Relationships, Autonomy and the Ethics of Research on Children

Published: Wednesday 7th September 2016

As part of the new ACU Luminaries Series, the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy is delighted to present, Relationships, Autonomy and the Ethics of Research on Children, a public lecture by Thomas H. Murray PhD, President Emeritus of The Hastings Center New York.

When: Monday 26 September at 6pm for 6:30pm

Where: ACU Leadership Centre, Level 3, 229 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane

RSVP: Registrations are essential by Monday 19 September. Please register online.

Thomas H. Murray is visiting ACU to collaborate on an ACURF-funded project led by Dr David Kirchhoffer of the School of Theology and member of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry . The project, Personhood, Autonomy and Vulnerability in Human Research Ethics, includes an expert symposium in Brisbane, at which Dr Murray will join a number of international and Australian experts in research ethics to work on the difficult problem of limitations of autonomy. Dr Murray’s public lecture will be delivered as part of the program in Brisbane.

Lecture overview

Autonomy emerged early on as a central concept in Bioethics in response to two problems: Physicians’ excessive paternalism toward their patients; and the mistreatment of research subjects by investigators. The principle of autonomy, and the practice of informed consent it underwrote, were soon established as worthy countermeasures. But autonomy proved to be little help in framing and resolving a wide array of difficult ethical issues in research with children. Relationships play a critical role in the debate over how to justify research with children. Which relationships should count? How should we understand the moral obligations within those relationships?

In his public lecture, Thomas H. Murray will discuss the uses and misuses of principles in Bioethics and the relationship of principles to cases, exploring the ethical issues in clinical trials for investigational therapies for a devastating disease of infancy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1.

About the speaker

President Emeritus of The Hastings Center, New York. He served as president of the Society for Health and Human Values and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He is author of more than 250 publications including The Worth of a Child.

A full biography is available on the website.

About the ACU Luminaries Series

Throughout the year, the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy will host public events with internationally acclaimed scholars and experts. Our public lectures, seminars, short courses, workshops and research colloquia explore how social, cultural, political and religious issues impact how we understand our world. Stay up to date by visiting the or email