Romanell Center Speaker Series.

Romanell Center Spring 2021 Speaker Series

March 19, 2021, 3:00 to 5:00 pm via Zoom

Stephen Kershnar, PhD

Bioethics Collapses: The Problem of Coming to Own One’s Self

March 19, 2021, Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, join us online as Stephen Kershnar delivers the talk, "Bioethics Collapses: The Problem of Coming to Own One’s Self". The event is part of the Spring 2021 Speaker Series hosted by the Romanell Center. For further information contact Jonathan Vajda,

Abstract: The various features of bioethics center around a person’s right to decide what happens to her body and what she may do with it. This is true for patients and medical professionals. Our intuitions concerning rights in bioethics are similar to our intuitions concerning rights in other areas. Consider, for example, rights concerning movement, privacy, religion, sex, speech, and thought. Intuitively, these rights are consistent with one another, trump other moral considerations, and can be lost. If people were to own themselves, this would provide a unified explanation of what justifies other rights, what particular rights people have, why these particular rights are consistent with one another, and why these particular rights have certain features, such as trumping utility. Here I explore whether people own themselves.  

Steve Kershnar.

Steve Kershnar

Bio: Stephen Kershnar, PhD, is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has written one hundred articles and book chapters on such diverse topics as abortion, adult-child sex, affirmative action, capitalism, discrimination, equal opportunity, hell, most valuable player, pleasure, pornography, punishment, reparations for slavery, sexual fantasies, slavery, and torture. He is the author of ten books, including Desert Collapses: Why No One Deserves Anything (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis, forthcoming), Total Collapse: The Case Against Morality and Responsibility (New York: Springer, 2018), and Abortion, Hell, and Shooting Abortion-Doctors: Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense? (New York: Routedge/Taylor & Francis, 2017).   Faculty profile.