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Event Summary

2024 Annual Uehiro Lectures: Professor Elizabeth Harman

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We were honoured to welcome Professor Elizabeth Harman, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and Human Values at Princeton University, to Oxford to deliver the 2024 Annual Uehiro Lectures in Practical Ethics. The three-part lecture series, entitled “Love and Abortion”, took place in the H B Allen Centre, Keble College, on 25 April, 2 and 9… Read More »2024 Annual Uehiro Lectures: Professor Elizabeth Harman

Event Summary: New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar: Should people have indefinite lifespans? Ethical and social considerations in life-extension, Professor João Pedro de Magalhães

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Written by: Dr Amna Whiston

 

On Thursday, 16th November 2023, Professor João Pedro de Magalhães, a prominent microbiologist specialising in ageing and longevity research, gave an engaging and personable New St Cross Ethics Seminar entitled: ‘Should people have indefinite lifespans? Ethical and social considerations in life-extension?’

Following a brief introduction to the biology of ageing, de Magalhães explained the potential intervening with the ageing process, in advance of discussing the ethical and social implications of extending life span. De Magalhães humbly noted at the beginning of his talk that the importance of ethical and social considerations of biomedical research is sometimes underappreciated by the scientists working in this area. However, he argued that the scientific effort to counter ageing is ethical since it aims to enable people to have long and healthy lives for as long as possible.Read More »Event Summary: New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar: Should people have indefinite lifespans? Ethical and social considerations in life-extension, Professor João Pedro de Magalhães

Event Summary: Hope in Healthcare – a talk by Professor Steve Clarke

In a special lecture on 14 June 2022, Professor Steve Clarke presented work co-authored with Justin Oakley, ‘Hope in Healthcare’. It is widely supposed that it is important to imbue patients undergoing medical procedures with a sense of hope. But why is hope so important in healthcare, if indeed it is? We examine the answers… Read More »Event Summary: Hope in Healthcare – a talk by Professor Steve Clarke

Just War, Economics, and Corporate Boycotting: A Review of Dr. Ted Lechterman’s 2022 St. Cross Special Ethics Seminar

Professor Larry Locke (University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and LCC International University)

One of the more worrisome aspects of the modern concentration of resources in large corporations is that it often allows them to have societal impact beyond the capability of all but the wealthiest persons. Notwithstanding that disparity of power, much of modern ethical discourse remains focused on the rights and moral responsibilities of individuals, with relatively little analysis for evaluating and directing corporate behavior. Dr. Ted Lechterman, of the Oxford Institute for Ethics in AI, has identified this gap in modern ethics scholarship. At the 10 February, 2022, St. Cross Special Ethics Seminar, he stepped into the breach with some pioneering arguments on the ethics of corporate boycotts.

Individuals boycotting companies or products, as an act of moral protest, is widely regarded as a form of political speech. Individual boycotts represent a nonviolent means of influencing firms and may allow a person to express her conscience when she finds products, or the companies that produce them, to be ethically unacceptable. These same virtues may be associated with corporate boycotts but, while relatively rare compared to boycotts by individuals, corporate boycotts may also introduce a series of distinct ethical issues. Dr. Lechterman sampled a range of those issues at the St. Cross Seminar.

  • As agents of their shareholders, should corporations engage in any activity beyond seeking to maximize profits for those shareholders?
  • Do corporate boycotts represent a further arrogation of power by corporate management, with a concomitant loss of power for shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders of the firm?
  • Because of their potential for outsized impact, due to their high level of resources, do corporate boycotts (particularly when directed at nations or municipalities) represent a challenge to democracy?
  • Under what circumstances, if any, should corporations engage in boycotting?

Read More »Just War, Economics, and Corporate Boycotting: A Review of Dr. Ted Lechterman’s 2022 St. Cross Special Ethics Seminar

Announcing the Winners and Runners Up in the 8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Please join us in congratulating all four of the finalists in the National Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2022, and in particular our winners, Matthew Price and Lily Moore-Eissenberg. This, the 8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was, for the first time, held as a National competition. From 5:30pm on the 15th… Read More »Announcing the Winners and Runners Up in the 8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Event Summary: Vaccine Policies and Challenge Trials: The Ethics of Relative Risk in Public Health

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St Cross Special Ethics Seminar, Presented by Dr Sarah Chan, 18 November 2021

In this St Cross Special Ethics Seminar, Dr Sarah Chan explores three key areas of risk in ‘challenge trials’ – the deliberate infection of human participants to infectious agents as a tool for vaccine development and improving our knowledge of disease biology.  Dr Chan explores a) whether some forms of challenge trials cannot be ethically justified; b) why stratifying populations for vaccine allocation by risk profile can result in unjust risk distribution; and c) how comparing these cases and the evaluation of relative risk reveals flaws in approach to pandemic public health.


Read More »Event Summary: Vaccine Policies and Challenge Trials: The Ethics of Relative Risk in Public Health

Special St Cross Seminar summary of Maureen Kelley’s: Fighting Diseases of Poverty Through Research: Deadly dilemmas, moral distress and misplaced responsibilities

Written By Tess Johnson

You can find the video recording of Maureen Kelley’s seminar here, and the podcast here.

Lately, we have heard much in the media about disease transmission in conditions of poverty, given the crisis-point COVID-19 spread and mortality that India is experiencing. Yet, much of the conversation is centred on the ‘proximal’—or more direct—causes of morbidity and mortality, rather than the ‘structural determinants’—or underlying, systemic conditions that lead to disease vulnerability in a population. As a result, much global health research is focussed on infectious disease treatment and prevention, rather than responses to the complex political, economic and social needs that underly disease in vulnerable communities. This can result not only in less efficient and effective research, but also moral distress for researchers, and a disconnect between research goals and the responsibility that researchers feel for addressing a community’s immediate needs.

In her Special St Cross Seminar last week, Maureen Kelley introduced her audience to these problems in global health research. Professor Kelley outlined, first, empirical findings evidencing this problem, a result of research she recently performed with the Ethox Centre’s REACH team, in collaboration with global health research teams around the world. Second, she linked this empirical work to theory on moral distress and researchers’ and institutions’ responsibilities toward participating communities in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).Read More »Special St Cross Seminar summary of Maureen Kelley’s: Fighting Diseases of Poverty Through Research: Deadly dilemmas, moral distress and misplaced responsibilities

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2021

Please join us in congratulating all of the finalists in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2021, and in particular our winners, Imogen Rivers and Lily Moore-Eissenberg. As the Uk continues to be in lockdown due to the pandemic, the 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was again held as a Zoom… Read More »Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2021