I recently returned from a 3-month study period at the Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics (CAVE). While I was there I was able to attend numerous conferences, workshops, and seminars, as well as meet regularly with my gracious host supervisor, Professor Wendy Rogers. One of the highlights from my trip was attending the CAVE workshop on “The Virtues and Limits of Coherence in Moral and Legal Philosophy”. This conference focused on providing “critical analysis of the virtues and limits of coherence in moral and legal reasoning”. After the workshop, I was able to take part in a master class with Prof. Amalia Amaya from the Institute for Philosophical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who was the workshop’s keynote speaker. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about the relationship between coherence and truth in moral and legal reasoning.
Another highlight of my time in Sydney was attending a roundtable on cross-border reproduction, titled “Regulating Relations”, at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The roundtable was held in support of the project “Regulating Relations: Forming Families Inside and Outside of the Reach of the Law,” which seeks to understand how and why Australians make use of reproductive travel, and eventually make policy recommendations based on their interviews and research. The team conducting the research includes Professor Jenni Millbank, Professor Anita Stuhmcke, Professor Isabel Karpin, research assistant Miranda Kaye and anthropologist Dr. Michaela Stockey-Bridge. The project also involves international investigators Professor Emily Jackson and Associate Professor Roxanne Mykitiuk, who provide comparative input from UK and Canadian perspectives. This roundtable was particularly interesting for me since my thesis examines fiduciary obligations in the context of surrogacy. It was eye opening to learn how different Australian states tackle the ethical, political, and regulatory issues surrounding third-party reproduction, and then to be able to compare that to discourse and regulation in Canada. I was incredibly surprised to hear, for example, that some Australians have travelled to Canada for surrogacy services, given that commercial surrogacy is illegal in both countries. I’m looking forward to following the project, and seeing whether their policy recommendations on cross-border reproduction can translate to the Canadian context.
I also had the opportunity to give a Work in Progress talk to the philosophy department at Macquarie. While in Sydney, I had primarily been working on a draft of a chapter of my dissertation on the fiduciary model of the doctor-patient relationship. I gave a version of the chapter as a talk titled, “The Fiduciary Model of the Doctor-Patient Relationship.” In all, studying abroad in Australia gave me the opportunity to network and connect with a host of researchers in philosophy, law, sociology, and bioethics. It was a wonderful experience that gave me access to new ideas and perspectives, as well as excellent feedback on my research. I would like to thank SSHRC for funding my trip via the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, Macquarie University for providing me with office space and library access, and Prof. Wendy Rogers for her wonderful supervision. Anybody who is interested in learning more about the Philosophy program at Macquarie can check this out!