Yale Bioethics Group Hosts Symposium October 6

A symposium tracing the evolution of medical ethics over the past three decades and predicting future developments will be held at Yale University October 6.

The event from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. is sponsored by the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and its Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project.

Titled “Paul Ramey’s Beecher Lectures of 1969: The Structure of an Ethical Revolution - And Beyond,” the symposium celebrates the 30th anniversary of another landmark conference held at Yale.

In the spring of 1969, Princeton ethicist Paul Ramsey presented the Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale as the centerpiece of a University-wide symposium on medical ethics sponsored by the Law, Divinity and Medical Schools.

Ramsey’s lecture focused on questions of care of the dying, the definition of death, research on human subjects, organ transplantation and the allocation of rare medical resources, questions of medical ethics that have since become part of the public consciousness.

The lectures were published in 1970 under the title “The Patient as Person,” a book that is credited with setting the direction of Western medical ethics for the next quarter-century.

The event is also designed to introduce the university community to the work being done by Yale’s Interdisciplinary Bioethics Committee.

The symposium will feature presentations by two renowned bioethicists: Albert Jonsen, professor of ethics in medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and William May, founding director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Responsibility and professor of ethics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Jonsen, who will speak after welcoming remarks at 8:30 a.m., was visiting emeritus professor-in-bioethics at Yale last year. May holds that post this year and next. He will speak at 10:30 a.m.

There will be a panel discussion at 12:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend the symposium free of charge.

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