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Melinda Roberts

Melinda RobertsMelinda Roberts, Professor and Chair

B.A. Vassar College; Ph.D. Five College Ph.D. Program, Amherst Massachusetts; J.D. University of Texas

Some areas of special interest:  Population ethics; law and ethics; obligations toward future persons.

Teaches (besides the basic and core courses): Philosophy of Law; Law and Ethics; and Metalogic.


Recent articles:  “Dividing and Conquering the Nonidentity Problem,” with David Wasserman, in Current Controversies in Bioethics, eds. Matthew Liao and Collin O’Neil (Routledge forthcoming); “The Nonidentity Problem,” International Encyclopedia of Ethics (forthcoming); “Population Ethics,”  International Encyclopedia of Ethics (forthcoming); “Population Axiology,” Oxford Handbook of Value Theory, eds. Iwao Hirose and Jonas Olson (Oxford University Press) (2015), pp. 299-423; Temkin’s Essentially Comparative View, Wrongful Life and the Mere Addition Paradox,” Analysis 74 (2) (2014), pp. 306-326; “Can Procreation Impose Morally Significant Harms or Benefits on the Child?  And So What If It Can?”  Philosophy and Medicine Newsletter (April 2014); “The Nonidentity Problem,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (substantial revision 2013). “An Asymmetry in the Ethics of Procreation,”  Philosophy Compass (2011); “Harming in the Multiple Agent Context,” Ethical Perspectives (2011); “The Asymmetry:  A Solution,” Theoria (2011); “The Nonidentity Problem,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009); “What Is the Wrong of Wrongful Disability?  From Chance to Choice to Harm to Persons,” Law and Philosophy (2009); “The Nonidentity Problem and the Two-Envelope Problem: When is One Act Better for a Person than Another?”  in Harming Future Persons (Springer 2009); Review of Tim Mulgan’s Future People:  A Moderate Consequentialist Account (Mind, 2007); “Supernumerary Pregnancy, the Problem of Collective Harm and the Nonidentity Problem,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2007); “The Nonidentity Fallacy: Harm, Probability, and Another Look at Parfit’s Depletion Example,” Utilitas (2007); “Person-Based Consequentialism and the Procreation Obligation,” The Repugnant Conclusion: Essays on Population Ethics (ed. J. Ryberg and T. Tännsjö)(2005); “Supernumerary Pregnancy and the Limits of the Constitutional Privacy Guaranty,” Journal of Philosophical Research (2005); “Can it Ever Have Been Better Never to Have Existed At All? Person-Based Consequentialism and a New Repugnant Conclusion,” Journal of Applied Philosophy (2003); “Is the Person-Affecting Intuition Paradoxical?” Theory and Decision (2003); “A New Way of Doing the Best We Can: Person-Based Consequentialism and the Equality Problem,” Ethics (2002); “Cloning and Harming: Children, Future Persons and the ‘Best Interest’ Test”, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy (1999); “Human Cloning: A Case of No Harm Done?”Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (1996); “Parent and Child in Conflict: Between Liberty and Responsibility”, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy (1996); “Present Duties and Future Persons: When Are Existence-Inducing Acts Wrong?” Law and Philosophy (1995).

Books: Harming Future Persons:  Ethics, Genetics and the Nonidentity Problem, eds. M. Roberts and D. Wasserman (Springer, 2009); Abortion and the Moral Significance of Merely Possible Persons: Finding Middle Ground in “Hard Cases” (Springer, forthcoming 2009); Child Versus Childmaker:  Future Persons and Present Duties in Ethics and the Law (Rowan and Littlefield 1998).

Also at TCNJ:  Human Subjects Review Board; Pre-Law Advisory Committee; Executive Committee, Women’s and Gender Studies; has advised Philosophical Society.

Other:  Practiced corporate and securities law at Wall Street firm for six and a half years.

Currently working on:  Consequentialism, abortion, and the structure of normative theory.