Professor of Law
Areas of Expertise
A.B., Princeton University
J.D., Stanford Law School
An article by Professor Adam Kolber recently placed among the top 10 downloads of Criminal Law and Procedure papers on SSRN, the world’s top open-access repository for scholarly research.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Professor Adam Kolber commented on the pending case of a Connecticut couple who lost custody of their teenager over allegations of medical child abuse. The case has drawn national attention to sensitive disputes between doctors and parents over appropriate treatment for children.
Professor Adam Kolber was referred to by American Medical News about whether or not doctors should disclose the use of placebos to their patients. Among several experts, he explained that deceptive use of placebos should be done sparingly, but is not categorically prohibited.
Professor Adam Kolber spoke to Metro about a new drug that may reduce prejudice in users. "It’s an interesting area of research but it also raises serious ethical questions," said Professor Kolber, noting that "implicit racism" is difficult to measure.
USA Today explores the ongoing debate over memory-dampening drugs, which proponents argue will help millions of people with post-traumatic stress disorders, including veterans and assault victims. Along with medical researchers and neuroscientists, Professor Adam Kolber, an expert in bioethics, defends the treatment. He told USA Today, "We ask people in emergency rooms to make all sorts of hard decisions. Asking them whether they would like the emotional toll of their memories lowered doesn't seem too much."
American geologists are closely watching the trial of six Italian scientists and one government official who have been charged with manslaughter for not warning the public enough about an impending earthquake in 2009 that killed over 300 people. Professor Adam Kolber assures though, speaking to LiveScience, that such a case would not go forward in the U.S. He explains that a manslaughter conviction would require proof the scientists knew their statements could directly cause someone's death. He adds, "To the extent that they're giving their scientific opinions, there's a First Amendment interest in protecting the speech."
BBC Radio's World Today program featured Professor Adam Kolber about the ethical predicament of memory dampening. Professor Kolber penned an article for Nature Magazine defending the use of pharmaceutical drugs that soften the feelings of those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who are dealing with painful memories. Along with Art Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Kolber discussed the possible outcomes that such treatment might cause.
The Independent explores recent developments in drugs that may be used to soften painful memories of those suffering from post-traumatic stress. While some ethicists suggest that altering memories may alter a person's personality and sense of self, Professor Adam Kolber argues that fears about pharmaceutical memory manipulation are exaggerated. He explains, "Some memories, such as those of rescue workers who clean up scenes of mass destruction, may have no redeeming value. Drugs may speed up the healing process more effectively than counselling, arguably making patients more true to themselves than they would be if a traumatic experience were to dominate their lives."
Professor Adam Kolber will be a panelist at the World Science Festival's salon discussion "Manipulating Memory." The panel will include experts in neuroscience and bioethics to discuss the latest progress in memory research and memory enhancement. Professor Kolber teaches health law, bioethics, and neuroethics.
In his Slate.com article, Christopher Beam explores the varied ways that prisoners experience punishment and incarceration. He addresses the issue brought to light by a lawsuit filed in The Hague by a 500 pound Dutch prisoner who argues that his small cell size violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Beam quotes Professor Adam Kolber's Columbia Law Review article "The Subjective Experience of Punishment" in which he writes, "We have certain obligations to take subjective experience into account when sentencing or when establishing sentencing policies."