If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


“My research focuses on trust, agency, and human reliance, particularly in the context of technology. We rely on and through technology in most of our pursuits — but when do we have reason to trust it?”

Research profile

Philip Nickel specializes on philosophical aspects of our reliance on others, including trust, consent, and testimonial belief.  Much of his research is in the domain of biomedical ethics, focusing on issues of consent and the mediation of care through technology and data.

Data collection and analysis promises to transform the practice of medicine and improve health. How can we introduce this transformation in a way that also promotes other values besides health, such as fairness, and the human need for knowledge and understanding?  How do we have to re-think traditional values in biomedical ethics such as trust and consent, in view of these changes? Current teaching topics related to this research program include risk and safety, as well as the ethics of technology. 

Academic background

Nickel received his doctorate in 2002 from the University of California, Los Angeles.  From 2003 to 2008 he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.  He is the author of many articles on trust, epistemic agency, and the ethics of biomedical research and a regular guest speaker.  Philip has spoken on invitation of University of Oxford, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport, the Oxford Internet Institute, VU Amsterdam and elsewhere.

In 2017, he began a multi-year interdisciplinary project in which the values of trust and consent are reconsidered in the context of mobile health care.  This project, entitled ‘Mobile Support Systems for Behavior Change’, examines network-based telecare systems (technologies and services that deliver health care to patients via software in the form of knowledge, coaching, persuasion, and self-monitoring). This was preceded by a project on trust in web-based telecare systems which ran in 2013-2014.

Affiliated with

  • Data Science Center Eindhoven 4TU Centre for Ethics and Technology Society for Philosophy and Technology American Philosophical Association

Partners in (semi-)industry

  • Philips

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Philip J. Nickel is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

trustworthiness Social Sciences
moral philosophy Social Sciences
basic need Social Sciences
Blended Learning Social Sciences
testimony Social Sciences
everyday life Social Sciences
pragmatics Social Sciences
uncertainty Social Sciences

Research Output 2008 2019

  • 79 Citations
  • 11 Article
  • 9 Chapter
  • 4 Conference contribution
3 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)

Sound trust and the ethics of telecare

Voerman, S. A. & Nickel, P. J., Feb 2017, In : Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 42, 1, p. 33-49 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Applied Ethics
World Wide Web
9 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)

On testimony and transmission

Carter, J. A. & Nickel, P. J., 2014, In : Episteme. 11, 2, p. 145-155 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Evolutionary Theory
7 Citations (Scopus)

Testimonial entitlement, norms of assertion and privacy

Nickel, P. J., 2013, In : Episteme. 10, 2, p. 207-217 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Norms of Assertion
7 Citations (Scopus)

Trust and Testimony

Nickel, P. J., 2012, In : Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. 93, 3, p. 301-316 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Voluntary belief on a reasonable basis

Nickel, P. J., 2010, In : Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 81, 2, p. 312-334 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Jonathan Adler

Activities 2013 2019

Moral uncertainty: toward an evaluative account

Philip J. Nickel (Speaker)
9 Dec 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

Centrum voor Ethiek en Gezondheid

Philip J. Nickel (Consultant)
10 Jul 2019

Activity: Consultancy typesConsultancyScientific

Trust in Security Automation: A Normative Account

Philip J. Nickel (Speaker)
2 May 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesContributed talkScientific

Workshop on Cybersecurity Ethics

Philip J. Nickel (Organiser)
17 Apr 201918 Apr 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesWorkshop, seminar, course or exhibitionScientific

Centrum voor Ethiek en Gezondheid (External organisation)

Philip J. Nickel (Member)
2019 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of committeeScientific

Press / Media

AI vraagt om debat

Philip J. Nickel & Tijn Borghuis


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

18 pessimistic opinions on the next 10 years of fake news (and 5 optimistic ones)

Philip J. Nickel


3 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

18 pessimistic opinions on the next 10 years of fake news (and 5 ...

Philip J. Nickel


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Student theses

Trusting the Black Box: factors influencing trust in algorithmic risk assessment within child welfare services

Author: Klomp, J., 20 Dec 2019

Supervisor: Snijders, C. C. (Supervisor 1), Nickel, P. J. (Supervisor 2) & Houkes, W. N. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master