Curriculum Vitae

AMITABHA PALMER

Department of Philosophy                            amitap[at]bgsu.edu philosophami[at]gmail.com
Bowling Green State University                                                 wrestling-with-philosophy.com
Bowling Green, OH 43402                                                            reasoningforthedigitalage.com

AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION: Political Philosophy, Medical Ethics, Ethics, Social Epistemology

AREAS OF COMPETENCE: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL), Applied Epistemology, Philosophy of Science, Critical Thinking

EDUCATION:
Ph. D. in Applied Philosophy                                                              Scheduled Oct. 30 2020
Bowling Green State University (BGSU)

Dissertation: Scientific Facts in the Space of Public Reason: Moderate Idealization, Public Justification, and Vaccine Policy Under Conditions of Widespread Misinformation and Conspiracism 

Committee: Kevin Vallier (Chair), Molly Gardner, Christian Coons

How does widespread conspiracism and science denialism affect democratic policy making? Public reason views of democracy aim to reconcile diversity and disagreement through the Principle of Public Justification (PPJ) whereby a policy is justified if and only if each member of the public has sufficient reason to endorse that policy (Vallier 2018). The PPJ, however, generates a new problem when we insist on science-based policy but significant portions of a population hold deeply entrenched denialist and conspiracist views. The committed denialist or conspiracist can claim reasons to reject science-based policy. In my dissertation, I focus exclusively on empirical disagreement and ask whether public reason can reconcile the PPJ with science-based policy under conditions of widespread and deeply entrenched conspiracism and science denialism. In parts I and II argue that Vallier’s and Gaus’s pubic reason views can justify scientifically unsound policy that is contrary to a consensus of relevant experts. However, modified versions of their accounts can thread the needle between the PPJ and granting special justificatory status to (empirical) scientific facts. In Part III, I apply my modified version of the PPJ to vaccine policy. I conclude that closing non-medical exemptions is publicly justified when immunization rates fall below what is required for herd immunity. Under these conditions, the state’s duty to protect children’s health and welfare ought to be the primary consideration guiding the justification for state coercion or its absence—not the sincerity of parents’ improbable empirical beliefs.  

M.A. in Applied Philosophy 2016
BGSU

M.A. in Philosophy 2012
University of Houston

B.A. in International Relations and Philosophy 1999
University of British Columbia, Canada

MEDICAL ETHICS AND POLICY INTERNSHIPS:
Center for Ethics and Human Rights at American Nursing Association Summer and Fall 2019

Projects Undertaken:
ANA Policy Position on Robotics, AI, and Nursing Ethics
ANA Policy Position on Data and Privacy
Supervisor: Liz Stokes

Center for Biomedical Ethics at MetroHealth Medical Center (Cleveland) 2015, 2016
Clinical ethics internship
Supervisor: Monica L. Gerrek

PUBLICATIONS:
“Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nursing: Ethics of Caring as a Guide to Dividing Tasks Between AI and Humans” July, 2020 in Nursing Philosophy (Coauthored with Felicia Stokes) Link

“The Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nursing Practice”  Forthcoming
American Journal of Nursing. (Coauthored with Felicia Stokes)

WORKS UNDER REVIEW:
“Democratic Policy-Making in a Fact-Free World: Scientific Facts in the Space of Public Reasons” (under review)

“How to Get Angry Online…Properly: How to Create Online Deliberative Systems to Harness Anger’s Goods without its Harms.” (under review)

“A Perfect Vaccine is an Imperfect Solution to COVID-19: Addressing the Parallel Pandemic of Vaccine Skepticism.” (under review)

“Public Reason, Empirical Disagreement, and the Problem of Experts in Gaus.” (under review)

AWARDS:
BGSU Phil Dept. Teaching Excellence Award for Independent Teaching                          2017
BGSU Phil Dept. Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants                               2016

ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS:

  • “Beneficent Dehumanization: Using AI/Carebots to Mitigate Shame-Induced Barriers to Medical Care” (With David Schawn)
    Western Michigan Medical Humanities Conference Forthcoming 2020
  • “Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Skepticism with Social Epistemology”
    Western Michigan Medical Humanities Conference Forthcoming 2020
  • “Improving Student Learning While Grading Less”
    American Association of Philosophy Teachers Workshop 2020*
  • “Argument Judo: Can the Principles of Judo Be Applied to Civil Discourse”
    APA Pacific Special Session on Philosophy of Martial Arts  2020*
  • “Teaching Strategies for Addressing Science Denialism under Conditions of High Social and Political Polarization”
    APA Pacific Teaching Hub  2020*
  • “How to Get Angry Online…Properly: Design Principles for Online Deliberative Systems that Harness Political Anger’s Power without its Costs”
    Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress  2019
    Northwest Philosophy Conference 2019
    Seton Hall University (Invited speaker for World Philosophy Day 2019)
  • “Democratic Policy-Making in a Fact-Free Word: Scientific Facts in the Space of Public Reason”
    Long Island Philosophy Conference  2019
  • “Ancient Problem, Ancient Solution: Stoic Identity Concepts in the Face of Identity Politics and Crumbling Norms of Civil Discourse”
    MidSouth Philosophy Conference  2019
  • “What Would Epictetus Do? The Stoics on Civil Discourse in an Uncivil World”
    BGSU Graduate Conference on Applied Ethics  2018
  • “Public Reason and Moderate Idealization in the Face of Widespread Conspiracism and Science Denialism”
    BGSU Graduate Colloquium  2017
  • “The Case for Justice Pluralism: Victim Impact Statements and Restorative Justice in a Retributivist World”
    UNLV Philosophy Department Colloquium  2013

*Paper was accepted but conference was canceled due to coronavirus pandemic.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
PPEL Research Fellowship                                                                          Fall 2019-Spring 2020

Instructor
BGSU
Philosophy of Law
Medical Ethics—Classroom
Medical Ethics—Online (2x)
American Political Thought
Intro to Ethics
Intro to Logic and Critical Thinking (2x)
Created the online textbook/website for the course: reasoningforthedigitalage.com

University of Nevada Las Vegas
Intro to Philosophy (6x) Critical Thinking (4x)

Teaching Assistant
BGSU
Logic (2x) (Sparks, Herman)
Intro to Ethics (Young)
Intro to Philosophy (Katzner)

University of Houston
Logic (3x) (Haaga)
Philosophy of Mind (Weisberg)

Teaching Service/Presentations

  • “Teaching Strategies for Addressing Science Denialism under Conditions of High Social and Political Polarization” APA Pacific Teaching Hub 2020 (forthcoming)
  • “Roundtable on Teaching” (Panelist) Shanklin Awards Workshops at BGSU 2018
  • Created/Maintain reasoningforthedigitalage.com open access critical thinking course
  • Created/Maintain The Propaganda Playbook a compilation of case studies, examples, and explanations of anti-science propaganda for instructors and students.
  • Created instructor online companion lesson plans and student resources, glossary for  Tamler Sommers. Very Bad Wizards, 2016. 2nd Edition. Routledge

COURSEWORK:
Political Philosophy/PPE
Public Reason: Kevin Vallier
PPE: Kevin Vallier
Justice and Desert: Michael Weber
History of Poli Phil: Albert Dzur
Hist of Political Economy (audit): Kevin Vallier
Democracy in Trouble (audit): Albert Dzur
Hobbes and Locke (audit): Kevin Vallier

Ethics
Contemporary Ethics: Christian Coons
Ethics and Metaphysics: Molly Gardner
Ethics and Emotion: Michael Weber
Plato/Aristotle: Michael Wiitala
British Intuitionism: David Philips, UH
MetaEthics: David Philips, UH
Kant: William Nelson, UH
Existentialism: Don Callen

Philosophy of Law
Philosophy of Law: William Nelson, UH
Retribution & Punishment: T. Sommers, UH

Philosophy of Science
Phil of Science: Josh Brown, UH
Phil of Special Sci: Cameron Buckner, UH
Phil of Biology and Cultural Evolution: Micheal Brady
Phil of Biology and Ecology: Michael Brady/Justin Donhauser

Epistemology
Moral Epistemology: Christian Coons
Epistemology (audit): Michael Bradie
History of Modern M&E: Greg Brown, UH
Carnap & Quine: Richard Creath, ASU
Phil of Perception: Steven Reynolds, ASU
Phil of Representation: Bernard Kobes, ASU

Metaphysics & Logic
Metaphysics: Sara Worley
Social Ontology: Theodore Bach
Logic: Josh Brown, UH

PUBLIC PHILOSOPHY:
“Ask A Philosopher” booth for World Philosophy Day  2019

Creator of propagandaplaybook.wordpress.com a guide to understanding
anti-science propaganda through case studies (under construction)   2019

“Thriving and Surviving in Grad School”   2019
APA Blog

“The Philosophy of Jigoro Kano”    2018, 2019
Presentations for Multicultural Studies Program at BGSU (X2)

“The Conservative Case for Single-Payer Healthcare”   2018
Guest speaker for Campus Republicans

“How to Thrive not just Survive: Stoic Advice for End of Semester”  2016, 2017, 2018
BGSU Philosophy Club

Creator of Wrestling With Philosophy 2009-present

Creator of reasoningforthedigitalage.com Free online critical thinking textbook and course    2016-present

Contributor at ModernStoicism.com

SERVICE:
Department Events Coordinator  2018-present
Session Chair APA Central  2017
Graduate Representative on Faculty Committee  2017
Session Chair BGSU Graduate Philosophy Conference in Applied Ethics  2016
BGSU Graduate Student Senate  2016-2018
Selection Committee Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference  2015
Session Chair BGSU Graduate Philosophy Conference in Applied Ethics  2015
Commentator BGSU Graduate Philosophy Conference in Applied Ethics  2014-2018
Head Coach for BGSU Judo and Grappling Club  2014-present

LANGUAGE SKILLS:
Fluent and literate in French and Spanish. Conversational in Japanese.

REFERENCES:
Prof. Kevin Vallier (BGSU): kvallie[at]bgsu.edu
Prof. Molly Gardner (BGSU): mollyg[at]bgsu.edu
Prof. Christian Coons (BGSU): cloons[at]bgsu.edu
Liz Stokes (ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights): lizstokes[at]ana.org