Department of Philosophy



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Michael Luoma

Students Heather Poechman and Michael Luoma gave thought provoking presentations at the Public Issues and Public Reason conference held November9th and 10th at Carleton University. The Public Issues and Public Reason conference is a multidisciplinary graduate student conference, where graduate students from a variety of disciplines presented their work on current social and global challenges through the lenses of political theory, applied ethics, and critical social sciences. Dr. Charles Mills (CUNY) gave a keynote address entitled “Racial Justice”, and provided valuable feedback to presenters throughout the two-day conference.

Heather's presentation, entitled “Paid Volunteers: An Examination of Bioethical Harms in Clinical Trial Participation”, raised a number of important points about the complex motivations behind the participants’ desires to participate in clinical trials and the vulnerability to bioethical harms that participants are exposed to as a result of their participation. Ultimately, Heather argued we ought to reframe clinical trial participation as work through her analysis of the benefits and burdens of viewing participants as employees rather than strictly as volunteers.

Michael's presentation, “Exploring Public Order, National Identity, and National Public Culture in the Ethics of Immigration”,  began by outlining the duties that liberal democratic states have towards prospective immigrants, paying special attention to their duties to economic and social immigrants. He argued that prospective immigrants’ interests in social and economic opportunity, alongside their shared interests with naturalized citizens in maintaining the national public culture of the receiving state, require liberal democratic states to make a reasonable effort at integrating prospective members into the national public culture. Ultimately, Michael argued the duty to integrate places natural limitations on the rate at which receiving nations can incorporate new members into the natural public culture without collapsing the public order.