Project Description

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Portrait of Clair Baleshta


  • Feminist Philosophy

  • AI Ethics

  • Bioethics



Doctoral Student,
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Clair is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at Western University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo, minoring in Philosophy and Mathematics, and received her MA in Philosophy from the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on topics at the intersection of Feminist Philosophy, AI Ethics, and Bioethics. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding AI harm and harm reduction.

One of my current research projects focuses on the use of ‘harm reduction’ methods in novel health care contexts. Despite harm reduction’s historical ties to drug policy, a number of recent proposals have emerged to apply the approach in domains other than drug use. Though such proposals offer new prospects for ameliorating harms in a wider range of domains, there exist significant barriers to the successful expansion of harm reduction programs. To address these barriers, I aim to develop a distinctive philosophical account of harm reduction that offers a stronger foundation on which to expand interventions. In particular, I propose and defend a feminist relational account of harm reduction. Part of this project also involves applying my harm reduction account to the use of medical AI technologies specifically.

Another current project focuses on the concept of AI harm. Although there exists significant discourse surrounding the harms of AI, there has been little explicit discussion as to what constitutes ‘harm’ when looking at the impacts of this technology. This is a serious omission – without a clear conceptual definition of harm to draw on when developing regulatory frameworks or making policy decisions regarding AI, we’re left to rely on intuitive notions of harm prone to biases, inconsistencies, and other inaccuracies. Moreover, though appealing to the philosophical literature on harm may seem like a natural solution to this problem, standard accounts of harm are similarly ill-fit to address the harms of AI. The current harm scholarship relies on a highly idealized view of harm. As a result, accounts often ignore the impacts of social and structural factors on our understanding of harm, offering conceptions that fail to accurately account for real world harms like those of AI. Given that harm is an important tool for understanding and addressing the effects of this technology, the aim of this project is to develop a novel account of AI harm – one that understands harm in a relational sense and can address AI’s disproportionate impacts on members of marginalized groups.

I also work on topics including dis/trust and AI, harm in feminist philosophy, and social isolation and relational autonomy.

Conference Presentations  

“Algorithmic Harms and Algorithmic Wrongs” (with Luke Stark and Nathalie DiBeradino), ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT), June 2024 (Upcoming).

“Harm Reduction in Novel Contexts: A Feminist Relational Account,” Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA), McGill University, June 2024 (Upcoming).

“Algorithmic Harms and Algorithmic Wrongs” (with Luke Stark and Nathalie DiBeradino), (Dis)Trust and AI: Perspectives Across Disciplines and Sectors (Work-in-Progress Workshop), Western University, October 2023.

“Harm and Artificial Intelligence,” From Inequality to Justice: Law and Ethics of AI and Technology, Law and Technology Institute, Dalhousie University, June 2023.

“Toward a Feminist Account of Harm” Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA), York University, May 2023.

“A Feminist Harm Reduction Approach to Medical AI” Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics (CSSPE), York University, May 2023.

“A Feminist View of Medical AI Harm” International Conference on Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE), Illinois Institute of Technology, May 2023.

“A Feminist Perspective on the Benefits of Collective Action,” Social Ontology & Collective Intentionality, University of Vienna, August 2022.

“Health Care Barriers Imposed by a Lack of Social Supports: Social Isolation and the Need for Relational Autonomy,” Southwestern Ontario Feminism and Philosophy Workshop, University of Waterloo, December 2021.

“Distrust in Human Interactions with AI,” IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, CARE-AI Special Session, Universities of Guelph and Waterloo, October 2021.

“Trust, Distrust, and Human Interactions with AI,” SAS 21: Trust in Science, HLRS Stuttgart, October 2021.

“Reasonability Facades” MANCEPT Workshop: Prudence and Politics, University of Manchester, September 2021.

“Reasonability Facades: A Flaw in the Deliberative Model of Democracy,” Knowledge and Power: Epistemic Conflicts in Democracy, University of Essex, July 2021.

“A Modified Account of Explanatory Fictions in Science,” Rotman Graduate Student Conference: Complexity and Explanation, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University, May 2021.

Teaching Assistant/Tutorial Instructor

PHILOSOPHY 1040 Ethics, Law and Politics, Western University (Jan 2024 – May 2024)

PHILOSOPHY 1040 Ethics, Law and Politics, Western University (Jan 2023 – May 2023)

PHILOSOPHY 1020: Introduction to Philosophy, Western University (Sept 2021 – May 2022)

PHIL 1010: Social and Political Issues, University of Guelph (Jan 2021 – May 2021)

PHIL 2120: Ethics, University of Guelph (Sept 2020 – Jan 2021)

Teaching Assistant

PHILOSOPHY 2062: Power, Oppression, and Privilege, Western University (Sept 2022 – Jan 2022)

INTEG 221/PHIL 291: The Social Nature of Knowledge, University of Waterloo (Jan 2020 – May 2020)

INTEG 221/PHIL 291: The Social Nature of Knowledge, University of Waterloo (Jan 2019 – May 2019)

Guest Lecturer

“Harm and Artificial Intelligence,” PHILOSOPHY 9232: Ethical & Societal Implications of A.I., Western University, February 16, 2023.

“Responsibility for Justice,” PHILOSOPHY 2060: Power, Oppression, and Privilege, Western University, November 28, 2022.

Diberardino, Nathalie, Clair Baleshta, and Luke Stark. 2024. “Algorithmic Harms and Algorithmic Wrongs.” 2024. In The 2024 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT ’24), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ACM, New York, NY, USA,

Baleshta, Clair. “Toward a Feminist View of Harm” Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA), July 2023.

Baleshta, Clair, Dylan White, Glen Reavie, Alysha Cooper, Graham Taylor, Joshua August Gus Skorburg, David Van Bruwaene, et al. 2021. “CARE-AI Special Session on AI Ethics.” In 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS)

Baleshta, Clair. “Trust and Medical Knowledge.” Hospital News, 22 July 2020.

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