Ben Schwan, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Bioethics
School of Medicine
Clinical Ethicist
Center for Biomedical Ethics, MetroHealth System


Ben Schwan is a faculty member in the Department of Bioethics at CaseWestern ReserveUniversity and a clinical ethics consultant for The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, OH. Before landing in Cleveland, he completed a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

Ben's research focuses primarily on issues of agency as they arise in ethical theory and practice. At the theoretical level, his work explores implications that accounts of ability, intention, action, and control have for theories of reasons and oughts. At the practical level, he scrutinizes the role that autonomy plays in justifying certain practices in medical research and clinical care, and investigates the impact that health and healthcare have on patients’ scope of responsibility.

Ben's personal website



Schwan, Ben. "Why Decision-making Capacity Matters." Journal of Moral Philosophy (forthcoming)

O'Brien, David; Schwan, Ben. "Wrongfulness Rewarded? A Normative Paradox." Synthese (forthcoming)

Schwan, Ben. "Responsibility amid the social determinants of health." Bioethics 35.1 (2021): 6-14.

Schwan, Ben. "What ability can do." Philosophical Studies 175.3 (2018): 703-723.

Schwan, Ben, & Stern, Reuben (2017). "A Causal Understanding of When and When Not to Jeffrey Conditionalize." Philosopher's Imprint, 17(8).