January 18, 2007

Princeton professor examines legal implications of new technologies regarding use of embryos, stem cells and cloning


Robert George will argue that these are questions of biology, not ethics, on Jan. 24

A Princeton University professor will explore some of the legal implications of new technologies and provide a framework for evaluating current debates about legal restrictions on the use of embryos, stem cells and cloning during a lecture this month at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Robert P. George, the McCormick professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, editor of The Meaning of Marriage and author of The Clash of Orthodoxies, will discuss "The Embryo Question: Biotechnology and the Status of Nascent Human Life" on Wednesday, January 24, at 4 p.m. in Room A59 of the law school, which is located at 11075 East Boulevard. The free, public talk is being sponsored by the law school's Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts.

"We're delighted to have such a distinguished scholar speak at the law school about this timely and important topic," said Craig Nard, Tom J.E. and Bette Lou Walker Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts. "Our students and law professionals in the area will benefit greatly from his knowledge and expert analysis."

George's talk is designed to explore the role of science and philosophy in making legal arguments. He will consider the question of whether a human embryo is one thing, and a human being something else; or whether a human embryo is a human being at the earliest stage of its development. He also will argue that "this is a question of biology, not ethics, metaphysics or any other branch of philosophy. Nor is it a question that can or should be resolved by appeal to religious authority."

"The question then becomes: 'What is the moral status of human beings in the embryonic stage of development?'" says George. He will argue that this is a philosophical question, and he will consider answers to it that have been proposed by various participants in debates about the legitimacy of destroying human embryos. George will address arguments purporting to show that not all human beings are "persons" who, as such, possess inherent dignity and rights.

George serves as director of Princeton's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is also a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and a former presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. As a Judicial Fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court, he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award for his work.

A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, George earned a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University. He is the recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement for his contributions as a legal scholar, attorney with Robinson & McElwee and service as a member of the board of directors for numerous organizations, including the Council on Foreign Relations.

One free hour of CLE credit is available for lawyers who attend in person. For more information, call 216-368-3304 or visit http://law.case.edu/lectures. The lecture will be webcast live at http://law.case.edu/lectures.

For more information contact Laura M. Massie, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, January 18, 2007 02:33 PM | News Topics: Ethics, HeadlinesMain, Healthcare, Lectures/Speakers, School of Law

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.