Workshop: Distributive Justice and Procreative Technologies

3rd-4th July 2018, University of Manchester. Funded by the Society for Applied Philosophy, organised with Liam Shields.

Places are free but limited. To register to attend, please email ‘’. Do let us know any dietary or access requirements.


3rd July

10.30 – 11.45      Adam Swift, “Justice, procreation and parenting: Mapping the terrain”

12 – 1.15     Judith Bell, “Competing demands and prioritising fairly”

1.15 – 2.15     Lunch

2.15 – 3.30      Emily McTernan & Liam Shields, “IVF and opportunities to parent in a non-ideal  world”

3.45 – 5     Daniela Cutas, “What fertility treatments treat and why it matters”

Dinner at East Z East @ 7pm

4th July

10.30 – 11.45       Anca Gheaus, “Ectogenesis”

12 – 1.15            Rebecca Brown, “Irresponsibly Infertile? Obesity, Efficiency, and Exclusion from  Treatment”

1.15 – 2.15          Lunch

2.15 – 3.30           Tim Fowler, “IVF funding and autonomy: The importance of adoption as an  alternative”


Workshop description:

According to the Fertility Network UK, to save money, thirteen areas of England have restricted or completely halted IVF treatment since the start of the year for women struggling to conceive, with a further eight consulting on taking similar steps. Yet whether and why fertility treatment should be state funded has received relatively limited philosophical attention. Discussion of provision of IVF has largely focused on the details, such as whether age or existing children ought to affect eligibility for treatment. Further, where the justification of state funding of IVF is discussed, that has largely been on the grounds that it meets a medical need.

This workshop seeks alternative approaches to addressing whether state funding of fertility treatment can be justified, outside of the framework of healthcare provision. Procreative technologies like IVF can improve opportunities to pursue an important life project, of raising a child, and help to address natural and social inequalities in opportunities to parent. Thus, we seek to connect the discussion of state funding for fertility treatment with ideas about distributive justice. State funding of fertility treatment affects the distribution of benefits and burdens in a society and our opportunities to parent are tightly connected to our opportunities to procreate which vary across persons and throughout their life span. For these reasons, we believe that a focus on distributive justice will prove fruitful for addressing normative issues around the application of procreative technology and public policy.

Bringing together speakers and participants from political philosophy and bioethics, the guiding questions of the workshop are first, what role, if any, can fertility treatment, such as IVF, play in ensuring a fair distribution of the opportunity to parent? Second, is talk of distribution of the opportunity to parent a promising route by which to justify provision of fertility treatment, or are justifications based on health needs or appeals to what makes for a flourishing or good life to be preferred?

The workshop will run from midday on the 3rd July, until 5pm on the 4th July. Details on location, dinner, and other arrangements will be circulated to those who register to attend.


Workshop: Social equality and public policy

University College London, 14th -15th January 2016

The fourth of four workshops on Social Equality. Sponsored by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Manchester, and the University of York. Convened with Martin O’Neill (York), Christian Schemmel (Manchester), and Fabian Schuppert (Queen’s University, Belfast)

Day One, 14th January

Session 1: Housing and gentrification   Panel:   Tom Slater (University of Edinburgh), Phil Glanville (Hackney councillor, housing),  Katy Wells (University of York)

Session 2: Gender and the economy      Panel:  Diane Perrons (Director, Gender Institute, LSE), Vanessa Gash (City), Sarah Cope (Camden Green Party)

Session 3: Public ownership    Panel:   Andrew Cumbers (University of Glasgow),  John Wilesmith (UCL), Karin Christensen (General Secretary, Cooperative Party, 2012- 2015),  Thomas Hanna (Democracy Collaborative)

Session 4: Race equality in the UK        Panel:   Meena Dhanda (University of Wolverhampton), Jeff Howard (UCL), Omar Khan (Director, Runnymede Trust)

Day Two, 15th January

Session 5: Social equality and the future of the left      Panel:   Andrew Fisher (Labour Party),  Nick Pearce (University of Bath, formerly Director, IPPR), Juliana Bidadanure ( Stanford University), Martin O’Neill (University of York)

Session 6: The future of work        Panel:   Ryan Shorthouse (Chief Executive, Bright Blue),   Tanja Buzek (ver.di (German trade union), European Economic  and Social Committee member),  Jane Gingrich (University of Oxford),  James Meadway (formerly chief economist of NEF),  Mathew Lawrence (IPPR)

Session 7: Health and social inequality         Panel:   Sridhar Venkatapuram (KCL), Mel Bartley (UCL),  James Wilson (UCL), Stephen John (University of Cambridge)