Sean Valles

Sean Valles
Michigan State University | MSU · Department of Philosophy

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22
Publications
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147
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Publications

Publications (22)
Article
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Lyman Briggs College is a small residential college within Michigan State University, devoted to preparing students for STEM careers via preparation in the biophysical sciences that is paired with the humanistic and social scientific study of science and sciences humanistic and social dimensions. This paper reports and interprets the quantitative o...
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Philosophy of epidemiology has recently emerged as a distinct branch of philosophy. The field will surely benefit from pluralism, reflected in the broad range of topics and perspectives in this special issue. Here, I argue that a healthy pluralistic field of philosophy of epidemiology has social responsibilities that require the field as a whole (n...
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This paper presents a new model for how to jointly analyze the ethical and evidentiary dimensions of environmental science cases, with an eye toward making science more participatory and publically accountable. To do so, it adapts and expands the existing model of ‘coupled ethical-epistemic analysis,’ developed by Tuana and extended by Katikireddi...
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This article is an introduction to the Synthese Special Issue, Philosophy of Epidemiology. The overall goals of the issue are to revisit the state of philosophy of epidemiology and to provide a forum for new voices, approaches, and perspectives in the philosophy of epidemiology literature. The introduction begins by drawing on Geoffrey Rose’s work...
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Professionals in environmental fields engage with complex problems that involve stakeholders with different values, different forms of knowledge, and contentious decisions. There is increasing recognition of the need to train graduate students in interdisciplinary environmental science programs (IESPs) in these issues, which we refer to as "social...
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According to public health data, the US Hispanic population is far healthier than would be expected for a population with low socioeconomic status. Ever since Kyriakos Markides and Jeannine Coreil highlighted this in a seminal 1986 article, public health researchers have sought to explain the so-called "Hispanic paradox." Several candidate explanat...
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This commentary examines the concepts “recklessness, negligence and indifference” in James Dwyer’s short story, “The Gaia Commission: Climate Change and Moral Responsibility.”
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Continuing historical narratives of the early twentieth century nexus of conservationism, eugenics, and nativism (exemplified by Madison Grant), this paper traces the history of the contemporary US anti-immigration movement's roots in environmentalism and global population control activism, through an exploration of the thoughts and activities of t...
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The categorization of variables can stigmatize populations, which is ethically problematic and threatens the central purpose of public health: to improve population health and reduce health inequities. How social variables (e.g., behavioral risks for HIV) are categorized can reinforce stigma and cause unintended harms to the populations practitione...
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Cheryl Cox MacPherson recently argued, in an article for this journal, that ‘Climate Change is a Bioethics Problem’. This article elaborates on that position, particularly highlighting bioethicists' potential ability to help reframe the current climate change discourse to give more attention to its health risks. This reframing process is especially...
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“Trait” is a ubiquitous term in biology, but its precise meaning and theoretical foundations remain opaque. After distinguishing between “trait” and “character,” I argue for the value of adopting Theodosius Dobzhansky’s 1956 definition and framework for understanding “trait,” which holds that traits are just “semantic devices” that artificially imp...
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Targeting high-risk populations for public health interventions is a classic tool of public health promotion programs. This practice becomes thornier when racial groups are identified as the at-risk populations. I present the particular ethical and epistemic challenges that arise when there are low-risk subpopulations within racial groups that have...
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Lionel Penrose (1898-1972) was an important leader during the mid-20th century decline of eugenics and the development of modern medical genetics. However, historians have paid little attention to his radical theoretical challenges to mainline eugenic concepts of mental disease. Working from a classification system developed with his colleague, E....
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Direct-to-consumer personalized genomic medicine has recently grown into a small industry that sells mail-order DNA sample kits and then provides disease risk assessments, typically based upon results from genome-trait association studies. The companies selling these services have been largely exempted from FDA regulation in the United States. Test...
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Two decades ago, the eminent evolutionary biologist George C. Williams and his physician coauthor, Randolph Nesse, formulated the evolutionary medicine research program. Williams and Nesse explicitly made adaptationism a core component of the new program, which has served to undermine the program ever since, distorting its practitioners’ perception...
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Common monogenic genetic diseases, ones that have unexpectedly high frequencies in certain populations, have attracted a great number of conflicting evolutionary explanations. This paper will attempt to explain the mystery of why two particularly extensively studied common genetic diseases, Tay Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis, remain evolutionary...

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