• CSU
  • University of Melbourne

This research centre ceased operation on 31 December 2016. This website is archived. There will be no further updates to this site.


Economics and Innovation

The program focuses on central ethical issues arising in the economic sphere. These include the justice of national and global economic arrangements, such as taxation, fiscal, labour and property law, and financial and trading regimes. Specific areas include markets in education and the economics of climate change. The program also examines corporate responsibilities in the spheres of finance, profitability, sustainability and human rights, and distributive justice. It aims to make a major contribution to the ethical understanding of innovation and technology. Program members realize that technical, scientific, legal and social science expertise is vital, and work with practitioners in the relevant professions.


Research in this program examines a range of issues that arise from the nature and value of the natural, and also the artificial environment, and our relationship with them. These include issues of justice and responsibility in relation to possession of, access to, and exploitation of land, water, and other (renewable and non-renewable) natural resources, ethical issues in climate change mitigation and adaptation, including those involving geo-engineering, and the human role in the anthropocene. 


This program addresses issues in bioethics, healthcare ethics, and public health ethics. This includes conceptual work on the ethics of procreation, the ethics of providing medical treatment to vulnerable groups such as children, dual use issues in the biological sciences, and the distinction between medical treatment and human enhancement. It also includes work on practical ethical issues arising in healthcare, including moral and regulatory challenges of experimental therapies, difficulties facing medical research ethics committees, and the problem of determining when conscientious objections are legitimate in healthcare.


This program addresses a variety of conceptual and practical ethical issues that are generated for the most part by the phenomena of war, humanitarian intervention, terrorism, crime and corruption. These include the nature and application of Just War Theory, morality and self-defense, principles of criminal liability, justification for police use of force, ethics of counter-terrorism tactics, anti-corruption systems and ethical issues in cyber-security.


2015 Annual Report [.pdf]

CAPPE Events

Seminar 28th September

Norvo Lo - La Trobe University

This paper discusses social attitudes towards feeding neighbourhood wild birds. It connects different and often opposing attitudes on the issue to three schools of philosophy regarding animals and nature. These include animal liberation ethics, wilderness preservation ethics,and anthropocentrism. 

Contact CAPPE for more information.


Professor Seumas Miller

Institutional Corruption and The Capital Markets  More

Fixing the Fix - Benchmark Reform and the Future of Financial Regulation  More

Designing-in-Ethics: A Compulsary Retirement Savings System  More

Dr Stephen Clarke

On Religious Violence, ABC Western Plains 'Mornings', radio interview  More

Past media events

Moral Conservatism, Human Enhancement and the ‘Affective Revolution’ in Moral Psychology

An ARC Discovery Project, running from March 2013 to February 2016.




Summary of proposal

We can enhance human mental and physical abilities above normal limits in various ways and will be able to do so in many more ways in the future. Debates between moral conservatives and liberals, about whether it is ethically acceptable to enhance ourselves, have seemed intractable with each side relying on radically distinct methods to support their views. We will draw on the intellectual resources of moral psychology, which has experienced an 'affective revolution' in the past decade, to resolve these apparently intractable debates.
We will then recommend policy compromises between moral conservatives and their liberal opponents in bioethics to inform regulation of enhancement technologies that can win broad acceptance while being just.


Chief Investigator Dr Steve Clarke, Charles Sturt University More

Chief Investigator Prof Tony Coady, University of Melbourne More

Partner Investigator Prof Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford More

Project Researcher Dr Alberto Giubilini, Charles Sturt University More

Project Researcher Dr Sagar Sanyal, University of Melbourne More


Project News

Human Enhancement: Destiny or Disaster?

Synopsis: The prospect of enhancing human mental and physical abilities above normal limits has been enthusiastically embraced by several leading bioethicists and philosophers. However, many people are alarmed by the thought of humans being able to enhance themselves, fearing that this ability may be misused. During the conference leading philosophers and bioethicists came together to discuss whether or not human enhancement is the destiny we should embrace or a potential disaster we should avoid.

The complete playlist is now live:



The researchers on the project will be co-editing a collection of papers relevant to the project which is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press in late 2016:
Clarke, S., Savulescu, J., Coady, C. A. J., Giubilini, A. and Sanyal, S. (eds.) (forthcoming). The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Journal articles:

Giubilini, A. and Clarke, S. (2015). ‘Stop Wishing. Start Doing! Motivational Enhancement is Already in Use’, AJOB Neuroscience, 6 (1), pp. 29-31.

Jefferson, W., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J. (2014). 'Enhancement and Civic Virtue'. Social Theory and Practice 40(3):499-527

Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg, Guy Kahane, Julian Savulescu (2014). 'When is diminishment a form of enhancement? Rethinking the enhancement debate in biomedical ethics'. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience Vol. 8, Article 12, 1-8.

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Levy, N., Cohen-Kadosh, R. Savulescu, J, (2014). 'The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: Extending the medical model', Journal of Law and the Biosciences 1(1): 68-93.

Giubilini, A. (forthcoming). Don’t mind the gap. Intuitions, emotions and reasons in the enhancement debate, Hastings Center Report, forthcoming (accepted 21 Nov 2014)

Giubilini A. and Sanyal S. (forthcoming). The ethics of human enhancement. Philosophy Compass. Forthcoming (accepted 22 Nov 2014).

Giubilini A. (forthcoming) Normality, health, and enhancement. What should bioconservatives say about the medicalization of love?, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

Book Chapters:

Clarke, S. ‘A Religious Conception of Evil’, forthcoming in Moral Evil in Practical Ethics, edited by Shlomit Harrosh and Roger Crisp: Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accepted for publication 1/10/2013.

Savulescu, J., Douglas, T., and Persson, I, (2014) Response to Commentators, Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues, edited by Akira Akabyashi, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 131-138

Savulescu, J., Persson, I and Douglas, T. (2014) ‘Autonomy and the Ethics of Behavioural Modification’ Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues, edited by Akira Akabayashi, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 91- 112

On 20-21 March 2014 the project researchers held a workshop at the University of Melbourne: "Human Enhancement: the Moral Challenge". Participants included Nicholas Agar (Victoria University of Wellington), Linda Barclay (Monash University), Jeanette Kennett (Macquarie University), Josh May (University of Birmingham, Alabama), John McMillan (University of Otago), Rebecca Roache (University of Oxford), Michael Selgelid (Monash University), Rob Sparrow (Monash University), Bernadette Tobin (Australian Catholic University), Suzanne Uniacke (Charles Sturt University), John Weckert (Charles Sturt University) and the five project researchers. A workshop program is available here


PI Julian Savulescu has co-authored a paper with Guy Kahane which is relevant to the project, and is forthcoming in the journal Bioethics: G. Kahane and J. Savulescu, 'Normal Human Variation: Refocusing the Enhancement Debate', Bioethics:


PI Julian Savulescu has co-authored a paper with Jonathan Pugh and Guy Kahane which was published in the Journal of Ethics in late 2013 which is relevant to the project:

J. Pugh, G. Kahane and J. Savulescu (2013) 'Cohen's Conservatism and Human Enhancement', Journal of Ethics, 17, 4, pp. 331-354:


In September 2013 Project Researchers Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal completed a survey of literature relevant to the project entitled 'Moral Conservatism in the Time of Biotechnologies'. The survey is available here.