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Philosophy & Religion | McDowell Conference

15th Annual McDowell Conference
Fall 2005 Program


Friday, November 4, 2005
Boardroom, Butler Pavilion
1:00 pm to 6:00 pm



1:00 pm - 3:30 pm Session I:

“What We Owe to Future People”
Jeffrey Reiman, William Fraser McDowell Professor of Philosophy, American University

“The Ethics of Using Genetics to Make Better People”
Dan W. Brock, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics; and Director, Division of Medical Ethics, Department of Social Medicine; at Harvard Medical School

“Genetics and the Ethics of Domination”
Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, Ryan Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy, Georgetown University

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Refreshments

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm Session II:

“What Would It Take to Change Human Nature and Should We Try?”
Norman Daniels, Mary B. Saltonstall
Professor and Professor of Ethics and
Population Health,
Harvard School of Public Health

“The Particularity of "Perfectibility": Genetics, Diversity, and the Morality of Inclusion”
Adrienne Asch, Edward and Robin
Milstein Professor of Bioethics, Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work

“Ethics: A Scientist's Perspective”
Lynne Arneson, Assistant Professor of Biology, American University



Lynne Arneson is an Assistant Professor of Biology at American University. She was a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at the Washington University in St. Louis, and in the Department of Pathology/Committee for Immunology at the University of Chicago. Arneson received her Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Chicago (thesis: “The Role of Invariant Chain Multimerization in MHC Class II Trafficking”). In her current research, Dr. Arneson uses molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches to examine questions relating to metabolism and metabolic disorders. Awards and honors include the Zitnik Fellow, American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate, 1999 – 2000; and the Wieman-Wendall Award, University of Cincinnati, 1990.

Adrienne Asch, who previously held the Henry R. Luce Professorship in Biology, Ethics and the Politics of Human Reproduction at Wellesley College, joined the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in August 2005 as Edward and Robin Millstein Professor of Bioethics. Dr. Asch, a world renowned bioethicist and authority on the rights of the disabled, holds both an M.S. in Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Columbia University. She has served on the New Jersey Commission on Legal and Ethical Problems in the Delivery of Heath Care, as a senior Human Rights Specialist with the New York State Division of Human Rights, as a member of the Social Security Administration’s Commission Childhood Disability, and as a consultant to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing (DHHS). In 2003 she was a Fellow at the Hastings Center. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Swarthmore College in 2001. She is the author or co-author of numerous books, monographs and articles dealing with reproductive rights, disabilities, and bioethics. While based at Wurzweiler, she will also play an active role at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She will play a key role in the University’s evolving Center on Bioethics and Civilization.

Dan W. Brock is the Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Social Medicine and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the Harvard Medical School. He is also Director of the Harvard Program in Ethics and Health. Previously he was Senior Scientist and a member of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. Until July 2002, he was Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. University Professor, Professor of Philosophy and Biomedical Ethics, and Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Brown University where he had a joint appointment in the Philosophy Department (of which he was Chair in 1980-86) and in the Medical School. He received his B.A. in economics from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. He served as Staff Philosopher on the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine in 1981-82, and in 1993 was a member of the Ethics Working Group of the Clinton Task Force on National Health Reform. He is the author of over 150 articles in bioethics and in moral and political philosophy, co-author of From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice (with Allen Buchanan, Norman Daniels and Daniel Wikler).

Norman Daniels is Mary B. Saltonstall Professor and Professor of Ethics and Population Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He has degrees from Wesleyan (B.A. Summa, 1964), Balliol College, Oxford (B.A., First Honors, 1966), and Harvard (Ph.D., Plympton Dissertation Prize, 1971). His most recent books include Seeking Fair Treatment: From the AIDS Epidemic to National Health Care Reform (Oxford, 1995); Benchmarks of Fairness for Health Care Reform (Oxford, 1996); and co-author of Is Inequality Bad for Our Health? (Beacon, 2000) (with Bruce Kennedy and Ichiro Kawachi); Setting Limits Fairly (Oxford, 2002) (with Jim Sabin); and From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice (Cambridge, 2000) (with Allen Buchanan, Dan Brock, and Dan Wikler).

Alfonso Gomez-Lobo is the Ryan Family Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Georgetown University. He has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics. Born in Chile in 1940, Professor Gomez-Lobo has taught at Georgetown since 1977. He studied at the Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile; the University of Athens, Greece; and three German universities: Tübingen, Munich and Heidelberg. While at Munich, he completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy, Classics and Ancient History magna cum laude in 1966. He is the recipient of several awards including research fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. His publications include a Spanish translation of selected works of G. Frege and numerous articles on Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle.

Jeffrey Reiman is the William Fraser McDowell Professor of Philosophy at American University. He is the author of In Defense of Political Philosophy (Harper & Row, 1972), Justice and Modern Moral Philosophy (Yale, 1990), Critical Moral Liberalism: Theory and Practice (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), The Death Penalty: For and Against (with Louis Pojman) (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice, 7th ed. (Allyn & Bacon, 2004), and more than fifty articles in philosophy and criminal justice journals and anthologies.