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Ben Schwan
Case Western Reserve University
  1. Responsibility Amid the Social Determinants of Health.Ben Schwan - 2021 - Bioethics 35 (1):6-14.
    It is natural to think that there is a tight connection between whether someone is responsible for some outcome and whether it is appropriate to hold her accountable for that outcome. And this natural thought naturally extends to health: if someone is responsible for her health, then, all else being equal, she is accountable for it. Given this, some have thought that responsibility for health has an important role to play in distributing the benefits and burdens of healthcare. But there (...)
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    A Causal Understanding of When and When Not to Jeffrey Conditionalize.Ben Schwan & Reuben Stern - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    There are cases of ineffable learning — i. e., cases where an agent learns something, but becomes certain of nothing that she can express — where it is rational to update by Jeffrey conditionalization. But there are likewise cases of ineffable learning where updating by Jeffrey conditionalization is irrational. In this paper, we first characterize a novel class of cases where it is irrational to update by Jeffrey conditionalization. Then we use the d-separation criterion to develop a causal understanding of (...)
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  3.  15
    Egalitarian Machine Learning.Clinton Castro, David O’Brien & Ben Schwan - forthcoming - Res Publica:1-28.
    Prediction-based decisions, which are often made by utilizing the tools of machine learning, influence nearly all facets of modern life. Ethical concerns about this widespread practice have given rise to the field of fair machine learning and a number of fairness measures, mathematically precise definitions of fairness that purport to determine whether a given prediction-based decision system is fair. Following Reuben Binns (2017), we take ‘fairness’ in this context to be a placeholder for a variety of normative egalitarian considerations. We (...)
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  4. What Ability Can Do.Ben Schwan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):703-723.
    One natural way to argue for the existence of some subjective constraint on agents’ obligations is to maintain that without that particular constraint, agents will sometimes be obligated to do that which they lack the ability to do. In this paper, I maintain that while such a strategy appears promising, it is fraught with pitfalls. Specifically, I argue that because the truth of an ability ascription depends on an (almost always implicit) characterization of the relevant possibility space, different metaethical accounts (...)
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  5. Why Decision-Making Capacity Matters.Ben Schwan - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    Decision-making Capacity (DMC) matters to whether a patient’s decision should determine her treatment. But why it matters in this way isn’t clear. The standard story is that DMC matters because autonomy matters. And this is thought to justify DMC as a gatekeeper for autonomy—whereby autonomy concerns arise if but only if a patient has DMC. But appeals to autonomy invoke two distinct concerns: concern for authenticity—concern that a choice is consistent with an individual’s commitments; and concern for sovereignty—concern that an (...)
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    Wrongfulness Rewarded?: A Normative Paradox.David O’Brien & Ben Schwan - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6897-6916.
    In this paper, we raise and discuss a puzzle about the relationships among goods, reasons, and deontic status. Suppose you have it within your power to give someone something they would enjoy. The following claims seem platitudinous: you can use this power to reward whatever kind of option you want, thereby making that option better and generating a reason for that person to perform it; this reason is then weighed alongside and against the other reasons at play; and altogether, the (...)
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    Sovereignty, Authenticity and the Patient Preference Predictor.Ben Schwan - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (5):311-312.
    The question of how to treat an incapacitated patient is vexed, both normatively and practically—normatively, because it is not obvious what the relevant objectives are; practically, because even once the relevant objectives are set, it is often difficult to determine which treatment option is best given those objectives. But despite these complications, here is one consideration that is clearly relevant: what a patient prefers. And so any device that could reliably identify a patient’s preferences would be a promising tool for (...)
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    Autonomy Concerns with Using Contracts to Enhance Patient Adherence.Camila Losada Strassle, Ben Schwan & Benjamin E. Berkman - 2022 - Bioethics 36 (6):666-672.
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  9. On the Relationship Between Competence and Welfare.Daniel Fogal & Ben Schwan - 2022 - American Journal of Bioethics 22 (10):73-75.
    Pickering, Newton-Howes, and Young argue for externalism about competence—the view that “welfare judgments are part of judgments about competence” and posit an “explanatory connection” betwe...
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