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Yale Bioethics

The 2010 Robert J. Levine Lecture

May 5 at 4 PM

ISPS, 77 Prospect Street, room A002 , New Haven CT

Click here to watch a video of this lecture.

About the Speaker: William F. May is a leading scholar in the field of medical ethics and a fellow of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life at the University of Virginia. In 2001, May retired after sixteen years as the Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University, where he also served as the first director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Following his retirement, he was a visiting professor at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. In 2009, he delivered the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary beginning Monday, October 5. The five-lecture series was titled “Testing the National Covenant: Dealing with Our Runaway Fears and Appetites.”

In 2007, he held the Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the Library of Congress, where he lectured on “The Containment of Fear in American Foreign Policy: Recovering Our National Identity.” Earlier, May held the Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Chair in Christian Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, and prior to that he taught at Smith College and founded and chaired the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. 

May is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University (1948), with B.D. (1952), and Ph.D. (1962) degrees from Yale University. He is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church USA, and has lectured widely in the United States and abroad. He served on the subgroup on “Ethical Foundations” for the Clinton Task Force on Health Care Reform and on the President’s Council on Bioethics, and was president of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics, and a founding fellow of the Hastings Center, where he has also co-chaired its research group on death and dying.

May has written widely on the moral and ethical obligations that health care professionals have to patients. In 2001 he published a study of eight professions under the title "The Beleaguered Rulers: The Public Obligation of the Professional." He also wrote "The Physician’s Covenant" (1982, Revised Edition 2000), "The Patient’s Ordeal" (1991) and "Testing the Medical Covenant: Euthanasia and Health Care Reform” (2004). 

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