PhD Students

Dr John Gruner

Main supervisor: Professor Justin Oakley
Thesis title: What a patient and doctor owe each other; the ethics of hope and trust in a fallibilist model of the doctor- patient relationship.

I am researching whether fallibilism might provide an ethical argument to support the use of Evidence Based Medicine in the doctor patient relationship. I explore what a carer and patient rightfully owe each other in a fallibilist model of the patient carer relationship. Utilising fallibilism I examine how hope and trust ought to be used in and “ideal deliberative” doctor patient relationship. I claim that carers ought to use hope and trust in special ways and patients ought to appreciate how what they hope for and trust in can impact others who care for them.


Courtney Hempton

Main supervisor: Professor Catherine Mills

Further information: https://courtneyhempton.com


Patrick McConville

Main supervisor: Professor Catherine Mills
Thesis title: Phenomenology and medical device.

Pat’s research uses continental philosophy and phenomenology, particularly the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, to consider how variations in embodiment affect lived experience. His dissertation focuses on how artificial hearts, mechanical circulatory supports and other devices might modify bodily self-understanding, intentionality and temporality. He also works on the philosophy of congenital illness and has previously written on patient autonomy and therapeutic misconception.

Further information: Pat McConville LinkedIn


Bree Ridgeway

Main supervisor: Professor Justin Oakley
Thesis title: The relationship between decision making capacity and euthanasia.

Defenses of euthanasia commonly focus on self-determination. This presupposes that for some, there is value in death; that euthanasia can be an act of respect. This position, however, gives little guidance when a person lacks capacity and has never formed or expressed their preferences. Absent capacity, do we ignore the value that we recognize exists for self-determiners? Or is any value in euthanasia so closely tied to self-determination that it ceases to exist when capacity fails? My thesis considers the relationship between capacity and euthanasia, and whether there are circumstances in which the second can be morally acceptable without the first.