Yashar Saghai is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente and Associate Senior Scholar at The Millennium Project: Global Futures Studies and Research, a DC-based global think-tank. Until July 2018 he was a Research Scholar and Associate Faculty at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he lead several projects on food ethics, bioethics, and foresight. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Georgetown University and graduate degrees in History of Philosophy and Medical Ethics from the University of Paris in his native city. His research focuses on philosophical issues surrounding the anticipation of alternative futures.
Areas of Specialization:
- Philosophy of anticipation (foresight/futures studies)
- Political philosophy of technology (technological sovereignty and future infrastructures)
- Applied ethics with a focus on:
- food ethics
- public health ethics and bioethics
- ethics of behavior change interventions and technologies
Areas of Competence:
- American pragmatism
- History of modern philosophy (Spinoza and radical Enlightenment)
- History, ethics and philosophy of psychology
More information on his personal Website
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters:
- Saghai, Y. 2021. "Subversive Future Seeks Like-minded Model: On the Mismatch between Visions of Food Sovereignty Futures and Quantified Scenarios of Global Food Futures." Ethics and International Affairs.
- Saghai, Y. 2021. "Is a Thriving Food Sovereignty-Based Global Future Plausible?," in Justice and Food Security in a Changing Climate, edited by Ivo Wallimann-Helmer and Hanna Schuebel. Wagenignen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands.
- Van Dijk, Michiel, Yashar Saghai, Tomas Morley and Marie-Luise Rau. 2020. “Global food demand projections: A review.” In Choose Food: An Ethical Basis for Food Production, edited by Alan Goldberg. Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Saghai, Yashar, Michiel van Dijk, Tomas Morley and Marie-Luise Rau. 2018. “Questioning long-term global food futures studies: A systematic, empirical, and normative approach.” In Professionals in Food Chains: Ethics, Roles and Responsibilities, edited by Herwig Grimm and Svenja Springer. WagenignenAcademic Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2018. "Theorizing justice in health research contexts." In Beyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research, edited by J. Kahn, A. Mastroianni, and J. Sugarman. Second edition, pp. 187-207. Oxford University Press: New York, NY.
- Lipton, Michael, and Yashar Saghai. 2017. "Farmland-access ethics, land reform, and food ethics." Global Food Security 12: 59-66.
- Aloosh, Mehdi and Yashar Saghai. 2016. "Birth control policies in Iran: A public health and ethics perspective." Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 70: 529-533. doi:10.1136/jech-2015-205572.
- Whicher, Danielle, Nancy Kass, Yashar Saghai, Ruth Faden, Sean Tunis, and Peter Pronovost. 2015. "The views of quality improvement professionals and comparative effectiveness researchers on ethics, IRBs, and oversight." Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 10(2): 132-144. DOI:10.1177/1556264615571558.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2014. "Radically questioning the principle of the least restrictive alternative: A reply to Nir Eyal." International Journal of Health Policy and Management 3(6): 349-350. Doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2014.106.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2013. "Salvaging the concept of nudge." Journal of Medical Ethics 39(8): 487-493. Doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-100727. Editor's pick; featured article; selected #1 among the most highly-cited papers that contributed to the Journal's latest Impact Factor of 1.764 (2015 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2016).
- Saghai, Yashar. 2013. "The concept of nudge and its moral significance: A reply to Ashcroft, Bovens, Dworkin, Welch, and Wertheimer." Journal of Medical Ethics 39(8): 499-501. Doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-101112.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2013. "Nudging in interpersonal contexts, " American Journal of Bioethics 13(6): 33-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15265161.2013.782455.
- Powers, Madison, Ruth Faden, and Yashar Saghai. 2012."Liberty, Mill, and the framework of public health ethics." Public Health Ethics 5 (1): 6-15. DOI:10.1093/phe/phs002.
- Beauchamp, Tom, and Yashar Saghai. 2012. "The historical foundations of the research-practice distinction in bioethics."Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (1): 45-56. DOI 10.1007/s11017-011-9207-8.
Reports, Working Papers and White Papers:
- Global Food Ethics Project (co-author), "7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security: 7 Projects to Make Progress on Ethics and Global Food Security in 5 Years." Project Report. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. May 2015.
- Saghai, Yashar. "A Philosophical Toolbox for Practical Ethics." Short paper prepared for the "Feeding the World, Ethically" Global Food Ethics project meeting, Ranco, Italy, October 6-9, 2014.
- Cassman, Kenneth, and Yashar Saghai. "Global Food Security and the Ethics of Ensuring Adequate Food Production Capacity." Peer-reviewed White Paper prepared for the "Feeding the World, Ethically" Global Food Ethics project meeting, Ranco, Italy, October 6-9, 2014.
- Lipton, Michael, and Yashar Saghai. "Farmland-Access Ethics, Land Reform, and Food Ethics." Peer-reviewed White Paper prepared for the Global Food Ethics project's "Feeding the World, Ethically" meeting, Ranco, Italy, October 6-9, 2014.
- O'Connor, Dan, and Yashar Saghai. "'What is an experimental treatment?' History, Bioethics, and the Politics of Research." Working Paper for the "Research and Treatment of Comparative Effectiveness, QI and IND Research" Project (Berman Institute of Bioethics, 2010-2012). Last updated March 2013.
Non-Peer-Reviewed Articles, Editorials, and Book Reviews:
- Ahmad, Ayesha., Ryoa Chung, Lisa Eckenwiler, Agonomi Ganguli-Mitra, Matthew Hunt, Rebecca Richards, Jackie Leach Scully, Yashar Saghai, and Lisa Schwartz. 2020. "What Does It Mean To Be Made Vulnerable in the Era of COVID-19?" The Lancet 395: 1481-1482. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30979.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2013. "Health Laws Too Tame." Opinion, Engaging Bioethics series, The Hoya January 18.
- Saghai, Yashar. 2011. "Internalized Public Moral Norms and Shared Sovereignty." Open-peer commentary on Jennifer Ruger's "Shared Health Governance." American Journal of Bioethics 11 (7): 49-51. doi:10.1080/15265161.2011.572492.
- "Developing the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway Scenarios: Taking Stock of Successes, Areas to Improve for the Future" workshop organized by Eric Kempt-Benedict and Jonathan Lamontagne with Benjamin Preston, Julie Rosenberg, Fred Lipschultz, Henrik Carlsen and Paula Harrison. Scenarios Forum 2019: Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures, University of Denver, March 12, 2019.
- “Vulnerability and Justice in Global Health Emergencies: Developing Future Ethical Models in a Context of Uncertainty” Panel with Lisa Eckenwiler and Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra, Presentation on the role of Futures Studies. Annual Meeting of ASBH, Anaheim, CA, October 19, 2018.
- “Questioning Long-Term Global Food Futures Studies: A Systematic, Empirical, and Normative Approach.” 14th Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics (EurSafe 2018), Vienna, Austria, June 13-16, 2018.
- “How do We Get from Now to Then? On the Merits and Limits of Explanatory Pluralism in Future Scenarios.” “Grappling with the Futures: Insights from Philosophy, History, and Science, Technology and Society” Symposium. Harvard University, April 29, 2018. Invited speaker.
- "Introductory Address." “Grappling with the Futures: Insights from Philosophy, History, and Science, Technology and Society” Symposium. Harvard University, April 29, 2018. Co-organizer of the event.
- "Cones, Spider Webs, and Teddy Bears: Philosophical Reflections on Topologies of the Future and the Concept of Plausibility." 4S (Society for the Social Study of Science) Annual Meeting), Boston, August 31, 2017.
- "Changing Social Norms: Bicchieri and Sunstein on Mechanisms and Ethics." Workshop led by Yashar Saghai, with Marcel Verweij (Wageningen University) and Mariëtte van den Hoven (Utrecht University), for the "Wink: The Nudge Conference." University of Utrecht, June 24, 2017.
- "Imagining Alternative Futures for Food Systems and the Environment". Workshop organized by the Wageningen University and Research Department of Social Sciences (Philosophy Group and Public Administration Policy Group), with Cor van der Weele and Henk van den Belt, Wageningen University, Netherlands, June 20, 201
- "Exploring the Futures of Food Systems: Imagination and the Selection of Plausible Futures." Philosophy Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands, June 19, 2017. ***Invited Speaker***
- "Cones, Spider Webs, and Teddy Bears: Philosophical Reflections on Topologies of the Futures and the Concept of Plausibility." World Futures Studies Federation Annual Meeting (Philosophy of Foresight Panel, organizer), Jondal, Norway, June 9, 2017.
- "Defensive Thinking: Psychological Barriers to Accepting Food Futures." Joint presentation with Magda Osman, World Futures Studies Federation Annual Meeting (Food Futures Panel, organizer and Chair), Jondal, Norway, June 8, 2017.
- "Ethics and Global Food Futures: Mapping the Terrain." Invited speaker, Stanley N. Gershoff Symposium (Theme: "Next Generation Food Production"), Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, March 31, 2017. Video available here: https://vimeo.com/groups/461677/videos/213224349.
- "The Ethics of Health Policy Decision-Making for the Proper Balance of Prevention and Treatment Using Marginal Cost-Effectiveness Analyses." Panel with Halley Faust and Nir Eyal. Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, Washington, DC, October 7, 2016.
- "From Research to Action: The Scalability and Generalizability Problem in Evidence-based Behavioral Economics Health Policy." International Conference on Thinking. Symposium in Honor of Cass Sunstein. Brown University, Providence, RI, August 4, 2016. ***Invited Speaker***
- "Building an Innovative Research Agenda for Global Food Ethics." Meeting of the International Association of Bioethics, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 15-17, 2016. Poster presentation.
- "Global Bioethics, Human Rights, and the Demands of the Transitional Food Sovereignty Movement." Meeting of the International Association of Bioethics, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 15-17, 2016. Poster presentation.
- "Anticipating the Futures of Food Systems: Ethical and Political Issues." 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Bioethics Fellows Symposium, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA, April 28, 2016.
- "Ethical Challenges in Scenarios of Global Food Supply, Demand, and Markets." The Berman Institute of Bioethics Fall Research Retreat. Baltimore, MD, April 7, 2016.
- "Ethics of Consumption of Animal Source Foods in High-, Middle-, and Low-Income Countries." Joint presentation with Anne Barnhill (U Penn), Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Chicago, IL, March 4, 2016.
- "Embedded Health and Wellness Nudges in the Workplace: From Libertarian Paternalism to Workplace Democracy." Annual Meeting of the American College of Preventive Medicine, Washington, DC, February 27, 2016.
- "The 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security." Roundtable with Anne Barnhill (U Penn) and Sylvie Brouder (Purdue University). Annual meeting of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society, Pittsburgh, PA, June 27, 2015.
- "Embedded Health and Wellness Nudges in the Workplace: From Libertarian Paternalism to Workplace Democracy." "Ethical Issues of Nudges" Panel with Nir Eyal and Halley Faust. Annual Meeting of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Health, Baltimore, MD, May 3, 2015
- "Seeking Global Food Justice: The '7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security: 7 Projects to Make Progress on Ethics and Food Security in 5 Years.'" 3rd Annual Yale Food Systems Symposium, Yale Law School. New Haven, CT, October 30, 2015. ***Invited Speaker***
- "Why Natural Duties Do Not Matter for Estlund's Justification of the Duty to Obey Political Authorities: A Reply to Nick Frank's 'Against Normative Consent'." Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Philadelphia, PA, December 30, 2014.
- "Global Food Ethics Project." Joint presentation with Ruth Faden and Sara Glass. The Berman Institute of Bioethics Fall Research Retreat. Baltimore, MD, December 14, 2014.
- "Embedded Health and Wellness Nudges in the Workplace: From Libertarian Paternalism to Workplace Democracy." Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. San Diego, CA, October 18, 2014.
- "Public Health Nudges and the Principle of the Least Restrictive Alternative." Annual Conference of the Petrie-Flom Center ("Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy"), Harvard Law School. Boston, MA, May 2, 2014. Video available here: https://vimeo.com/97550187. ***Invited Speaker***
- "On the Ethics of Implementing Health Nudge Policies When Confidence Level in their Effectiveness is Low." The Berman Institute of Bioethics Fall Research Retreat. Baltimore, MD, December 12, 2013.
- "The Ethics of Nudging and the Architecture of the Mind." "Brain Matters 3: Values at the Crossroads of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Psychology" Conference. Neuroethics Program at Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland, OH, October 24, 2012.
- "Salvaging the Concept of Nudge." International Association of Bioethics Congress pre-meeting Symposium ("Regulating Bodies and Influencing Health: Nudges, Incentives and Public Policy"). Rotterdam, Netherlands, June 26, 2012. ***Invited Speaker***
- "Nudging and the Political Morality of Food Policy." Greenwall Postdoctoral Seminar, The Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, MD, January 23, 2012. ***Invited Speaker***