John received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2011. His work focuses on issues in ethics, especially applied ethics, and in the philosophy of biology. In ethics, much of his work has focused on issues of moral status. Within environmental ethics, John has focused on the question of whether non-sentient organisms and collectives can be said to have interests and whether such interests are morally relevant. Within bioethics, his focus has been on whether and how the moral status of non-human research subjects might be altered. In addition to issues of moral status, he is also interested in the ethics of environmental restoration and the ethics of biotechnology more generally. In the philosophy of biology, John’s work has primarily been concerned with the levels of selection where his focus has been on whether collectives, such as biotic communities and ecosystems, might be units of selection distinct from the individuals that compose them.
John was an AI Initiative Joint Fellow-in-Residence from 2019-2020.