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Sean A. Valles, Ph.D.

Sean A. Valles
  • Associate Professor
  • History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Holmes Hall, E-25B
  • 919 E. Shaw Lane
  • East Lansing, MI 48825
  • (517) 884-0592


  • LB 133: Introduction to History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science
  • LB 321B: Science and the Public: What kind of scientist do I want to be?
  • LB 492: Senior Seminar: Human experimentation


Sean Valles is an associate professor with an appointment in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy.

His research—including his 2018 book Philosophy of Population Health: Philosophy for a New Public Health Era—explores the ethical and evidentiary questions laying beneath scientific research on the health of human populations:

  • What does it mean to be healthy? 
  • How can we make sense of the ways that racism and other social injustices affect health?
  • How can we more justly distribute health benefits and harms in diverse societies?

His teaching relatedly focuses on understanding the goals and limits of biomedical sciences:

  • How are biomedical science and clinical medicine related?
  • What are the are the strengths and weaknesses of the ways we test the safety and efficacy of drugs?
  • What are the ethical responsibilities of a biomedical scientist?
  • How do US health challenges compare to other countries’ challenges?


  • Ph.D., History and Philosophy of Science with minors in Genetics and in Philosophy, as well as competencies in French and in Logic, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • M.A. History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • B.A., Liberal Arts, with concentrations in philosophy and the history of math and science, St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD)


  • Valles, SA (2019) A pluralistic and socially responsible philosophy of epidemiology field should actively engage with social determinants of health and health disparities. Synthese. Online First. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02161-5
  • Valles, SA (2017) Some comments about being a philosopher of color and the reasons I didn’t write a (real) paper for this (seemingly) ideal venue for my work. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (online supplement).
  • Valles, S. A., Luckie, D. B., Montgomery, G. M., Simmons, E. H., Sweeder, R. D., & Zeleke, A. (2016). Updating the Two Cultures: How structures can promote interdisciplinary cultures. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 48(6), 28-35.
  • Valles, SA (2016) Race in Medicine. In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine, edited by M. Solomon, J. R. Simon and H. Kincaid. New York: Routledge, 419-431.
  • Valles SA (2016) The Challenges of Choosing and Explaining a Phenomenon in Epidemiological Research on the “Hispanic Paradox”. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 37 (2), 129-148
  • Valles SA, Bhopal RS, Aspinall PJ (2015) Census Categories for Mixed Race and Mixed Ethnicity: Impacts on Data Collection and Analysis in the US, UK and NZ. Public Health, 129 (3), 266-270.
  • Katikireddi SV and Valles SA (2015) Coupled Ethical–Epistemic Analysis of Public Health Research and Practice: Categorizing Variables to Improve Population Health and Equity, American Journal of Public Health, 105 (1), e36-e42 [Open Access]
  • Valles SA (2015) Bioethics and the Framing of Climate Change’s Health Risks. Bioethics, 29(5), 334-341.
  • Valles SA (2012) Heterogeneity of Risk within Racial Groups, a Challenge for Public Health Programs. Preventive Medicine, 55(5), 405-408.
  • Valles SA (2012) Should Direct to Consumer Personalized Genomic Medicine Remain Unregulated? A Rebuttal of the Defenses. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 55(2), 250-265.


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