Kristin Shrader-Frechette

O'Neill Family Professor of Philosophy Emerita



Ph.D., University of Notre Dame 

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Quantitative Risk Assessment


Besides her degrees in mathematics and in philosophy, Shrader-Frechette did postdoctoral work for 2, 1, and 2 years, respectively, in biology, economics, and hydrogeology. She held professorships at the University of California and the University of Florida. For 28 years, the US NSF has funded Shrader-Frechette’s research, and recently she finished work as PI on a $224,000 NSF grant on ethical/scientific issues associated with worker exposure to ionizing radiation. Shrader-Frechette has authored more than 400 scholarly articles and 17 books, and her work has been translated into 13 different languages. The national academies of science of three nations have asked her to address them, and she was the first female President of three groups--the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT), the Risk Assessment and Policy Association (RAPA), and the International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE). Serving on the editorial boards of 22 professional journals, she also has been an advisor to, or member of, many boards/committees, including those of the US National Academy of Sciences, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Council on Radiation Protection, Philosophy of Science Association, American Philosophical Association, World Congress of Philosophy, UN, WHO, and International Commission on Radiological Protection. In 2004 Shrader-Frechette became only the third American to win the World Technology Award in Ethics. In 2007,Catholic Digest named her one of 12 "Heroes for the US and the World" because of her pro-bono environmental-justice (EJ) work with minority and poor communities.  In 2011, Tufts University gave her the Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award for her research and pro-bono public-health and EJ work.

Representative Publications

  • “How Some Scientists and Engineers Contribute to Environmental Injustice,” US National Academy of Engineering: The Bridge 47, no. 1 (2017): 36-44.
  • “Pesticides, Neurodevelopmental Disagreement, and Bradford Hill’s Guidelines,” with Christopher ChoGlueck, Accountability in Research 24, no. 1 (2017);
  • “ ‘Special-Interest Science’ Harms Diesel-Polluted Communities Like East Los Angeles,” with Catherine McQuestion, Journal of Community Medicine and Public-Health Care 2016, 3: 016;
  • “State-Variable and Representativeness Errors Conceal ‘Clean Diesel’ Harm: Methodologically Fallacious ACES Research,” Journal of Environment and Health Sciences 1, no. 3 (2015); doi: 10.15436/2378-6841.15.019.
  • “Resolving Scientific Controversy over Smelter Risks and Neurodegenerative Effects of Metals,” with  R. Thomas, AIMS Environmental  Science 2, no. 1 (2015): 42-72; doi: 10.3934/environsci.2015.1.42 .
  • “Wearing  Glaucon’s  Ring,  Stopping  Invisible  Pollution  Harms: Epigenetic  Toxins,  Child  Malprogramming,  Disease-Dysfunction,”  in  XXIII World Congress of Philosophy Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life, ed. Konstantine Boudouris, Costas Dimitracopoulos and Evangelos Protopapadakis, keynote paper for “Technology and Environment” (Bowling Green, Ohio: Philosophy and Documentation Center, 2015),  pp. 281-286.
  • “Distributive Justice, Participative Justice, and the Principle of Prima Facie Political Equality,” in Steve Vanderheiden (ed.), Environmental Justice (Farnham, Surrey UK: Ashgate, 2015).
  • “Flawed Science Delays Smelter Cleanup and Worsens Health,” with M. Spear and R. Thomas,   Accountability in Research 22, no. (2015): 41-60; doi: 10.1080/08989621.2014.939746.
  • “Biomass and Effects of Airborne Ultrafine Particulates: Lessons About State Variables in Ecology,” Biological Theory 8, no. 1 (April 2013): 44-48.
  • "Technocratic Threats to Human Rights," in C. Holder and D.  Reidy (eds), Human Rights (Cambridge: University Press, 2013), pp. 246-268.
  •  "Randomization and Rules for Causal Inferences in Biology,"Biological Theory 6, no. 2 (2012):154-161.
  •   "Research Integrity and Conflicts of Interest," Accountability in Research 19 (2012):220-242.
  • " Symmetrical Transparency in Science,” with N. Oreskes, Science332, no. 6030 (2011): 663-664.
  •  "Conceptual Analysis and Special-Interest Science," Synthese 177 (2010): 449-469. 
  • “Statistical Significance in Biology,” Biological Theory 3, no. 1 (2008): 12-16.
  •  "Ideological Toxicology: Invalid Logic, Science, and Ethics about Low-Dose Exposures," Biological Effects of Low-Level Exposures 14, no. 4 (January 2008): 3-47; reprinted in Human and Experimental Toxicology 27 (2008): 647-57.
  • "Relative Risk and Methodological Rules for Causal Inferences,"Biological Theory 2, no. 4 (2007): 332-336.
  •  "Human Rights and Duties to Alleviate Environmental Injustice,"Journal of Human Rights 6 (2007): 1- 24.
  •  “Comparativist Philosophy of Science and Population Viability Assessment in Biology," Philosophy of Science 73, no. 5 (December 2006): 817-828.
  •  "Natural Rights and Human Vulnerability," in John Inglis (ed.), Aquinas (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 261-286.


  • Tainted: How Philosophy of Science Can Expose Bad Science (2014)
  • What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power (2011)
  • Taking Action, Saving Lives: Our Duties to Protect Environmental and Public Health (2007)
  • Environmental  Justice (2003); Italian translation forthcoming
  • Technology and Values, coeditor (1997)
  • The Ethics of Scientific Research (1994)
  • Method in Ecology, coauthored with E. McCoy (1993)
  • Burying Uncertainty: Risk and the Case Against Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste (1993)
  • Policy for Land: Law and Ethics, coauthored with L. Caldwell (1993)
  • Expert Judgment in Assessing Radwaste Risks (1992)
  • Risk and Rationality (1991); Italian translation (1993), Japanese translation (2007)
  • Nuclear Energy and Ethics (1991)
  • Risk Analysis and Scientific Method (1985)
  • Science Policy, Ethics, and Economic Methodology (1985); Italian translation forthcoming
  • Four Methodological Assumptions in Risk-Cost-Benefit Analysis (1983)
  • Environmental Ethics (1981, 1998); Japanese translation (1992); Korean translation forthcoming
  • Nuclear Power and Public Policy (1980, 1983); Spanish translation (1983)