Artificial Intelligence in Medical Decision-Making
Can one use artificial intelligence for ethical decision-making in the clinic? In this project, our team of software engineers, a physician, and an ethicist developed the world’s first algorithm that can solve a wide range of ethical dilemmas occurring in medicine.
Are brain-dead bodies really dead? In this project, I investigated this question, drawing on evidence from anencephaly, high cervical spine transection, locked-in syndrome, bilateral vagotomy, and panhypopituitarism.
Can people survive in irreversible coma? Linking the debate about personal identity to medical case studies, I attempt to interpret real-life configurations of brain damage through the lens of philosophical concepts.
How to allocate scarce medical resources fairly in a pandemic? COVID-19 triage has been portrayed as a value conflict solely between utilitarian and egalitarian elements. Comparing prioritisation guidelines from different countries, I show that in fact all four classic theories of distributive justice are at work: utilitarianism, egalitarianism, libertarianism, and communitarianism.
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our university hospital prepared for the possible need to triage patients by conducting a simulation of the (re-)allocation of medical resources. The prospective single-center cohort study involved both a quantitative analysis of ICU patients and a qualitative content analysis of two focus groups with intensivists.
How to translate abstract theories of distributive justice into concrete material and procedural criteria for rationing intensive-care resources? We reconstruct the development and implementation of a rationing protocol at our university hospital.
Thought experiments are mental test scenarios that purport to deliver scientifically acceptable results in the absence of actual physical execution. But can they solve problems of personal identity? I investigate the methodological strengths and weaknesses of this method.
Based on Derek Parfit’s distinction between identity and what matters, I suggest a novel solution to Lucretius’ famous Symmetry Argument against fearing death. When the distinction is applied not diachronically (as Parfit uses it) but across possible worlds, the alleged symmetry can be broken.
Lockean views of personal identity maintain that we persist diachronically by virtue of being psychologically continuous with our former selves. Drawing on certain characteristics of the brain – specifically the role of the Ascending Reticular Activating System (ARAS) – I show why this variant of psychological accounts is incompatible with human neurophysiology.