Mielke Lecture Series to begin

William Dalsen

The Mielke Lecture Series on Biomedical Ethics will begin next Monday with Stanford law professor Margaret Jane Radin speaking on “Commodification: Promise or Threat.”
Radin, a nationally recognized scholar on commodification, will deliver her lecture at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15, in the Wriston Auditorium.
Commodification is the practice of turning something that is not normally for use or sale into a “mere” commodity. This is a major subject in biomedical ethics, where many discuss whether or not organs, eggs, surrogate motherhood, or sperm should be for sale.
Also, the ethical arguments for or against these practices directly impact clinical research and medical practice. There are also important legal questions surrounding these practices. For example, should surrogate motherhood be placed under contract law or family law? Can we make legally binding contracts for that purpose?
Radin is the first of four speakers in the Mielke Series. The next lecture, Jan. 12 by Angela Fagerlin, will be on living wills. The issue of living wills has come under discussion recently because psychological research indicates that individual preferences change often enough to possibly invalidate signed living wills, which might then fail to preserve individual autonomy.
The third lecture will be by David Dranove on Feb. 23 and will be entitled “Putting a Price on Life.” Allen Buchanan will deliver the final lecture on “What Was Really Wrong with Eugenics?” on May 11.