Photo of Owen


I research, write, and teach philosophy, especially ethics. I received my PhD from the Department of Philosophy at The Ohio State University in 2016, while I was a visiting member of the Department of Philosophy at Oberlin College.

From 2017 to 2020, I was a postdoc at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. I collaborated with the HR and Advanced Analytics teams at Ahold Delhaize, working on ethical uses of data analytics to improve the well-being of employees.




One strand of my research is about the philosophy of well-being. My dissertation, supervised by Justin D'Arms, was called Three Kinds of Goodness for a Person. The aim of this project, and the ensuing articles, is to draw more careful distinctions between well-being and related normative categories such as the goodness of a person's life on the whole.

Ethics of computing and information

The second strand of my research is about ethical issues in computing, especially automated prediction. Many of the questions that interest me most are about the ethics of artificial social cognition, i.e., ethical issues about the automated attribution and prediction of mental states (intentions, desires, beliefs) of individual (human) persons. I have been arguing that such predictions have moral dimensions that cannot be captured in assessments of accuracy alone.


For more details and links to articles, see this research overview.


Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics

For summer 2019, I was a seminar leader at the Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute in Bioethics at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. The seminar I designed is called, "Data, Health, and Ethics: Topics at the Intersection."

University of Twente

I occasionally contribute to undergraduate and PSTS graduate courses at the University of Twente. I also teach "Ethical Interpretations of Technological Innovation" at CuriousU.


In 2013-2014, I conceived and created Ohio State University's new course on Computing Ethics, and I was honored for excellent teaching. I spent the subsequent three years teaching philosophy to the highly engaged students of Oberlin College.


Social networks

My PhilPeople profile

My LinkedIn profile

Software antifeatures

Do you ever feel like the software on your phone or laptop is doing a lot of things that aren't necessarily in your best interest? If so, you may be encountering software antifeatures. At a personal level, antifeatures have perturbed me for many years. Additionally, antifeatures raise ethical issues for software development. I've written an introduction to some of the issues, available here: "Is It a Feature? Is it a Bug? No, It’s an Antifeature."