Dmitri Pisartchik 2017-09-12T14:03:56+00:00

Project Description


  • Bioethics

  • Political Philosophy (esp. classical liberalism)

  • Legal Philosophy (esp. property and contract law)



Doctoral Student;
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Dmitri Pisartchik is a philosophy PhD student. His academic interests lie in applying the ideas of classical liberalism to contemporary questions of public policy, especially with respect to the use of coercive force and limits on individual freedom. Dmitri’s PhD research project is focused on the question of whether and where market institutions ought to be subject to limitations in a free society and the related issues of commodification. Prior to his getting his Master of Arts degree at Western Dmitri has worked as part of a multi-disciplinary research team at the Joint Centre for Bioethics on the Canadian Program of Research on Ethics in a Pandemic.

My research program seeks to clarify and enrich the ongoing debate about the limits of market institutions in free liberal societies. Markets are social institutions in which either individuals or collective agents voluntarily come together to exchange goods and services for valuable consideration. Markets have have played (and continue to play) a significant role in driving both technological and social progress, as well raising the general standard of living. Thus there is a potent two-pronged argument in favor of establishing and maintaining markets: markets both (1) respect individual liberty, and (2) increase wellbeing. Despite this initial assessment, one may reasonably inquire as to whether markets ought to subject to any moral and/or legal limits, and (if so) what those limits ought to be. Should, for example, there be a market in human body parts, or sexual services? Or ought these and other goods (broadly construed) be considered beyond the reach of market exchange? Many critics argue that such markets ought to be prohibited, or otherwise severely restricted. My research is concerned with investigating these and similar questions from within the framework of political liberalism. More specifically, I am interested in whether, within a liberal society, there are sound justifications for (a) the use of coercive force against those who wish to trade in “contested commodities” and (b) whether the State may be justified in refusing to honor (i.e., help enforce) contractual obligations with respect to such commodities. My thesis has two objectives: (i) to develop a framework for assessing justifications for coercive interferences with individual actions consistent with the fundamental principles of a liberal society, and (ii) to assess whether a liberal State’s refusal to honor sales contracts involving contested commodities constitutes unjust discrimination.


Langat, Pinky, Dmitri Pisartchik, Diego Silva, Carrie Bernard, Kolby Olsen, Maxwell Smith, Sachin Sahni, and Ross Upshur. “Is there a duty to share? Ethics of sharing research data in the context of public health emergencies.” Public Health Ethics 4, no. 1 (2011): 4-11.

Bensimon, Cécile M., Maxwell J. Smith, Dmitri Pisartchik, Sachin Sahni, and Ross EG Upshur. “The duty to care in an influenza pandemic: A qualitative study of Canadian public perspectives.” Social Science & Medicine (2012).

Doctoral Thesis


MA Thesis

Rejecting Absolute and Comparative Desert

Conference Presentations

Desert, Entitlement, and Surplus Value. Presented at the 2015 Institute for Humane Studies Summer Graduate Research Colloquium

Fall/Winter 2012-13, Biomedical Ethics, Western University (Grader)

Fall 2013, Philosophy of Law, Western University (Grader)

Winter 2014, Big Ideas, Western University (Grader)

Fall 2014, Science versus Religion, Western University (Grader)

Winter 2015, Question of the Day, Western University (Grader)

Fall/Winter 2015-16, Introduction to Philosophy, Western University (Tutorial Leader)