Anscombe Bioethics
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Bioethics Centre

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The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (formerly the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics) is a Roman Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in clinical practice and biomedical research. It brings to bear on those questions principles of natural law, virtue ethics, and the teaching of the Catholic Church, and seeks to develop the implications of that teaching for emerging fields of practice.

The Centre was founded in 1977 by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales and is an independent charity. It is not affiliated to the University of Oxford or any other higher educational institution, and is not an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the England and Wales.

The current Director of the Centre is Dr David Albert Jones, who has been Director since 2010, and is also a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford and Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University, Twickenham. The Centre's academic activities are overseen by the Board of Governors, whose composition reflects a wide range of academic and professional expertise, and the Centre also takes counsel from an independent Academic Advisory Panel.

Our Research

Euthanasia Book Cover The Centre engages with a wide range of bioethical issues through various research projects, conferences and seminars. In addition to articles and book chapters published by individual staff members, the Centre also publishes books emerging from its research projects and conferences. Recent publications of this kind include Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium (Cambridge University Press, 2018), The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe (Imprint Academic, 2016) and On the Ethics of Organ Transplantation: The Report of a Working Party (Anscombe Bioethics Centre, 2014).

The Centre actively collaborates with academics from other institutions through its publications and conferences, and particularly through its Visiting Research Fellowship scheme. Every year the Centre hosts a Visiting Research Fellow, who is typically invited to present their research at a half-day symposium. Previous visiting fellows have worked on a range of topical issues including conscientious objection, privacy and autonomy in healthcare, and euthanasia.

The annual flagship event of the Centre is the Anscombe Memorial Lecture, which is co-sponsored by Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. The lecture is given in honour of the Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, who taught at Oxford and Cambridge, and who was well-known for her defence of human life and for her role in sparking the modern revival of virtue ethics.

Casey lectureGuest speakers for this lecture series have included leading figures in different fields including the philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny, the legal scholar and natural law theorist Prof. John Finnis, and the Irish psychiatrist Prof. Patricia Casey (right).

Centre staff regularly contribute to teaching for graduate students, medical doctors, and seminarians. The Centre also runs a range of educational activities, including reading groups, school conferences and other guest speaker events.

Staying Connected with Us

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If you would like to become a supporter, please visit this page. We rely on the generosity of many benefactors, and every contribution helps us advance in fulfilling our mission.

The Director meets Pope Benedict XVI