Recorded on the 28th October 2010, Professor Jonathan Glover gives the annual Conway Memorial Lecture, at Conway Hall in London. The lecture was titled ‘Ethics and the Dark Side of Science’ and you can hear it in full on this page. Just press play on the player below to begin!
In this year’s Conway Memorial address, Professor Jonathan Glover will explore the ethics of scientific research and aim to understand if it is necessary to decide what the responsibilities of individual scientists are, or ought to be with regard to the moral consequences of their work. Given that we live in a world in which nation states and other groups develop weapons with appalling possibilities, should scientists never take part, or can the defensive development of such weapons sometimes be the lesser evil? The uses of science for dark purposes: for torture, and for atrocities, either in war or as acts of terrorism can be seen in many cases throughout history, notably with regard to atomic and biological weapons. After medicine and medical research was used in atrocities by the Nazis, the medical world drew up codes of ethics governing research, and developed a whole culture of ethical discussion and debate. Should something similar be developed for the community of research scientists and technologists? If so what should it be like?
Jonathan Glover is the Director of the Centre for Medical Law & Ethics at King’s College London and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He has written several books, including Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century and Causing Death and Saving Lives. He chaired a European Commission Working Party on Assisted Reproduction and gave the inaugural Uehiro Lecture series in 2004, published as Choosing Children: Genes, Disability, and Design. For more information on Professor Glover and his research interests please visit personal website.