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Russell Powel



Russell Powell, Ph.D. J.D. M.S. is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a member of the Center for Philosophy of Science at Boston University. He holds advanced degrees in philosophy, biology and law, specializing in the philosophy of biological and biomedical science with a focus on emerging technologies. His research examines conceptual and methodological problems in evolutionary theory both in general and in relation to human evolution in particular, and he has published widely on emerging biotechnologies such as embryo selection, genetic engineering, cloning, synthetic biology, the biomedical enhancement of human capacities, eugenics and the interaction between medicine and human biological evolution.

His work, much of it collaborative, has appeared in journals such as British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Journal of Philosophy, Ethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Biology and Philosophy, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, American Journal of Bioethics, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and the Journal of Political Philosophy. His book titled “The Evolution of Moral Progress” (co-authored with Allen Buchanan) is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. A second book, which explores the evolution of mind, is currently in preparation and under review at MIT Press.


Dr. Powell has held a number of fellowships and faculty positions in connection with projects at the interface of science, technology, and ethics. These include Research Fellowships in the Oxford Centre for Practical Ethics, the Institute for Science and Ethics, and the Centre for Neuroethics at Oxford University; a Greenwall Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University; a Visiting Fellowship at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Vienna; a National Humanities Center Fellowship; an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship; and a Visiting Research Fellowship in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at Washington University in St Louis.


He is currently serving his fourth consecutive year as Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, and his second year as Associate Editor for Life Sciences of Philosophy and Technology. He received his B.A. in philosophy (summa cum laude) from SUNY Binghamton (1999), his Juris Doctor (with honors) from NYU Law School (2002), and his Ph.D. in Philosophy and M.S. in Biology from Duke University (2009). Before returning to philosophy, he worked as an attorney of the global law firm Skadden, Arps LLP, where he practiced complex pharmaceutical liability litigation.

Principal Investigators

Juliet Floyd

James E. Katz

Russell Powel

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