The scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change is firmly established yet climate change denialism, a species of what I call pseudoskepticism, is on the rise in industrial nations most responsible for climate change. Such denialism suggests the need for a robust ethics of inquiry and public discourse. In this paper I argue: (1) that ethical obligations of inquiry extend to every voting citizen insofar as citizens are bound together as a political body. (2) It is morally condemnable for public officials (...)
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  5. Lawrence Torcello (2009). A Precautionary Tale: Separating the Infant From the Fetus. Res Publica 15 (1):17-31.
    This article confronts growing conservative opposition to abortion based on the claim that abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide. By examining the relationship between moral skepticism and precautionary ethics the article promotes a completely permissive position on abortion from conception to birth while consistently rejecting the possibility that such a position entails permissive implications for infanticide. The article introduces and traces the implicit relationship between moral skepticism, the precautionary principle and political liberalism.
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  6. Lawrence Torcello & Stephen Wear (2000). The Commercialization of Human Body Parts: A Reappraisal From a Protestant Perspective. Christian Bioethics 6 (2):153-169.
    The idea of a market in human organs has traditionally met with widespread and emphatic rejection from both secular and religious fronts alike. However, as numerous human beings continue to suffer an uncertain fate on transplant waiting lists, voices are beginning to emerge that are willing at least to explore the option of human organ sales. Anyone who argues for such an option must contend, however, with what seem to be largely emotional rejections of the idea. Often it seems that (...)
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