Joan McGregor


Professor of Philosophy


School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies


Professor McGregor’s current research interests are focused on a number of questions in moral and legal philosophy.

In bioethics, she currently is working on sustainability questions generated from the ethics of emerging technologies, nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC),. In the domain of the bio-medical, McGregor has questioned the subtle influences that affect individuals’ choices and what should be done to militate against the forces that can undermine voluntariness. Attention to vulnerable populations in bio-medical research form the basis for her research and collaboration with Rebecca Tsosie (Director Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law)  looking at the ethical and legal issues involved in doing genetic research with groups, particularly marginalized groups such as Native Americans. Out of this work has come an interest in the development of a theory of harm group. Another area of research and collaboration, this work with Mayo faculty, focuses on the ethical and conceptual issues surrounding the definitions of death and ethics of organ donation.

Bioethics is also the ethics of the environment, the biosphere and has lead to research on the ethics of sustainability. She has recently directed a NEH Summer Institute on Aldo Leopold’s contribution to the roots of environmental ethics. And currently she is working on an account of our duties to future generations and what are the impacts of emerging technologies on those duties to the future.

Legal philosophy, particularly moral and legal dimensions of rape has been an on-going interest of Professor McGregor. Currently, she is continuing her research on rape and consent in the criminal law.