Maya J. Goldenberg | College of Arts

Maya J. Goldenberg

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x56367
MacKinnon 334


 My research addresses the fundamental epistemic question, “How do we know what to believe?” (or when are knowledge claims justified) in health care.  

My past scholarship has addressed this question in the pressing context of evidence-based medicine, the decision making framework that relies on clinical trial evidence (especially randomized controlled trials) to inform individual patient care. While evidence based medicine is the standard of best practice in health research and health care, there has been inadequate attention to the philosophical assumptions underlying this transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to the bedside.  The success of this knowledge transfer has ethical implications, as patients' health and well-being are at stake. 

More recently, I have broadened my research into the science-values complex to investigate vaccine hesitancy as illustrative of poor public trust in scientific institutions. See: Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021). 

Cross-appointment:  Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS) Program






PhD Michigan State Univerisity
MA  McGill University
BA  University of Toronto

“Understanding and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.” Bioethics Grand Rounds, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. May 20, 2021.

Public Panel: “The Death of Expertise” (with Harry Collins and Steven Sloman) 10th Annual Calgary Public Library Panel, Calgary, AB. May 7, 2020.

Keynote. Ontario Medical Association of Radiology Science. May 2, 2020.

“Symposium on Vaccine Hesitancy” (with Cailin O’Connor, Katherine, Furman, Stephen John) Cambridge University, April 28, 2020.

“COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Among Health Care Workers.” Ethics Grand Rounds, Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre. April 20, 2021
Panel Discussion: “Science Communication: Expertise and Public Trust” (with Heidi Larson, Tarun Menon, Vasudevan Mukunth). Eth.Sci.2021PhilSci India Group. April 2, 2020.

Invited Panelist for Pan-American Health Organization webinar for advanced practice nurses in Latin America: “What We Have Learned From COVID-19: The Role of Advanced Practice Nurses in Health Care.” March 30, 2021.

“Authors and Anecdotes Book Club: Featuring Maya Goldenberg.” University of Pittsburgh. March 2021.

“COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.” Panel with: Maxwell Smith, Vanessa, Gruben, moderator Jacob Shelley. February 11, 2021. Western Health Law Association, Western University.

“Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy.” Centre for Preventable Diseases Seminar Series, February 22, 2021. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Book Symposium on Vaccine Hesitancy. “Philosopher Meets Critics” new books series co-hosted by the University of Cologne and the Universidad de Federal de Bahia (Brazil), January 2021.

“Vaccine Hesitancy Among Health Care Workers.” Ethics Grand Rounds. William Osler Health Centre, Brampton, ON. January 26, 2021.

“Ethical Considerations on a COVID Vaccine.” Plenary Session, Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law. December 2020.

British Academy Expert Roundtable on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy (in coordination with the Social Science Research Council and the Science and Innovation Network)October 2020.

“COVID-19 Vaccination in an Era of Vaccine Hesitancy” [panelist] WHO Global Health Network “Epidemic Ethics” Webinar Series, October 2020.

Panel presentation to University of Guelph Board of Governors on COVID-19 research at the University of Guelph. October 2020.

2020-2021 Virtual book tour for Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science.

     Eastern Carolina University - “Dialogues in Humanities” public panel

     University Nationale Autonomous de Mexico – Department of Philosophy

     Washington University in Saint Louis – Department of Philosophy
     University of Texas at San Diego– Department of Philosophy
     Dalhousie University– Department of Philosophy

     University of Adelaide - Public Engagement in Science and Technology Research Collaboratory

     University of Haifa – Department of Philosophy

     McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy

     Michigan State University - Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science

     York College of Pennsylvania- public talk.  
     Durham University - CHESS: Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society
     Oxford University - TORCH: The Oxford Research Centre in Humanities

     University of Manitoba – Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics  
     Queen’s University Medical School – History of Medicine Interest Group

     University of Cincinnati - Center for Public Engagement with Science: “Vaccine Hesitancy. An Interview with Author Maya J. Goldenberg” hosted by the Mercantile Library  
     University of Cincinnati - Public Engagement with Science Research and Discussion Group

     Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Scientists.

 “Will Canadians Accept a COVID-19 Vaccine?” Café Bioethics, University of Toronto, June 2020.

“Trust in Science and Engineering/ Trust in Scientists and Engineers – Issues of Data-Driven Decision Making, Policy Issues and Data Sharing.” 4th Annual Ursula Franklin Forum on Science, Engineering and Society. Massey College, University of Toronto. March 2020.

“The Death of Expertise?” Public lecture as part of public lecture series “Evidence in the Age of Mass Information” hosted by the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, and London Public Library. London Public Library, London, ON. November 2019

Invited workshop participant. “Integrating Values in Evidence-Based Medicine.” London School of Economics, London, UK, October 2019.

Invited speaker for web-based Global Vaccination, September 16-23, 2019.

“A War on Science? The End of Expertise? Reframing the Problem of Expertise.” University of California at Irvine Philosophy Colloquium. Irvine, CA. May 2019.


(For full list, see

For full listing, see 

Upshur REG and MJ Goldenberg. “Countering Medical Nihilism by Reconnecting Facts and Values.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 84 (2020): 75-83.

"Rethinking Debates about Pediatric Vaccine Safety: A Feminist View." Routledge Hanbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science, eds. S. Crasnow and K. Intemann. Routledge, November 2020.

“Vaccines, Values and Science.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2019 April 8;191:E397-8.

Goldenberg, MJ and C McCron. “‘The Science is Clear!’ Media Uptake of Health Research into Vaccine Hesitancy.” In Knowing and Acting in Medicine. Ed. R. Bluhm. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Whose social values? Evaluating Canada's 'Death of Evidence' ControversyCanadian Journal of Philosophy 45:3 (2015): 404-424.

"Public Misunderstanding of Science?" Reframing the Problem of Vaccine Hesitancy." Perspectives on Science 24:5 (2016): 552-581.

"The Placebo Orthodoxy and the Double Standard of Care in Multinational Clinical Research,” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 36:1 (2015): 7-23.

Loughlin M, Bluhm R, Fuller J, Buetow S, Upshur REG, Borgerson K, Goldenberg MJ, Kingma E. "Philosophy, Medicine, and Health Care--Where We Have Come From and Where We are Going." Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20:6 (December 2014): 902-907.

"Diversity in Epistemic Communities: A Response to Clough." Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3:5 (April 2014): 25-30.

"How can Feminist Theories of Evidence Assist Clinical Reasoning and Decision-Making?" Social Epistemology  2013. doi: 10.1080/02691728.2013.794871.

"Is 'Scientifically-Informed yet Humanistic Medicine' the Solution to the Crisis of Modern Medicine? A Friendly Corrective to the Emergent Model of Person-Centered Medicine."  European Journal of Person-Centered Healthcare 2:1 (March 2014): 106-113.

Loughlin M, Bluhm R, Stoyanov D, Buetow S, Upshur REG, Borgerson K, Goldenberg MJ, Kingma E. "Explanation, Understanding, Objectivity, and Experience." Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19:3 (June 2013): 415-421.

Loughlin M, Bluhm R, Buetow S, Upshur REG, Goldenberg MJ, Borgerson K, Entwistle V, Kingma E. "Reason and Value: Making Reasoning Fit for Practice." Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 18:5 (October 2012): 929-937.

"Defining 'Quality of Care' Persuasively." Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33:4 (September 2012): 243-261.

"Evidence-Based Medicine." In Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. Eds. WC Cockerham, R Dingwall, S Quah.Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

"Innovating Medical Knowledge: Understanding Evidence-Based Medicine as a Socio-Medical Phenomenon". In: Evidence-Based Medicine: Closer to Patients or Scientists? Ed. Nikolaos Sitara. InTech Publications,2012.

"A Response to Sestini's (2011) Response." Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17:5 (October 2011): 1004-1005.

Loughlin M, Bluhm R, Buetow S, Upshur REG, Goldenberg MJ, Borgerson K, Entwistle V. "Virtue, Progress, and Practice." (Editor's Introduction) Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 17:5(October 2011): 839-846.

Working for the Cure: Challenging Pink Ribbon Activism.” In Configuring Health Consumers: Health Work and the Imperative of Personal Responsibility. Eds. R. Harris, N. Wathen, S. Wyatt. Amsterdam: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010: 140-159.

 “Perspectives in Evidence-based Women’s Health.” Journal of Women’s Health 19:7 (July 2010): 1235-1238.

 “From Popperian Science to Normal Science. Commentary on Sestini (2010).” Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16:2 (2010): 306-310.

 Loughlin M, Upshur REG, Goldenberg MJ, Bluhm R, Borgerson K. “Philosophy, Ethics, Medicine and Health Care: The Urgent Need for Critical Practice.” (Editors’ introduction) Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16:2 (2010): 249-259.

Clinical Evidence and the Absent Body in Medical Epistemology: On the Need for a New Phenomenology of Medicine.” International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 3:1 (Spring 2010): 43-71.

Iconoclast or Creed? Objectivism and Pragmatism in Evidence-Based Medicine’s Hierarchy of Evidence.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52:2 (Spring 2009): 168-187.*

Goldenberg MJ, Borgerson K, Bluhm R. “The Nature of Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine: Guest Editors’ Introduction.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52:2 (Spring 2009): 164-167.

Women’s Health.” Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Oxford University Press (2007): 441-444.

The Problem of Exclusion in Feminist Theory and Politics: A Metaphysical Investigation into Constructing a Catogory of 'Woman'." Journal of Gender Studies 16:2(June 2007): 139-153.

Secker, Barbara, Maya J Goldenberg, et al. “Just Regionalisation: Rehabilitating Care for People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses,” BMC Medical Ethics 7:3 (Aug 2006).

On Evidence and Evidence Based Medicine: Lessons from the Philosophy of Science,” Social Science & Medicine 62:11 (June 2006): 2621-2632.

Evidence Based Ethics? On Evidence Based Practice and the ‘Empirical Turn’ from Normative Bioethics,” BMC Medical Ethics 6:11 (Nov 2005).

Secker, Barbara, Frank Wagner, Maya J Goldenberg, et al.“Ethics of LHINS: Implications for People with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses.” [POLICY PAPER] Released: November 2005.

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.