Associate Professor of Philosophy

Interests: Philosophy of biological and biomedical science; philosophical bioethics; philosophy of medicine; legal and political philosophy; philosophy of technology.

Click here for a copy of his C.V.

Russell Powell, Ph.D. J.D. M.S. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boston University. Prior to his appointment at BU, Dr. Powell was an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy, and a James Martin Research Fellow in the Institute for Science and Ethics, at Oxford University. Before his time at Oxford, Dr. Powell was a Greenwall Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.

Dr. Powell holds advanced degrees in philosophy, evolutionary biology, and law. He received his B.A. in philosophy (summa cum laude, phi beta kappa) 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). Prior to commencing his graduate work in philosophy, then Mr. Powell, Esq. worked as an attorney (Associate) in the New York office of the global law firm Skadden Arps, where he practiced complex pharmaceutical liability litigation.

As a result of this diverse background, Dr. Powell’s academic interests are wide-ranging and highly interdisciplinary. He has published in areas ranging from the philosophy of biology and bioethics to political and legal philosophy, in journals such as Philosophy of Science, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Journal of Philosophy, Ethics, Biology and Philosophy, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Science, American Journal of Bioethics, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Journal of Political Philosophy, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.

His recent monographs include Contingency and Convergence: Toward a Cosmic Biology of Body and Mind (MIT Press, 2019, under contract, ~470 pgs.), and The Evolution of Moral Progress: A Biocultural Account (Oxford University Press, 2018, ~440 pgs.) with Allen Buchanan.

Dr. Powell has held fellowships at the National Humanities Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and he has been a Principal Investigator on grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Templeton Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. He served from 2011-2016 as Associate Editor for the Journal of Medical Ethics (of the British Medical Journal Group).