St Cross Seminar: Dr Alberto Giubilini, "What is the problem with euthanasia?"

Past Event

26 January 2012, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

St Cross College
61 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LZ

This seminar is hosted by the Institute for Science and Ethics

Speaker: Dr Alberto Giubilini

Abstract:.The question "why is euthanasia morally problematic?" is twofold, although the two issues which compose it are often mixed up. The first question is: what is euthanasia? The second one is: why are some practices such as terminal sedation or withdrawal of disproportionate treatments considered morally permissible by those who do not consider euthanasia morally permissible? I will argue that a) "euthanasia" is defined by the intention to bring about a patient's death, rather than by its being an active killing, and b) the distinction between what is intentional and what is not does not represent, by itself, the morally problematic reason against euthanasia. Finally, I will clarify this expression, "by itself", by indicating the circumstances in which the intention to bring about a patient's death can become morally problematic. Such clarification will allow me to put forward the thesis that there is no sound moral reason against euthanasia.

Biography: Alberto Giubilini recently obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy-Bioethics from the University of Milan. Previously, he was Visiting Student at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Philosophy. His main research interest is in bioethics and, in particular, in the ethics of medical end-of-life decisions, about which he published a book (in Italian) entitled “Morals in the Time of Bioethics. Sense and Value of Autonomous Choice”. His research interests and publication record also cover the issues of abortion, of the ethics of the family and of the concept of “secular bioethics”. He published articles in peer reviewed Italian and international journals, including one about “what we owe to the ones who might exist” forthcoming in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. He has also been engaged in a published debate on the concept of “secular bioethics” with the American bioethicist Hugo Tristram Engelhardt.

This talk will be followed by a drinks reception and a dinner, and is open to all. However, those wishing to attend either the talk or dinner must email