Penn State York series focuses on 'Today's Ethical Issues'

September 08, 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, will take on the topics of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide when it gets under way at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 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 below.
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 the practice. 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 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

Jewish Community Center of York         

2000 Hollywood Drive, York. All sessions start at 10:30 a.m.

  • Sept. 15
  • Oct. 27
  • Dec. 1
  • Feb. 16
  • March 2
  • April 6

Martin Library

159 East Market Street, York. All sessions start at 11 a.m.

  • Sept. 17
  • Oct. 15
  • Nov. 19
  • Feb. 18
  • March 18
  • April 15

Heritage Senior Center

3700 Davidsburg Rd., Dover. All sessions start at 10 a.m.

  • Sept. 22
  • Oct. 8
  • Nov. 10
  • Feb. 9
  • March 23
  • April 20

White Rose Senior Center

27 S. Broad Street, York. All sessions start at 10:30 a.m.

  • Sept. 24
  • Oct. 22
  • Nov. 12
  • Feb. 25
  • March 25
  • April 8
  • Leonard Berkowitz, associate professor of philosophy at Penn State York, leads a discussion as part of the 'Today's Ethical Issues' lectures/discussions.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 09, 2015