Bioethics - Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science

About the Series

The Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science is a public seminar series in bioethics, with the goal of bringing scientists, philosophers, and policy-makers together in dialogue on current issues in bioethics.

Since the inception of the term in the early 1970’s, bioethics has developed both as a subfield within philosophy as well as a broadly defined discipline in its own right.  Bioethics can be conceived broadly as the study of questions of the right and the wrong ways to treat organic life, including questions not only concerning the lives of human beings - from euthanasia and abortion to healthy living and the use and misuse of medicine - but also includes questions concerning all living organisms and the ecological relationships between those organisms. The study of these questions has an ancient and global history.  

None of these issues can be addressed without consideration of their social and political implications.  Ethical issues frame our policy decisions and policy-makers seek to understand the ethical implications of those decisions.  The orientation of political or policy-oriented perspectives to ethical perspectives is both unique and uniquely deserving of greater attention.

Bioethical issues likewise connect philosophy and the sciences.  Scientists, engineers, and philosophers all face bioethical dilemmas in their work and daily lives.  The role of philosophers and policy-makers is to guide the discussion of these questions, to define a framework within which scientists and philosophers alike can come together in discussion, and to foster the development of policy solutions.

The growing need for education in bioethics and policy forms the background for this seminar series project.  The basic idea of the Purdue Bioethics Seminar Series originally developed out of a University fellowship awarded in 2006.  After proving to be successful, the series was able to gain sponsorship from partners across Purdue’s campus and expand.  Starting with the 2007-2008 academic year, the Series has been able to attract a wide range of nationally recognized speakers. The 2010-2011 academic year marked an evolution of the Series as the founding graduate student facilitators worked to secure sustainable funding for future series, leading to the renaming of the Seminar Series as the Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science.

The series is now managed and led annually by one graduate student facilitator and one faculty advisor from the Department of Philosophy. Thanks to continued support by our partners and continued success, we look forward to an exciting future!