I am a bioethicist and writer. My professional training includes a Master of Divinity (Harvard University) and a PhD in religious ethics (University of Virginia). I research and write about a broad span of topics in bioethics, though I have concentrated most of my attention over the past several years to animal ethics and animal welfare.
I am the author of six books and a number of essays, chapters, and blog posts. My home is in beautiful Lyons, Colorado–the “double gateway to the Rockies”–where I live with my husband, daughter, dog, and cat. And some uninvited rattlesnakes.
My most recent publication is The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the Ends of Their Lives (University of Chicago Press 2012). The Last Walk is about the journey we take with our animals as they grow old and infirm and as we usher them toward death. The book weaves together a chronicle of the last year my dog Ody’s life with in-depth consideration of the practical and moral issues facing pet owners at the end of a companion animal’s life.
Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (University of Chicago Press 2009), co-authored with ethologist Marc Bekoff, draws on a rich and diverse body of research—from ethology to social neuroscience to experimental philosophy. Pierce and Bekoff show that animals have a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, forgiveness, trust, and reciprocity. In addition to changing our perceptions about animals, Wild Justice suggests that Western philosophy, and indeed Western common sense, may need to reconsider many of its fundamental axioms about human ethics.
Contemporary Bioethics: A Reader with Cases (Oxford University Press 2009). This introductory college-level bioethics text includes 8 chapters on the key topic areas in bioethics: death and dying, birth and the beginning of life, genetics and posthumanism, research ethics, justice in health care, and environmental bioethics. Each chapter includes introduction to the issues, a selection of readings representing a range of perspectives, and a set of case studies that guide the reader into further exploration of the moral issues.
Morality Play: Case Studies in Ethics (McGraw Hill 2005; Waveland Press 2011) is an engaging little book of ethics case studies draw from current events. The book covers a wide range of topics, including crime and punishment, education, reproductive rights, animal welfare, global environmental issues, and business ethics. It is mostly used as a supplementary text in college ethics courses, but is a lively read and is accessible to a broad audience.
The Ethics of Environmentally Responsible Health Care, written with fellow bioethicist Andrew Jameton, is the first sustained treatment of environmental issues in health care, and has been a clarion call for health professionals and ethicists alike to integrate environmental values into the everyday decision-making and vocabulary of health professionals. Drs. Pierce and Jameton, with funding from the Greenwall Foundation, developed the concept of a Green Health Center, a hypothetical health clinic grounded upon principles of ecologically sustainability.
Environmentalism and the New Logic of Business, co-authored with R. Edward Freeman and Richard Dodd (Oxford University Press, 2001). This book is now out of print.