Mark Bourgeois

Postdoctoral Scholar
John J. Reilly Center




Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, Philosophy, 2014

M.A., Miami University (Ohio), Philosophy, 1999

B.S., University of Illinois, Physics, 1996

B.A., University of Illinois, Philosophy, 1996



Mark Bourgeois is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values at the University of Notre Dame. His main role is to implement the Social Responsibilities of Researchers training program, an NSF EESE award aiming to train STEM PhD students from all fields in ethics and social engagement.


He completed his PhD in Philosophy in 2014 at Loyola University Chicago, with a dissertation analyzing the concept of natural function in biology as compared to engineered function in artifacts. Earlier he had earned a Master’s in philosophy from Miami of Ohio, as well as a BA in philosophy and a BS in physics from the University of Illinois. Before undertaking the PhD, he spent several years as an engineer in the telecom industry, most of them with Lucent Technologies, working on the optical backbone networks that comprise the trunk lines of the Internet. While earning his PhD, he taught engineering design and engineering ethics in the Biomedical Engineering department at Northwestern University.


His areas of expertise include philosophy of biology; metaphysics; ethics education; engineering ethics; research ethics; clinical ethics; engineering design; and some regulatory policy.


His main interest is in teaching ethics to technical students, especially big-picture social and ethical issues like climate change and emerging technologies, and in general how social issues and social context do – or should – relate to how scientists and engineers go about their work. As a former engineering and science undergraduate, he believes they do not get enough opportunity in their education to think about the impact of their work on society, and so they often conclude that such issues are not their concern – a blind spot that is only rarely corrected in graduate school, and more often made worse.


He is also developing a strong interest in the role of motivated reasoning in public understanding of science as it relates to policy, and how science might be communicated to the public in ways that enable rather than circumvent productive policy debates.


He would also like to begin applying the insights of moral psychology to the teaching of ethics.


Representative Publications

  • “Autonomy and Exploitation in Clinical Research: What the Proposed Surfaxin Trial Can Teach Us about Consent,” Ethics in Biology Engineering & Medicine, 2012 v3., 10 pp. (2013)
  • “Ethics in Engineering Design” in Engineering Design and Communication, Principles and Practice, Northwestern University (2011)
  • “Ethics in a Design Paradigm,” from Frontiers in Education 37th Annual Conference, October 10-13, 2007, Work in Progress: Ethics in a Design Paradigm, 2 pp. (2007)