M. Carmela Epright is a Professor of Philosophy at Furman University and a Clinical Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. She has served as a visiting scholar to the Medical University of South Carolina, The University of South Carolina Medical School’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and to the Institute for Applied Ethics at Dartmouth College.

Dr. Epright received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy and an M.A. in Applied Ethics from Loyola University, Chicago. She teaches courses in ethics, bioethics, gender and sexuality studies, and the philosophy of psychology.

In 2004 she was awarded the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching at Furman University.

In addition to her work as a professor, Dr. Epright serves as a clinical ethicist and ethics consultant to numerous medical entities, including the South Carolina Medical Association, the Medical University of South Carolina, and both branches of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Greenville and Columbia). She has published articles in bioethics, psychiatry, moral theory, and philosophy of law. Her current research focuses upon the evaluation and treatment of the criminally mentally ill. 


  • Piper Foundation Grant, $500,000. Grant currently supports a faculty seminar and speaker series that I direct to promote ethics across the curriculum initiatives at Furman University (2004-present)
  • Case Western Reserve University, Visiting Collaborators Grant, $5000. Grant supported collaborative research with Professor Sara Waller on a project involving brain based psychiatric research. April 2006
  • Mellon Foundation, Career Advanced Planning Grant. Provided a one course teaching reduction to support work as a visiting scholar at Dartmouth University's Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics, Spring and Summer 2005

Name Title Description


Medicine, Morality & Culture

This course will examine the ways in which our moral and cultural conceptions shape medicine and medical research as well as the ways that medicine and medical research shape our cultural understandings of health, wellness, and normal human functioning. Special attention will be given to historically controversial cases, for example: the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Nazi human experimentation, the Terri Schiavo case.


Field Work in Medicine

Extensive observation in the medical arena. Observations in several units of a local hospital, a psychiatric facility and at private homes and/or nursing home facilities with a hospice care organization. Emphasis is placed on the sociological and philosophical interpretations of observations.Only available with PHL-302 and SOC-234 by application only.


Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to some of the classic problems of philosophy, with emphasis on understanding the nature of philosophical reflection and reasoning. Includes epistemology, ethics, metaphysics and other major branches of philosophy.



The nature of morality, the grounds of moral obligation, and the principles of moral decision-making according to classical philosophers.


Philosophy of Gender

Examination of competing feminist theories. For example, liberal feminism, socialist or Marxist feminism, radical feminism and others. Analysis of the philosophical assumptions concerning women and women146s situations that underlie each view, to examine the philosophical traditions from which each theory is developed and the philosophical theories in opposition.


Clinical Medical Ethics

Intersection of major moral theories with health care delivery systems. Topics addressed include refusal of life-saving treatment, autonomy and paternalism in health care, and allocation of scarce medical resources. Course requires participation in clinical rotations at several health care facilities. Course must be enrolled with IDS-301 and SOC-234.



A philosophical analysis of contemporary moral problems in biomedical ethics. Topics discussed will include eugenics, human experimentation, research involving vulnerable populations, and the role of autonomy in healthcare. Students will be asked to consider case studies, films, and texts related to moral questions arising from medical practice.


Philosophy of Psychology

An examination of mental health, mental illness, and moral psychology. Course will consider the various conceptions of the self, personhood, and human nature at the root of traditional theories of psychology. Topics discussed will include: personal identity, freedom, decision-making, and autonomy. Course will consider ways in which persons are categorized as mentally healthy or ill and evaluate approaches to the treatment of mentally ill persons.


Medical Sociology

Introduction to the sociological study of medicine and the applications of sociology in medicine, emphasizing the sociocultural aspects of health and illness. Requires extensive field work at a Greenville hospital. Entry is by application only. Course must be enrolled with PHL-302 (28) and IDS-301.

  • Furman University's "Meritorious Teaching Award," 2004
  • Furman University Full Year Sabbatical Award, Supported a full year/full pay sabbatical during 2012-2013 academic year to permit research project in forensic psychiatry
  • "The Burnett-Freeman Philosophy Professor of the Year Award" 2010
  • Furman University's "Maiden Invitational Diversity Award," 2005
  • "Life and Death at Furman University," The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 30, 2004 (Article highlighting the bioethics program that I co-direct)
  • Greenville's Best and Brightest Under 35, Greenville Magazine, May 2002
  • Finalist, American Philosophical Associations' Kavka Prize, for the article, "Impartialism, Care and the Self" (Philosophy in the Contemporary World, vol 4, no. 3, 6-14, Fall 1997)
  • "Coercing Future Freedom." Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Volume 38, Issue 4, Winter 2010
  • "Conundrums in Mental Health: Cases and Controversies" (with Robert Sade), Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Volume 38, Issue 4, Winter 2010
  • "Dexter Morgan: Vigilante Hero or Pathetic Rule Follower?" (With Sarah Worth) Dexter and Philosophy, New York: Open Court, 2012
  • "Neuro-Enhancement: Warning, Autonomax may be Necessary" (With Sara Waller), Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, vol. 5, no. 1, 2011
  • "Caring About the Mentally Ill: Autonomy, Freedom, and Care Ethics." Reinterpretations, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009
  • "Embracing the 'F' Word: Young Women, Feminism, Fear." American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, Fall 2006
  • "Four Principles of Bioethics," Appendix IV, in Ethics and Public Health in an Age of Terrorism, University of South Carolina Press, 2007
  • "Bioethics and Justice: Economics, Care, and Conflict," in Ethical Humanism, Bioethics, and Justice, New York: Prometheus Press, 2006 "After Schiavo: 40 Years of Bioethics and Politics," in Ethical Humanism, Bioethics, and Justice, New York: Prometheus Press, 2006. "Rights, Liberties and the Response to Terrorism," in The Fate of Democracy, New York: Prometheus Press, 2006
  • "Honoring Feminism's Past, Envisioning an Embodied Future," in "Feminism and The Body," a Special Edition of Philosophy in the Contemporary World, vol. 11, no. 1, 105-107, Spring—Summer 2003
  • "Shaming Teen-Aged Mothers: Humiliation, Harm, Community" in Against Ourselves: Sanctioned Mutilations, Charleston, S.C.: Emrys Press, 2003
  • "Philosophical Counseling: A Paradigm for Clinical Medical Ethics?" Philosophy in the Contemporary World, vol. 10, no 2, Fall – Winter 2003
  • "Impartialism, Care, and the Self," Philosophy in the Contemporary World, vol. 4, no. 3, 6-14, Fall 1997
  • Edited Collections "Conundrums and Controversies in Mental Health and Illness," a Special Edition of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, vol.38, no. 4, Winter 2010
  • "Feminism and the Body," a Special Edition of Philosophy in the Contemporary World, vol. 11, no. 1, 105-107, Spring—Summer 2004.
Loyola University
M.A., Applied Ethics
Loyola University
M.A., Philosophy
Loyola University
Clinical Ethics Appointments
  • Clinical Professor
    Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Columbia)

  • Board Member
  • Medical University of South Carolina, Ethics Committee (2011-present)

  • Consultant
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System (2003-2008)

  • Consultant
  • Ethics Consult Service, Greenville Memorial Hospital (2000-present)

  • Consultant
  • Institute for Evidence-Based Neuromusculoskeletal Care (2010-present)
  • Consultant
  • Medical University of South Carolina, Consult Service (2011-present)

  • Consultant
  • South Carolina Medical Association Bioethics Committee (1999-present)

  • Consultant
  • SpringBrook Behavioral Healthcare (2001-2012)

  • Consultant
  • VistaCare Hospice (2000-2010)

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