2008 October Colloquium

View schedule

View news release, audio and video

The Ethical Use of Biotechnology

Science and Ethics in Animal Research and Perfecting Humans

When is it right, and when is it wrong, for humans to use and study animals for our own benefit? Should we strive to “perfect” people through genetic engineering? Explore the future of bioethics in the opening event of the 2008-09 Amherst College Colloquium Series, starting Friday, Oct. 17.

We welcome renowned philosophers Michael Sandel, whose seminar is titled “The Case Against Perfection: What’s Wrong with Designer Children,” and Peter Singer, who will ask, “What Should Be the Ethical Limits of Animal Use?” The seminars will be followed by a public forum with both guest speakers.

Registration is now closed. Enrollment was limited, and you are expected to attend both seminars and the public forum. Books have been provided,authored by both professors so that you may prepare to participate. The entire colloquium is free of charge.

Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. He has taught political philosophy at Harvard since 1980 and is known for his course “Justice” and for seminars on the ethical implications of a variety of biotechnological procedures and possibilities. His many books include The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering (Harvard University Press, 2007) and Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics (Harvard University Press, 2005). His writings also appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The New York Times.

Singer spent much of his career in Melbourne, Australia, before becoming the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values. He is perhaps the best-known contemporary proponent of the view, based on utilitarian principles, that animals have the same moral status as humans. He publishes several books per year, the most famous of which is Animal Liberation (Harper Collins, 1975).