Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Russell DiSilvestro

Title: Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

Office Location: 3000 Mendocino Hall

Email: rdisilv@csus.edu

Office Phone: (916) 278-6766

Mailing Address: Sacramento State 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6043

Office Hours: Spring 2024: Monday and Tuesday 12-1pm; but typically I am available by appointment, in-person (MND 3000) or Zoom (https://csus.zoom.us/j/97564568649)

Selected Courses

The Curriculum Vitae on the right has a more complete list.

  • Bioethics (PHIL 104) - Spring 2024 Syllabus and Schedule
  • Metaphysics (PHIL 181) - last taught Spring 2022, syllabi/schedule available on request

Research Interests

  • I work on the intersection between metaphysics and ethics, especially as it relates to contemporary bioethical issues involving the nature and moral status of human beings.

Selected Publications

The Curriculum Vitae on the right has a more complete list.


  • Human Capacities and Moral Status. Springer's Philosophy and Medicine book series, July 2010. Reviewed by Matthew Carey Jordan in American Journal of Bioethics. Reviewed by Jason T. Eberl in National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. Links to preview the book:  Springer  Amazon  Google books


  • (with Timothy Houk) “Concrete but not Crystalline: the Metaphysics of Human Persons,” in Mihretu P. Guta and Scott B. Rae (eds.), Taking Persons Seriously: Where Philosophy and Bioethics Intersect (Wipf and Stock, forthcoming)
  • “Teach Your Children Well: Origins, Rights, and the Education of ‘My’ Child,” in Michael Cholbi and Jaime Ahlberg (eds.), Procreation, Parenthood, and Educational Rights: Ethical and Philosophical Issues (Routledge, 2017).


  • “Gene Editing, Potential Persons, and Eugenic Concerns,” Dignitas 26:3-4 (combined issue 2019), pp. 16-25.
  • “Disability, Origin Essentialism, and the Problem of Differently Constituted Precursors,” Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability 1 & 6.2 (special combined issue on Disability and Bioethics, 2017), pp. 85-110. pdf

Open Peer Commentaries

  • (with Chong Choe-Smith, Timothy Houk, and Saray Ayala-Lopez) “The Road to HEAVEN is Paved With Good Intentions: Transplanting Heads, Manipulating Selves, and Reassigning Genders,” American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience 8:4 (November 2017), pp. 223-225.
  • (with Chong Choe-Smith and Timothy Houk) ““I Just Wanna Get My Self, or My Story, Back Again”: Narrative Identity, Neurosurgical Intervention, and the Temporary Change Argument,” American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience 8:3 (October 2017), pp. 178-180.


  • (with Nicholas Williams and Dan Weijers) “How AI Might Help us Die with Dignity and Fairness,” for the 10th workshop in Decisions, Games, and Logic (DGL), “Ethics, Statistics, and Fair AI,” California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, June 10-12, 2019.
  • “Virtual Reality and Dying with Dignity,” paper given to the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity Academy of Fellows meeting, “Emerging Issues in Bioethics,” Deerfield, Illinois, February 1-2, 2019.

Eagle Lake

The library quad

bike rider below Guy West Bridge

Guy West Bridge

Mexican Volcanic Belt cinder cones

Mariposa Hall

University Union

University Union