We are delighted to announce the appointment, as of January 1st, 2017, of Professor John Harris as visiting Professor in Bioethics in the department of Global Health & Social Medicine, for the next three years.
John Harris is one of the most prominent living bioethicists.
Already John has been significantly involved in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s, having given a number of seminars since the 1st year of the Bioethics & Society Programme in 2014/15, invited by Dr Silvia Camporesi.
In addition to his duties as a visiting professor such as giving lectures and seminars in his specialist areas, advising students on dissertation topics, and, in some cases, engaging in collaborative research, John will contribute to the life of the department and in particular to the MSc programme in Bioethics & Society in a number of other ways. He intends to mentor students during their matriculation in the programme, and offer seminars on research methodologies in ethics as well as in “how to publish successfully” for PhD and postdoctoral students. This, John believes to be a much-neglected area in academia and he says: “getting published is a learnable skill like any other.“
We are thrilled to have John Harris join our department – with him on board, the King’s College London Department of Global Health and Social Medicine will continue to make its mark on the history of bioethics in the UK as a leading centre of excellence for teaching, research and public engagement.
About Professor John Harris
Educated at the University of Kent and at Balliol College, Oxford, he is the author or editor of twenty-one books and over three hundred peer-reviewed articles.
From March 2004 to July 2011 John was the joint Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the leading journal in medical and applied ethics. John has also served on many advisory bodies, including as a member of the United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission (HGC) from its foundation in 1999 until 2010 and as a member of The Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association for more than fifteen years.
In 1986 John jointly founded (with Margaret Brazier) the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy of the University of Manchester, one of two leading centres in bioethics in the UK (the other being the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at King’s), as described by historian Duncan Wilson in his 2015 book, The Making of British Bioethics.
John has, throughout his career, defended broadly libertarian – consequentialist approaches to issues in bioethics. This has made him a leading defender of the rights of the individual to access medical technology and to benefit from medical services. He has defended the individual’s entitlement to these goods and services regardless of age, life
expectancy, level of disability, quality of life or genetic pre-disposition to illness. He has been and remains a leading critic of paternalistic or restrictive approaches to regulation or legislation of access to medical services or technology.
Some of John’s ’ papers and books have become seminal to the bioethics canon, i.e. “The Survival Lottery” (1975), The Value of Life (1985) (John is now working on The Value of Life 2), Wonderwoman and Superman (1992) and Enhancing Evolution (OUP 2007). His most recent book, How to be Good, was published by Oxford University Press, Oxford in 2016 and is poised to take its place right alongside his other groundbreaking works.
John has made many appearances in the media over his career, helping to shape public discourse around challenging bioethical topics. Recently he has written for The Guardian in favour of extending the 14-day limit on research on human embryos.