David R. Cummiskey

Professor of Philosophy



Hedge Hall, Room 306



Ph.D., M.A., University of Michigan; B.A., Washington College

David Cummiskey teaches courses on biomedical ethics, philosophy of law, and seminars on moral theory, contemporary liberalism, and Buddhist philosophy. His research and publications focus on Kantian and consequentialist approaches to moral philosophy, political philosophy, and intercultural ethics and bioethics. His most recent articles discuss the relationship between Buddhist and Kantian ethics, and Buddhist environmental ethics and political philosophy. He is currently working on a series of articles that develop the relationships among Buddhist perfectionism, emergent conceptions of agency, compatibilist conceptions of free will, Kantian accounts of self-constitution, and Humean constructivism.

Table of Contents



Kantian Consequentialism
, Oxford University Press, 1996 available on Oxford Scholarship On-Line, 2003.


All journal articles and chapters were peer refereed, unless otherwise indicated.
Click on titles for a PDF of a document.


Ego-less Agency: Dharma-Responsiveness without Kantian Autonomy, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, vol. 55.2; pp. 497-518; June 2020.

Buddhist Modernism and Kant on Enlightenment” in Buddhist Philosophy:  A Comparative Approach, edited by Steven Emmanuel, Wiley-Blackwell Publisher; January 2018.

Dependent Origination, Emptiness, and the Value of Nature,” with Alex Hamilton (Bates ’15), Journal of Buddhist Ethics; January 2017.

Reasonable Pluralism, Interculturalism, and Question-Beggingness,” Journal of Ethics, vol. 18.3, pp. 265-78; September 2014.

“Comparative Reflections on Buddhist Political Thought: Asoka, Shambhala & the General Will” in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy, edited by Steven Emmanuel; Wiley-Blackwell Publisher, January 2013.

The Law of Peoples” and Right to War: iFrom Islamic Jihad to Buddhist Pacifism n The Morality and Global Justice Reader, Michael Boylan (ed.); Westview Press, 2011.

“Islamic and Buddhist Medical Ethics:  Morality and Theology in Moral Reasoning” (invited) in Islam and Bioethics, edited by Berna Arda and Vardit Rispler-Chaim, Ankara Turkey: Ankara University Press, 2011.

Competing Conceptions of the Self in Kantian and Buddhist Moral Theories,” in Cultivating Personhood:   Kant and Asian Philosophy, Stephen R. Palmquist (ed.), (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 2010).


Consequentialism” Wiley-Blackwell’s International Encyclopedia of Ethics, April 2020.

Korsgaard’s Rejection of Consequentialism” (with reply from Korsgaard) in Metaphilosophy 42.4, July 2011.

Dignity, Contractualism, and Consequentialism,” Utilitas Vol. 20, 2008.

Justice and Revolution in Kant’s Political Philosophy” in Rethinking KantCurrent Trends in American Kantian Scholarship; Cambridge Scholar Publishers 2008.

Gewirth’s Kantian Consequentialism” in Gewirth: Critical Essays on Action, Rationality, and Community, Michael Boylan editor, Roman and Littlefield, 1998.

Kantian Consequentialism,” Ethics vol.100 no.3, April 1990; pp. 586-615.

Consequentialism, Egoism, and the Moral Law,” Philosophical Studies vol.57, Fall 1989; pp. 111-134.

Desert and Entitlement: A Rawlsian Consequentialist Account,”  Analysis vol.47 no.1, January 1987; pp. 15-19.


The Genealogy of Informed Consent,” International Association of Bioethics, Newsletter, November 2008 (invited) .

Health Care Justice:  The Social Insurance Model” in International Public Health Policy and Ethics; Springer Publishers 2008.

Confucian Ethics: Responsibilities, Rights, and Relationships” Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics vol. 16 no. 1; January, 2006.

Declaring Death, Giving Life” Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics vol. 15 no. 3; May 2005.

The Right to Die and the Right to Health Care” in Public Health Policy and Ethics, Michael Boylan (ed); Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004.

Co-Author, Report on Maine Health Care Services:  (invited) “A Problem Of Vision: Toward a Basic Health Care Program for Maine Residents,” The Department of Human Services BioEthics Advisory Committee, December 1991; published by the Maine State Government, 53 pages.


Reference Failure and Scientific Realism: A Response to the Meta-Induction,” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science vol.43 no.1, March 1992; pp. 21-40.

BOOK REVIEWS (invited)

Consequentialism:  New Directions, New Problems, by Christian Seidel (ed.), (Oxford University Press, 2019) in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, October 2020.

Buddhism and Political Theory by Matthew J. Moore (Oxford University Press, 2016) in Review of Politics vol. 79.3, 2017.

The Beloved Self:  Morality and the Challenge from Egoism by Alison Hills (Oxford University Press, 2010) in Analysis Reviews, February 2012.

Goodness and Justice:  A  Consequentialist Moral Theory, by Joseph Mendola, (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2006); in Utilitas vol. 21.4, December 2009.

Normative Ethics by Shelly Kagan (Westview Press, 1998) in Ethics vol. 110 no. 2, January 2000.

Kant’s Ethical Thought by Allen Wood (Cambridge University Press, 1999) in Philosophical Books 42 (4):294-296, 2001.

Dignity and Vulnerability George Harris (University of California Press, 1997) in The Philosophical Review, January 1999.

Mill’s Principle of Utility by Necip Fikri Alican (Rodopi, 1994); in Ethics, 1996.

Absolutism and its Consequentialist Critics by Joram Graf Haber, ed.  (Rowan and Littlefield, 1994); in Ethics, 1995.

Animal Experimentation: The Moral Issues by Robert M. Baird and Stuart Rosenbaum, eds. (Prometheus Books, 1991); in Ethics, 1994.

Professional Presentations and Activities – selected

“The Kantian Necessity of a Property-Owning Democracy” American Philosophical Association, Denver Colorado, February 2023

 “The Limits of Consequentailizing” Plenary Session on Shelly Kagan, Northern New England Philosophical Association College of the Holy Cross, November 2019

“Buddhist Perfectionism and Korsgaard on Self-Constitution” International Conference on Confucianism, Buddhism, and Kantian Moral Theory, Institute for Confucian and East Asian Studies, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Seoul, South Korea, September 5-8, 2019

“Ego-less Agency: Dharma-Responsiveness without Kantian Autonomy” –  Author meets Critics session on Repetti’s Buddhism, Meditation, and Free Will. APA-Eastern, International Society for Buddhist Philosophy, New York, January 2019

“Regenerative Bioethics and the Mission of Medicine” UNESCO 13th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law; Jerusalem, November 2018

“Self-Constitution, Narrative Identity, and Normativity,” National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on Self-Knowledge in Eastern and Western Philosophies, Charleston South Carolina, June 1, 2018

“Buddhist Perfectionism and Korsgaard on Self-Constitution,” Columbia Society on Comparative Philosophy, Columbia University, NY, May 2018

“Regenerative Bioethics and the Therapy-Enhancement Distinction,” Age and Longevity in the 21st Century, Global Bioethics Initiative, United Nations NYC, April 2018

Plenary Session Chair, “Darwall: Morality and the Second-Person Standpoint,” Northern New England Philosophy Association; Stonehill College MA, November 2017

“The End of Aging: Ethical and Existential Issues,” Great Falls Forum, Lewiston Maine, October 20, 2016

The Fallacy of Double Effect,” Northern New England Philosophy Association, Keene State NH, October 14, 2016

Defense of Consequentialism Symposium, Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, San Francisco CA, April 2016

“Kant and Buddhism on Enlightenment,” Panel Discussion: What is Enlightenment? Reflections on Kant’s Answer, University of Southern Maine, Portland ME, February 2016

“Suicide Prevention and Patient Autonomy,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, September 2015

“Hospice Care and the Doctrine of Double Effect,” CHANS Home Health and Hospice Care, Brunswick Maine, August 26, 2015

“Prospect Utilitarianism: A Defense of Utilitarianism from the Original Position,” Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Vancouver, April 2015

“Pediatric Care: Responding Ethically to the Risks Posed by Unvaccinated Children,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, February 2015

“The End of Aging: Ethical and Existential Issues,” Faculty Lecture, Bates College Alumni Reunion, June 2014.

“Professional Responsibility: When Conscience and Patient Care Conflict,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, May 2014

“Understanding the End of Aging: The Medical, Ethical, & Existential Dimensions,” 14th Asian Bioethics Conference: Ethics in Emerging Technologies. Loyola College, Chennai India, November 2013

”Transformative Research and Teaching,” Panel Discussion, Parents Weekend, Bates College, September 2013

“Caring for Difficult and Drug-Dependent Patients,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, March 2013

“Interculturalism, Multiculturalism, and Biomedical Ethics,” Phillips Fellowship Presentation, Bates College, December 2012

“Reasonable Pluralism, Interculturalism, and Question-Beggingness,” APA Committee on Public Philosophy, Symposium: “Can Philosophy Provide a Foundation for Public Policy or Is It Question-Begging All the Way Down?”  American Philosophical Association, Atlanta, Dec. 2012 

“Interculturalism, Bioethics, and Informed Consent,” 11th World Congress of Bioethics, International Association of Bioethics, Rotterdam Netherlands, June 2012

”Early Modern Ethics” Symposium, Chair and Comments on Sterba’s “Completing the Kantian and Hobbesean Project in Ethics,” American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Seattle, April 2012

“Intercultural Ethics and Public Policy: the French Ban on Islamic Headscarves,” Works in Progress Series, Publicly-Engaged Academic Projects, Harward Center for Community Partnerships, Bates College, March 2012

”Interculturalism, Asian Values, and Kantian Justice,” Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore, February 2012

“Medical Marijuana: Ethical Issues,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, January 2012

“When a Nurse with a PhD wants to be called Doctor,” Ethics Roundtable, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, October 2011

“Constructing an Islamic Juridical Council in the United States,” Roundtable:  Where Religion, Policy, and Bioethics Meet: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Islamic Bioethics and End-of-Life Care, University of Michigan, April 2011

“Global Justice, Public Reason, and Intercultural Ethics,” North American Society for Social Philosophy, American Philosophical Association, Boston Mass, December 2010

“The Provider-Patient Relationship: Competent Patients & Their Irrational and Costly Choices,” Annual Ethics Retreat, Maine General Medical Center, Waterville Maine, Sept. 2010

”Double Effect: When and Why Killing is Wrong,” University of Maine, Orono, October 2010

”Double Effect and its Critics: Beyond the Basics,” Palliative Care and Ethics: Enhancing the Foundations of Care; Maine Medical Center 4th annual Palliative Care Conference; Harraseeket Inn, Freeport Maine, June 2010

“Islamic and Buddhist Medical Ethics: Morality and Theology in Moral Reasoning,” 3rd Islam and Bioethics International Conference, Ankara University Çolakli-Antalya Turkey, April 2010

“Ethics Committees: Form, Composition, and Function,” Clinical Ethics Committee, Educational Program, Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston Maine, March 2010

“Korsgaard’s Rejection of Consequentialism,” Keynote Panel on the work of Christine Korsgaard, Northern New England Philosophical Association, Annual Meeting, University of New Hampshire, Durham, October 2009

“Global Justice” chaired and organized International Affairs Conference, Presentation: “The Freeing of Isaac” Star Island Conference Center, Portsmouth NH, July 2009

“Competing Conceptions of the Self in Kantian and Buddhist Moral Theories,” Kant in Asia Conference, Hong Kong, China, May 2009

“Islamic Medical Ethics II: End of Life Issues” Critical Care Ethics Education Series, Maine Medical Center, Portland Maine, December 2008

“Inclusive Public Reason Defended” Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Pasadena, CA, April 2008

“Proposals for Health Care Reform” Ethics Committee: Continuing Education, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, February 2008

“Making Time Fly By: Tips on Fostering Student Engagement,” Teaching Development Panel, Bates College, February 2008

“Islamic Medical Ethics I: Basic Issues” Critical Care Ethics Education Series, Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston Maine, November 2007 and Maine Medical Center, Portland Maine, July 2007

“Informed Consent and the Family” Real Time Ethics in Clinical Practice Series, Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, May 2007

“Buddhism, Hastening Death, and the Irrelevance of Double Effect,” The 8th World Congress of Bioethics, Beijing, China, August 2006

“Dignity, Contractualism, and Consequentialism”

  • Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens Greece; June 2006
  • International Society for Utilitarian Studies, Dartmouth College; August 2005
  • Pomona College, Claremont California; October 2004
  • Beijing International Conference on Kant’s Moral Philosophy in Contemporary Perspectives, Peking University, Beijing China; May 2004

“The Curious Case of Terri Schaivo,” – Timely Topic Series, International Affairs Conference, The Isles of Shoals, Portsmouth, NH; July 2005

Authors Meets Critics Book Session, Michael Boylan’s A Just Society, Society of Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Group Meeting, American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, Boston Mass, December 2004

“The Right to Health Care and the Right to Die, “Tsinghua University, Beijing China; May 2004

“Medical Ethics in Japan” presentation Midcoast Hospital, Brunswick Maine, April 2004

”Sex, Suicide and Two Conceptions of Dignity,” American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Seattle Washington; March 2002

“Consequentialism, Contractualism, and the Dignity of Humanity,” University of Tennessee, Knoxville, April 2002

“Dignity, Double Effect, and the Right to Die,” conference on Maine’s Death with Dignity Act, Bioethics Center of the University of New England, Westbrook; June 2000

“Autonomy, Dignity, and the Right to Die, Presentation, Bates College, March 2000

“The Oregon Death with Dignity Act,” presentation Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick, March 2000

“Bernard Gert on Moral Ideals: Comment on Baron,” Conference on the Moral Philosophy of Bernard Gert, Dartmouth, May 1999

“Korsgaard’s Practical Identity Argument,” Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Berkeley, California, April 1999

“Kantian Community,” American Political Science Association, Annual Meeting, Boston MA, Sept.1998

“Gewirth and Contemporary Kantian Ethics,” Conference on the Moral Philosophy of Alan Gewirth at Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia, November 1997

“Author Meets Critics” Book Session on Kantian Consequentialism, Thomas Hill, Jr., Holly Smith, and David Cummiskey, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Berkeley, California; March 1997

“The Role of Medicine at the End of Life: International Perspectives and Policies,” International Affairs Conference, the Isles of Shoals, Portsmouth, NH; July 1996

“Is Maine Ready for Physician Aid in Dying” Maine Medical Association, Annual Meeting. The Balsams, Dixville Notch, NH; January 1995

“Kantian Revolution” Colby College, May 1995

“Physician Assisted Dying: Identifying the Issues”

  • Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor Maine, May 1995
  • Maine Bioethics Network, Bates College; March 1995

“Should Consequentialism be Afraid of its own Shadow?” Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Central, Kansas City MO, May 1994

“Dignity and Price”

  • University of New Hampshire, March 1994
  • Maine Philosophical Institute, April 1994

“Why Consequentialism is a Theory of the Right,” Commentator, American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, December 1993

“A Kantian Derivation of Consequentialism,”

  • Research Triangle Ethics Group, Chapel Hill, NC, April 1993
  • Pomona College, Claremont CA, March 1992

“Kantian Internalism and Consequentialism,” University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, March 1993

“Liberalism, Feminism, and the Objectivity of Morals,” University of Maine at Farmington, May 1992.

“Kant’s Theory of Coercion,” University of New Hampshire Colloquium on the History of Philosophy, September 1989

“Kant’s Refutation of Consequentialism,” American Philosophical Association, Central Division Meeting, April 1988

“Consequentialism, Egoism and the Moral Law,”

  • American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Meeting, March 1988
  • Northern New England Philosophy Association, October 1987

“Kantian Consequentialism: A Critique of Side-Constraints,”

  • American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Meeting, March 1987
  • Northern New England Philosophy Association, October 1986

“Dessert and Entitlement,” Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, March 1986

“The Right to Die: Liberty and Responsibility”

University of Tennessee Memorial Research Hospital, Knoxville (Spring 1986)

“Moral Issues Concerning Placebos,” University of Tennessee Memorial Research Hospital, Knoxville (Fall 1985)

Fellowships and Awards


Charles F. and Evelyn M. Phillips Faculty Fellowship, Bates College (2011-2012)

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (1991-1992)

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Newcombe Fellowship (1984-1985)


Christian A. Johnson Fund for Sabbatical Support and Akers Fund, Bates College (2018-19)
Research and Travel:  Buddhist Perfectionism, Kantian Liberalism, and Justice

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Self-Knowledge in Eastern and Western Philosophies
Charleston South Carolina (May 20-June 2, 2018)

Faculty Development Grant and Barlow Grant (2013-14)
Asian Bioethics Association, Chennai India
Site visits: SITA, Madurai India, and ISLE, Kandy Sri Lanka, off-campus study programs

Mellon Innovation Grant, Intercultural Ethics
Research Grant for the Study of Islam in France  (Fall 2011)

Harward Center for Community Partnerships
Research Grant for Publicly-Engaged Academic Projects (2011-12)

Mellon Innovation Grant: Working Group in Philosophy and Psychology (2008-09 & 2009-10)
Research Grant Co-Author and Principal Organizer for Speaker Series and Faculty Seminars: Joshua Greene, Paul Bloom, Joshua Knobe, Walter Glannon, Alva Noe, Roy Baumeister, Adina Roskies. Bennett Schwartz, Casey O’Callaghan, and Jesse Prinz

Bates Faculty Development Grants for travel and research: Schmutz and McGinty Grants
For travel to Kant in Asia Conference, Hong Kong (April 2009) and
3rd Islam and Bioethics International Conference, Antalya Turkey, (April 2010)

The Freeman Foundation, Asian Studies Initiative
Tibet:  Faculty Development Seminar, Research & Travel to Tibet (January-June 2005)
Japan: Faculty Development Seminar, Research & Travel to Japan (January- June 2004)

Freeman Foundation Grant for travel to the Sixth Asian Biomedical Ethics Conference & World Congress of Bioethics, Sydney Australia (2005)

Freeman Foundation & Tanaka Grants for the Study of Asia (Spring 2004):
Grant for Asian Study and Travel to the Fifth Asian Bioethics Conference Tskuba Japan, February 2004; and for travel to Beijing China for the International Conference on Kant’s Moral Philosophy, Peking University; and to Tsinghua University, Beijing for a presentation and a seminar on the Right to Die, May 2004

Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation faculty development seminar on Islam and the Muslim World. Johnson Scholar Research Topic: Islamic Medical Ethics (2002-03)
And Johnson Associate, Islam and the Muslim World (2003-04)

Bates Faculty Development Grants for travel and research (2002-2003)

Mellon Grant for Professional Travel and Expenses (1991-1992)