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Profile: Robert Sparrow (Monash University)
  1. Robert Sparrow, Can Machines Be People? Reflections on the Turning Triage Test.
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  2. Robert Sparrow, War Without Virtue?
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  3. R. Sparrow (forthcoming). Reproductive Technologies, Risk, Enhancement and the Value of Genetic Relatedness. Journal of Medical Ethics.
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  4. Robert Sparrow (forthcoming). Implants and Ethnocide: Learning From the Cochlear Implant Controversy. Disability and Society.
  5. Robert Sparrow (forthcoming). Eugenics. Hastings Center Report.
     
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  6. Robert Sparrow (forthcoming). In Vitro Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics:2012-101200.
    A series of recent scientific results suggest that, in the not-too-distant future, it will be possible to create viable human gametes from human stem cells. This paper discusses the potential of this technology to make possible what I call ‘in vitro eugenics’: the deliberate breeding of human beings in vitro by fusing sperm and egg derived from different stem-cell lines to create an embryo and then deriving new gametes from stem cells derived from that embryo. Repeated iterations of this process (...)
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  7. Robert Sparrow (2014). Better Living Through Chemistry? A Reply to Savulescu and Persson on 'Moral Enhancement'. Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (1):23-32.
    In ‘Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and the God Machine’, Savulescu and Persson argue that recent scientific findings suggest that there is a realistic prospect of achieving ‘moral enhancement’ and respond to Harris's criticism that this would threaten individual freedom and autonomy. I argue that although some pharmaceutical and neuro-scientific interventions may influence behaviour and emotions in ways that we may be inclined to evaluate positively, describing this as ‘moral enhancement’ presupposes a particular, contested account, of what it is to act morally (...)
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  8. Robert Sparrow (2014). Egalitarianism and Moral Bioenhancement. American Journal of Bioethics 14 (4):20-28.
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  9. Robert Sparrow (2014). Ethics, Eugenics, and Politics. In Akira Akabayashi (ed.), The Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. Oup Oxford. 139--53.
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  10. Robert Sparrow (2014). Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement, by Persson, Ingmar, and Julian Savulescu. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):404-407.
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  11. Jürgen Altmann, Peter Asaro, Noel Sharkey & Robert Sparrow (2013). Armed Military Robots: Editorial. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):73-76.
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  12. Julian Savulescu & Robert Sparrow (2013). Making Better Babies: Pro and Con-Presented by the Monash University Centre for Human Bioethics, Tuesday 2 October, 6.00-7.30 Pm. [REVIEW] Monash Bioethics Review 31 (1):36-59.
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  13. R. J. Sparrow (2013). The Perils of Post-Persons. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (2):80-81.
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  14. Robert Sparrow (2013). Gender Eugenics? The Ethics of PGD for Intersex Conditions. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (10):29 - 38.
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  15. Robert Sparrow (2013). Queerin' the PGD Clinic. Journal of Medical Humanities 34 (2):177-196.
    Disability activists influenced by queer theory and advocates of “human enhancement” have each disputed the idea that what is “normal” is normatively significant, which currently plays a key role in the regulation of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Previously, I have argued that the only way to avoid the implication that parents have strong reasons to select children of one sex (most plausibly, female) over the other is to affirm the moral significance of sexually dimorphic human biological norms. After outlining the (...)
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  16. Robert Sparrow (2013). Sexism and Human Enhancement. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (12):732-735.
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  17. R. Sparrow (2012). Fear of a Female Planet: How John Harris Came to Endorse Eugenic Social Engineering. Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (1):4-7.
    In this paper, I respond to criticisms by John Harris, contained in a commentary on my article “Harris, harmed states, and sexed bodies”, which appeared in the Journal of Medical Ethics, volume 37, number 5. I argue that Harris's response to my criticisms exposes the strong eugenic tendencies in his own thought, when he suggests that the reproductive obligations of parents should be determined with reference to a claim about what would enhance ‘society’ or ‘the species’.
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  18. Rob Sparrow (2012). Human Enhancement and Sexual Dimorphism. Bioethics 26 (9):464-475.
    I argue that the existence of sexual dimorphism poses a profound challenge to those philosophers who wish to deny the moral significance of the idea of ‘normal human capacities’ in debates about the ethics of human enhancement. The biological sex of a child will make a much greater difference to their life prospects than many of the genetic variations that the philosophical and bioethical literature has previously been concerned with. It seems, then, that bioethicists should have something to say about (...)
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  19. Robert Sparrow (2012). A Child's Right to a Decent Future?: Regulating Human Genetic Enhancement in Multicultural Societies. Asian Bioethics Review 4 (4):355-373.
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  20. Robert Sparrow (2012). Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement – By A. Buchanan. [REVIEW] Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (2):160-162.
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  21. Robert Sparrow (2012). The Dead Donor Rule and Means-End Reasoning. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (01):141-146.
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  22. Robert Sparrow (2011). Liberalism and Eugenics. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3):499 - 517.
    ‘Liberal eugenics’ has emerged as the most popular position amongst philosophers writing in the contemporary debate about the ethics of human enhancement. This position has been most clearly articulated by Nicholas Agar, who argues that the ‘new’ liberal eugenics can avoid the repugnant consequences associated with eugenics in the past. Agar suggests that parents should be free to make only those interventions into the genetics of their children that will benefit them no matter what way of life they grow up (...)
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  23. Robert Sparrow (2011). A Not‐So‐New Eugenics. Hastings Center Report 41 (1):32-42.
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  24. Robert Sparrow (2011). Harris, Harmed States, and Sexed Bodies. Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (5):276-279.
    This paper criticises John Harris's attempts to defend an account of a ‘harmed condition’ that can stand independently of intuitions about what is ‘normal’. I argue that because Homo sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species, determining whether a particular individual is in a harmed condition or not will sometimes require making reference to the normal capacities of their sex. Consequently, Harris's account is unable to play the role he intends for it in debates about the ethics of human enhancement.
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  25. Robert Sparrow (2010). A Not-so-New Eugenics: Harris and Savulescu on Human Enhancement. Asian Bioethics Review 2 (4):288-307.
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  26. Robert Sparrow (2010). Better Than Men?: Sex and the Therapy/Enhancement Distinction. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 20 (2):pp. 115-144.
    The normative significance of the distinction between therapy and enhancement has come under sustained philosophical attack in recent discussions of the ethics of shaping future persons by means of preimplantation genetic diagnosis and other advanced genetic technologies. In this paper, I argue that giving up the idea that the answer to the question as to whether a condition is “normal” should play a crucial role in assessing the ethics of genetic interventions has unrecognized and strongly counterintuitive implications when it comes (...)
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  27. Robert Sparrow (2010). Orphaned at Conception: The Uncanny Offspring of Embryos. Bioethics 26 (4):173-181.
    A number of advances in assisted reproduction have been greeted by the accusation that they would produce children ‘without parents’. In this paper I will argue that while to date these accusations have been false, there is a limited but important sense in which they would be true of children born of a reproductive technology that is now on the horizon. If our genetic parents are those individuals from whom we have inherited 50% of our genes, then, unlike in any (...)
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  28. Robert Sparrow (2010). Should Human Beings Have Sex? Sexual Dimorphism and Human Enhancement. American Journal of Bioethics 10 (7):3-12.
    Since the first sex reassignment operations were performed, individual sex has come to be, to some extent at least, a technological artifact. The existence of sperm sorting technology, and of prenatal determination of fetal sex via ultrasound along with the option of termination, means that we now have the power to choose the sex of our children. An influential contemporary line of thought about medical ethics suggests that we should use technology to serve the welfare of individuals and to remove (...)
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  29. Robert Sparrow (2010). Why Bioethicists Still Need to Think More About Sex …. American Journal of Bioethics 10 (7):W1-W3.
  30. Robert Sparrow & Dale Gardiner (2010). Not Dead Yet: Controlled Non-Heart-Beating Organ Donation, Consent, and the Dead Donor Rule. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (1):17-26.
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  31. Dale Gardiner & Robert Sparrow (2009). Not Dead Yet: Controlled Non-Heart-Beating Organ Donation, Consent, and the Dead Donor Rule. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (01):17-.
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  32. Robert Sparrow (2009). Predators or Ploughshares? Arms Control of Robotic Weapons. IEEE Technology and Society 28 (1):25-29.
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  33. Robert Sparrow (2009). Building a Better Warbot: Ethical Issues in the Design of Unmanned Systems for Military Applications. Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (2):169-187.
    Unmanned systems in military applications will often play a role in determining the success or failure of combat missions and thus in determining who lives and dies in times of war. Designers of UMS must therefore consider ethical, as well as operational, requirements and limits when developing UMS. I group the ethical issues involved in UMS design under two broad headings, Building Safe Systems and Designing for the Law of Armed Conflict, and identify and discuss a number of issues under (...)
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  34. Robert Sparrow (2009). The Social Impacts of Nanotechnology: An Ethical and Political Analysis. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (1):13-23.
    This paper attempts some predictions about the social consequences of nanotechnology and the ethical issues they raise. I set out four features of nanotechnology that are likely to be important in determining its impact and argue that nanotechnology will have significant social impacts in—at least—the areas of health and medicine, the balance of power between citizens and governments, and the balance of power between citizens and corporations. More importantly, responding to the challenge of nanotechnology will require confronting “philosophical” questions about (...)
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  35. Robert Sparrow (2009). Xenotransplantation, Consent and International Justice. Developing World Bioethics 9 (3):119-127.
    The risk posed to the community by possible xenozoonosis after xenotransplantation suggests that some form of 'community consent' is required before whole organ animal-to-human xenotransplantation should take place. I argue that this requirement places greater obstacles in the path of ethical xenotransplantation than has previously been recognised. The relevant community is global and there are no existing institutions with democratic credentials sufficient to establish this consent. The distribution of the risks and benefits from xenotransplantation also means that consent is unlikely (...)
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  36. Robert Sparrow (2009). Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Liberty. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33 (2):1-17.
    Concern for “reproductive liberty” suggests that decisions about embryos should normally be made by the persons who would be the genetic parents of the child that would be brought into existence if the embryo were brought to term. Therapeutic cloning would involve creating and destroying an embryo, which, if brought to term, would be the offspring of the genetic parents of the person undergoing therapy. I argue that central arguments in debates about parenthood and genetics therefore suggest that therapeutic cloning (...)
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  37. A. Wendy Russell & Robert Sparrow (2008). The Case for Regulating Intragenic Gmos. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21 (2):153-181.
    This paper discusses the ethical and regulatory issues raised by “intragenics” – organisms that have been genetically modified using gene technologies, but that do not contain DNA from another species. Considering the rapid development of knowledge about gene regulation and genomics, we anticipate rapid advances in intragenic methods. Of regulatory systems developed to govern genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, the Australian system stands out in explicitly excluding intragenics from regulation. European systems are also (...)
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  38. Robert Sparrow, Genes, Identity, and the Expressivist Critique.
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  39. Robert Sparrow (2008). Is It “Every Man's Right to Have Babies If He Wants Them”?: Male Pregnancy and the Limits of Reproductive Liberty. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (3):pp. 275-299.
    Since the 1980s, a number of medical researchers have suggested that in the future it might be possible for men to become pregnant. Given the role played by the right to reproductive liberty in other debates about reproductive technologies, it will be extremely difficult to deny that this right extends to include male pregnancy. However, this constitutes a reductio ad absurdum of the idea of reproductive liberty. One therefore would be well advised to look again at the extent of this (...)
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  40. Robert Sparrow (2008). Talkin' 'Bout a (Nanotechnological) Revolution. IEEE Technology and Society 27 (2):37-43.
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  41. Rob Sparrow (2007). Barbarians at the Gates. In Igor Primoratz (ed.), Politics and Morality. Palgrave Macmillan.
     
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  42. Robert Sparrow (2007). Procreative Beneficence, Obligation, and Eugenics. Genomics, Society and Policy 3 (3):43-59.
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  43. Robert Sparrow (2007). Killer Robots. Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):62–77.
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  44. Robert Sparrow (2007). Revolutionary and Familiar, Inevitable and Precarious: Rhetorical Contradictions in Enthusiasm for Nanotechnology. [REVIEW] NanoEthics 1 (1):57-68.
    This paper analyses rhetorics of scientific and corporate enthusiasm surrounding nanotechnology. I argue that enthusiasts for nanotechnologies often try to have it both ways on questions concerning the nature and possible impact of these technologies, and the inevitability of their development and use. In arguments about their nature and impact we are simultaneously informed that these are revolutionary technologies with the potential to profoundly change the world and that they merely represent the extension of existing technologies. They are revolutionary and (...)
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  45. Robert Sparrow (2006). Right of the Living Dead? Consent to Experimental Surgery in the Event of Cortical Death. Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (10):601-605.
    Ravelingien et al have suggested that early human xenotransplantation trials should be carried out on patients who are in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) and who have previously granted their consent to the use of their bodies in such research in the event of their cortical death. Unfortunately, their philosophical defence of this suggestion is unsatisfactory in its current formulation, as it equivocates on the key question of the status of patients who are in a PVS. The solution proposed by (...)
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  46. Robert Sparrow (2006). Cloning, Parenthood, and Genetic Relatedness. Bioethics 20 (6):308–318.
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  47. Robert Sparrow (2006). 'Trust Us... We're Doctors': Science, Media, and Ethics in the Hwang Stem Cell Controversy. Journal of Communication Research 43 (1):5-24.
  48. Robert Sparrow & Linda Sparrow (2006). In the Hands of Machines? The Future of Aged Care. Minds and Machines 16 (2):141-161.
    It is remarkable how much robotics research is promoted by appealing to the idea that the only way to deal with a looming demographic crisis is to develop robots to look after older persons. This paper surveys and assesses the claims made on behalf of robots in relation to their capacity to meet the needs of older persons. We consider each of the roles that has been suggested for robots in aged care and attempt to evaluate how successful robots might (...)
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  49. Robert Sparrow (2005). Defending Deaf Culture: The Case of Cochlear Implants. Journal of Political Philosophy 13 (2):135–152.
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