Next RIP Lecture

The next Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture (organised by the Keele Forum for Philosophical Research with the help of the School of Politics, Int’t Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) and the Research Centre 4 SPIRE) will be given by Professor Stephen Wilkinson (Keele). The topic of the lecture will be “The Ethics of SEED (Sperm, Egg & Embryo Donation)” and the event will take place on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, from: 6-7.30 pm, in CBA0.060, Chancellor’s Building, University of Keele.

All Welcome! Wine!


After a brief overview of the many ethical issues raised by SEED (focussing in particular on those presently under consideration by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) the presentation turns to consider in more detail some issues concerning payment for human eggs and sperm.

The idea that ‘inducements’ (monetary payments or other incentives) have the power to undermine the voluntariness of a consent, thus rendering it invalid is introduced. The main arguments behind this idea are explained and critiqued, and an account is offered of how such concerns apply in the case of gamete and embryo donation or sale.

In addition, there is a discussion of how non-monetary and/or indirect rewards fit into this picture (for example, ‘egg sharing’ arrangements) and whether these are better or worse than straightforward payment.

The relationship between public funding (or the lack thereof) and the quality of donors’ or sellers’ consents is explored. It is suggested that the unjust withholding of public funding for infertility treatment services can reduce the quality of consent in certain cases (especially ‘egg sharing’).

Finally, there is a brief discussion of how questions of payment and ‘commodification’ relate to other concerns about prospective parents’ being able to choose the characteristics of their as yet non-existent children.

About the Speaker

Stephen Wilkinson is Professor of Bioethics at the Keele Centre for Professional Ethics. He is Co-director of the Research Centre for Law, Ethics and Society, and Chair of the University’s Research Ethics Committee. His most recent research is on reproductive ethics and the regulation of reproductive techonologies. His work has been supported by the Wellcome Trust and the AHRC. He published Choosing Tomorrow’s Children (OUP 2010), Bodies for Sale (Routledge 2003) and numerous other articles and studies.

Reading Group

Before a brief reminder concerning the other events organised by the Forum for Philosophical Research between September and December 2010, I mention that the next meeting of the reading group on Stephen Engstrom’s The Form of Practical Knowledge: A Study of the Categorical Imperative (Harvard University Press, 2009) will also be on Tuesday, 22 February, from 12 to 1 pm, in Claus Moser Research Centre, room CM1.24. The final meeting of the reading group on this book will be on 8 March, 12-1pm, also in CM1.24. From 22 March (same time, same place), the reading group will meet to discuss Robert Hanna’s Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy (OUP, 2004).

Events in November

Professor Stephen Engstrom (Pittsburgh) was invited to give the 2010 Keele Forum for Philosophical Research Annual Lecture. This took place on Friday, 26 November 2010, between 6.00 and 7.30 pm, in the Conference Room of the Claus Moser Research Centre, and was attended by approximately 50 participants from Keele, UK, the USA and Europe. The topic of the lecture was “Universal Legislation as the Form of Practical Knowledge”. The Lecture was opened by Professor Chris Phillipson, Director of the Keele Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice and chaired by John Horton John Horton (Keele)

For full details, please go to:

The event was followed, on the next day, by a conference on “The Morality of Law”. The following speakers presented papers: Professor Howard Williams (Aberystwyth), Professor Adrian Piper (Berlin), Professor Peter Niesen (Darmstadt), Professor Stephen Engstrom (Pittsburgh) and Dr Sorin Baiasu (Keele). Their papers were commented on by, respectively, Professor Sari Kisilevsky (New York), Dr Katerina Deligiorgi (Sussex), Mr Harry Lesser (Manchester), Dr Garrath Williams (Lancaster) and Professor Tatiana Patrone (Ithaca). The sessions were chaired by Dr Paula Satne Jones (Manchester), Dr Giuseppina D’Oro (Keele), Dr Philip O’Hanlon (Belfast), Professor Emily Hartz (Southern Denmark) and Professor Kenneth Westphal (Kent)

For full details, including the programme and registration form, please go to:

World Philosophy Day

The events were also meant to celebrate the 2010 World Philosophy Day, which took place on 18 November.


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