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"Today's Ethical Issues" - Euthanasia and Physician-assisted Suicide

Leonard J. Berkowitz
9/9/2009 —

Euthanasia (mercy killing) and physician-assisted suicide are hot topics today as people debate whether it is ever morally acceptable for a physician to end a person’s life.  Court cases from Karen Quinlan in 1976 to Terri Schiavo in 2005, as well as recent discussions about health care reform, have kept the controversy about physician-assisted dying in the news. Penn State York’s “Today’s Ethical Issues” free lecture/discussion series focusing on the critical ethical issues of today takes on the topics of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide when it gets underway Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center of York.  This is the third year for this free lecture series that is open to the public. 

Each year “Today’s Ethical Issues” focuses on one major ethical issue. Last year’s issue was the morality of the death penalty while morality and war was the topic the first year of the program.  The program takes place in four locations in York County with six sessions at each location.  A complete listing of times and locations can be found at the end of the story.

Leonard J. Berkowitz, associate professor of philosophy at Penn State York and an award-winning instructor, continues his highly successful lecture and discussion series focusing on current ethical issues.  A faculty member at Penn State York since 1972, Berkowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Duke University and a master’s and doctorate in philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University.  Among the philosophy courses he teaches at the campus are critical thinking, symbolic logic, ethics and social issues, and medical and health care ethics.

Berkowitz will lead discussions about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide and discuss court cases surrounding physician-assisted dying.  Several sessions will be devoted to examining the arguments for and against euthanasia as participants consider when, if ever, it is morally permissible to assist a person in dying.  The focus of these sessions will be on the analysis and discussion of the major issues and arguments.  Other sessions will focus on the ethical aspects of recent legal decisions and on the experience of Oregon and the Netherlands, where physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia have been legalized.

“Today’s Ethical Issues” is funded by a grant from the Grumbacher Family Foundation.  For more information about the series, please contact Berkowitz at (717) 771-4159 or ljb1@psu.edu. You may also view the brochure for additional information.

“Today’s Ethical Issues” - Schedule for 2009-10

All sessions are free and open to the public

Jewish Community Center of York         
2000 Hollywood Drive, York

  • September 15 (10:30 a.m.)
  • October 27 (10:30 a.m.)
  • December 1 (10:30 a.m.)
  • February 16 (10:30 a.m.)
  • March 2 (10:30 a.m.)
  • April 6 (10:30 a.m.)

Martin Library
159 East Market Street, York

  • September 17 (11:00 a.m.)
  • October 15 (11:00 a.m.)
  • November 19 (11:00 a.m.)
  • February 18 (11:00 a.m.)
  • March 18 (11:00 a.m.
  • April 15 (11:00 a.m.

Heritage Senior Center
3700 Davidsburg Rd., Dover

  • September 22 (10:00 a.m.)
  • October 8 (10:00 a.m.)
  • November 10 (10:00 a.m.)
  • February 9 (10:00 a.m.)
  • March 23 (10:00 a.m.
  • April 20 (10:00 a.m.)

White Rose Senior Center
27 S. Broad Street, York

  • September 24 (10:30 a.m.)
  • October 22 (10:30 a.m.)
  • November 12 (10:30 a.m.)
  • February 25 (10:30 a.m.)
  • March 25 (10:30 a.m.)
  • April 8 (10:30 a.m.)
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