A few questions for you philosophy and pre-med majors: How wide does the so-called “principle of autonomy” extend? To anything we desire? Is its purpose exclusively to secure freedom from all constraints? Is it limited by morality? Or does it construct morality? As abstract as they seem, these question possess steely practicality today in our courts, legislatures and hospital rooms. Their chief extension is to the question of self-killing. If I no longer desire to live, may I (morally speaking), in one great sovereign exercise of “autonomy,” end my life? And do I have the right to press medical practitioners into assisting me? This lecture will address the problem of the implications of a run-away conception of human autonomy on areas of medical ethics, especially physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. BIO: Dr. E. Christian Brugger is an Associate Professor of Moral Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, CO. Dr. Brugger has master degrees in moral theology and moral philosophy from Seton Hall, Harvard and Oxford Universities and received his D.Phil. in Christian ethics from Oxford in 2000. His areas of scholarly interest are bioethics, natural law, marriage family & sexual ethics, action theory, integration of psychology and philosophy, and capital punishment. He is the author of Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Notre Dame Press, 2003), and has published widely on topics in moral theology and philosophy in journals such as the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, The Heythrop Journal, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, The Thomist, Communio, National Review On-Line, and First Things.
Since 2008, he has been the Senior Fellow in Ethics at the Culture of Life Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he publishes a bi-monthly brief on current issues in bioethics (http://www.culture-of-life.org). Dr. Brugger serves on the Editorial Board for the Center for Morality in Public Life and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. He is an ethics advisor to the Colorado Catholic Conference and regularly testifies on behalf of the Conference before the House and Senate of the State of Colorado. He also serves on the Ethics Review Board for Catholic Hospitals of the Archdiocese of Denver. Since 2002 he has been a Senior Fellow at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person (NY).
Dr. Brugger lives in Evergreen, CO, with his wife Melissa and five children.