Associate Professor David Hunter

Chair of the Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee SBREC

Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity

Research expertise

My research focuses on the application of political philosophy to issues in applied ethics such as resource allocation, research ethics, ethics of regulation, new technologies and public health ethics.

Research expertise

My research focuses on the application of political philosophy to issues in applied ethics such as resource allocation, research ethics, ethics of regulation, new technologies and public health ethics.

place Health Sciences Building (2.29)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

In 2013 I joined Flinders University as the Associate Professor of Medical Ethics in the School of Medicine. My background is in philosophy, concentrating on political philosophy and ethics, both theoretical and applied, mainly in the context of medical practice, research ethics and other professional practices. I spent the previous eight years in the UK, and before that was based in New Zealand:

2011-13 Philosophy department at the University of Birmingham, UK.
2008 -11 Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele University, UK.
2005-08 School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
2004-05 School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Massey University, NZ.
2000-04 I tutored in philosophy at the University of Auckland, NZ.

Qualifications
  • 2008: PHD in philosophy: A Luck Egalitarian Account of Distributive Justice in Health Care, University of Auckland. Supervised by Professor Rosalind Hursthouse and Associate Professor Jan Crosthwaite.
  • 2002: MA, Philosophy (65000 word thesis God the Utilitarian? The Ethics of Theodicy), First Class Honours, University of Auckland. Supervised by Professor John Bishop.
  • 2001: BA (Hons) Philosophy, First Class Honours, University of Auckland.
  • 2001: Diploma of Professional Ethics, University of Auckland.
  • 1999: BA Double Major: Philosophy/Politics, University of Auckland.
Key responsibilities
  • Leading and teaching into the Health Professions and Society (HPS) theme in the MD.
  • Leading and teaching into the Ethics, Law and Professionalism strand in the MD.
  • Leading the Ethics, Law and Equity research area in the Southgate Institute.
  • Research Ethics, in an advisory and training capacity.
  • Serving as a member of the Medical Course Committee.
  • Serving as a member of the Professional Behaviour and Registration Committee.
Research expertise
Applied ethics
Philosophy
Political science
Research interests

Because I am interested in issues at the intersection of several areas of philosophy and medicine it is difficult to summarise my research interests succinctly. However I am particularly interested in where ideas from political philosophy can be bought to bear on problems within medical ethics. I believe that an excessive focus has been placed on clinical ethics in bioethics, and this has obscured important background issues such as organisational and structural issues. As such I think that work in political philosophy can usefully inform approaches to a variety of issues in medical ethics. Thus my research interests are broad, but common themes run throughout:

Ethics of Regulation

I'm interested in ethical issues to do with regulation of human activities, particularly where these have broader implications for ethical theory and/or political philosophy. I'm especially interested when these topics raise broader underlying conceptual issues such as should we view research ethics committees as normative truth seeking devices, or instead as liberal consensus seeking devices? A continuing theme of my work in this area is ethical decision making in situations of fundamental uncertainty.

Public Health Ethics

This interest grew out of my PhD thesis, which concentrated on distributive justice in health care. But also because I am broadly interested in issues in political philosophy, particularly where these intersect with issues in medical ethics. A particular interest here is in the role responsibility might or ought to play in health care decision making.

Ethics of New Technologies

Arising from my interest in regulation more generally I've written about the ethics of new technologies. Here I have concentrated on questions about the effective regulation of these technologies given globalisation and questions about distributive justice and the implications of new technologies.

Teaching interests

My current teaching interests focus primarily on the ethical and professional issues arising in the practice of medicine. I teach into each year of the MD and coordinate the Ethics, Law and Professionalism strand.

Topic coordinator
MMED8304 Health Professions and Society 3A: Socially Responsible Health Practice
Topic lecturer
MMED9150 Medicine 1A
MMED9151 Medicine 1B
MMED9250 Medicine 2A
MMED9251 Medicine 2B
Supervisory interests
Applied philosophy
Bioethics
Political philosophy
Professional ethics
Public health ethics
Research ethics
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Medical ethics (1)
Completion
Associate supervisor: Medical ethics (Birmingham Univ.) (1)
Publications
Expert for media contact
Ethics
Health management, policy and ethics
Medical ethics
Public health ethics
Research ethics
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Ethics
  • Health management, policy and ethics
Interests
  • Medical ethics
  • Public health ethics
  • Research ethics
Further information
  • My (occasionally updated) full CV is available here: David Hunter CV
  • Draft papers, prepublication copies and other info is available at my academia.edu site here: Academia.edu
  • Links to published papers, citation information is available via my google scholar page here: Google Scholar
  • You can follow me on twitter here: Twitter
  • You can follow the research ethics Facebook page I run here: Facebook or it's twitter feed here: Research_Ethics
  • I sometimes blog here: Journal of Medical Ethics Blog
  • You can find links to my media comments here: Media
The Conversation