Anscombe Bioethics
Vatican Double Helix Staircase
Bioethics Centre

The Anscombe Centre holds regular national and international conferences, as well as research seminars and reading groups.
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Anscombe and Aquinas:
Perspectives on Virtue

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Aquinas Institute of Blackfriars, Oxford are holding a joint research seminar on 'Anscombe and Aquinas: Perspectives on Virtue'. Papers will be given by Dr Janice Chik (Visiting Scholar, Aquinas Institute) and Mr Michael Wee (Education and Research Officer, Anscombe Bioethics Centre). All are welcome.

Anscombe Aquinas
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2019
Time: 2pm-4.30pm
Venue: Blackfriars, Oxford

Register now
Privacy and Autonomy in Medical Law and Ethics:
Emerging Trends

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held an international symposium on emerging trends in medical law and ethics. Papers were presented by Prof. Ryan Meade (Loyola University Chicago Law School) and Mt Rev Dr Thomas Paprocki (University of Notre Dame Law School), with responses by Prof. Jonathan Herring (Oxford University Law Faculty) and Very Rev Dr Robert Gay (Blackfriars, Oxford).

Venue: Aula, Blackfriars, Oxford
Date: Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Time: 1pm-4.30pm

Elizabeth Anscombe Centenary Symposium:
Ethics and Agency

On 18 March 2019, the Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of Elizabeth Anscombe's birth, on the theme of 'Ethics and Agency'.

Anscombe Centenary
• Prof. David Albert Jones
Director, Anscombe Bioethics Centre
• Prof. Maria Alvarez
Professor of Philosophy, King's College London
• Dr Roger Teichmann
College Lecturer in Philosophy, St Hilda's College, Oxford
• Dr Lucy Campbell
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Warwick

For more on the life and philosophical thought of Elizabeth Anscombe, please visit this page.
Mind, Medicine & Morals: The ethics of psychiatry and mental health care

An international conference held by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre at St Anne's College, Oxford from 5th to 7th July 2018.
Mental Health 2018
It is a truism that mental health care does not receive the attention or resources devoted to care of physical health. This applies not only to clinical services and research but also to research and reflection on medical ethics and law. Healthcare ethics tends to focus on matters of life and death, especially at the beginning and end of life, and sometimes on the treatment of those whose cognitive capacity is diminished by illness or disability, but much less on mental health per se. The present conference seeks to redress this balance with discussion of a wide range of topics including:

• Resource allocation and mental health
• Ethical issues in forensic psychiatry
• Ethics of research in psychiatry
• Compulsory treatment of mental illness
• Mental illness and moral responsibility
• Assisted suicide for psychiatric reasons
• Mental health effects of sexual abuse

Speakers include: Professor David Baldwin, Professor Joost Baneke, Professor Patricia Casey, Dr Michael Dunn, Paul Farmer CBE (Chief Executive of Mind), Professor Jonathan Herring, Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, Professor David Albert Jones, Dr Mark Komrad, Professor Willem Lemmens, Professor Jim McManus, Bishop Richard Moth, Dr Rachael Pickering, Dr Julia Sinclair, Professor Ilina Singh, Dr Trevor Stammers, Dr Adrian Treloar and Professor Peter Tyler.

Conference Schedule

Conference Call for Papers (closed)

Conference Fees (residential and non-residential rates)

Anscombe Memorial Lecture 2018
The annual Anscombe Memorial Lecture was delivered by Prof. Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry at University College Dublin on 6th July 2018.

Anscombe Lecture 2018Date & Time: Friday, 6th July 2018, 4.30pm
Venue: St Anne's College, Oxford

Conscience in Law and Medicine: A Half-Day Symposium

A half-day symposium exploring issues relating to conscience protections in law and medicine.

Date & Time: Thursday, 12 April 2018, 1.30pm–5.30pm
Venue: Tawney Room, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford

Conscience 2018

• Toni Saad (Visiting Research Fellow, Anscombe Bioethics Centre)
• Mary Neal (Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Strathclyde)
• Andrew Papanikitas (Lecturer in General Practice, University of Oxford)
• Heloise Robinson (DPhil Candidate in Law, University of Oxford

16 Oct 2017: Anscombe Memorial Lecture

Anscombe Lecture 2017
Prof Luke Gormally
Chastity, Human Dignity and the Common Good:
Anscombe and Aquinas

Monday, 16 October 2017, 4pm
Blackfriars Hall, Oxford

20 Oct 2017: Abortion, Disability and the Law - Day Conference in Ireland

A day conference in Athlone, Ireland examining the ethical, legal, social and psychological issues raised by abortion or childbirth following a diagnosis of foetal anomaly.
Anscombe Lecture 2017
Abortion, Disability and the Law
A Day Conference

Friday, 20 October 2017, 9.30am - 5pm
Sheraton Hotel, Athlone Ireland

Anscombe on Contraception: A Half-Day Symposium

Anscombe Contraception Symposium

On Saturday, 22 July, the Anscombe Bioethics Centre held half-day symposium on 'Anscombe on Contraception' with Prof. Stephan Kampowski, who was the Centre's Visiting Research Fellow this summer. Other speakers at this event were Dr Mary Geach, Dr Anthony McCarthy and Dr Pia Matthews.

Seminar Series - The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe

Anscombe Seminars

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a seminar series on the moral philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe, who has been described as 'a giant among women philosophers' and one of the 'pioneers of a genuine renewal of Catholic thought'. This seminar series was organised in conjunction with the recent release of a new collection of essays reflecting on Anscombe's thought, The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe, edited by Luke Gormally, David Albert Jones, and Roger Teichmann, which was published following a conference organised by the Centre in 2013.

Day Conference - Abortion, Disability and the Law

Abortion Conference 2017

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre held a day conference on Saturday, 18 February 2017, examining the ethical, legal, social and psychological issues raised by abortion or childbirth following a diagnosis of foetal anomaly.

A press release and summary of the conference proceedings, entitled 'Conference on Abortion and Disability: Warnings from recent history and calls for life-affirming alternatives', is now available here.

7th Anscombe Memorial Lecture
Lecture Seven

H.E. Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht

'Is Medicine Losing its Way?' A firm foundation for medicine as a real therapeia

Monday, 7 November 2016, 4pm
Aula, Blackfriars Hall, St Giles, Oxford

A video recording of the lecture is now available here.

6th Anscombe Memorial Lecture

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre welcomes the decision of MPs to reject the Assisted Dying (No.2) Bill by a majority of 330 votes to 118. The evidence from jurisdictions that have embraced physician assisted suicide or euthanasia clearly raises grave concerns about the impact of such legislation.

While Westminster had rejected this particular bill, the ethical and political debate is sure to continue and the Centre continues to support critical discussion on this important topic.

The topic of the 6th Annual Anscombe Memorial Lecture is therefore very timely.

memorial lecture poster

Professor Joseph Boyle (University of Toronto)

Against 'Assisted Dying'

Tuesday 13th October at 4.30pm
St John's College, Oxford followed by a reception at Blackfriars, Oxford

A video recording of the lecture is now available here.

Tuesday 26th May - Research Seminar
Professor Christopher Kaczor (Princeton) delivered a research seminar in Oxford on Tuesday 25th May. His title was "'Can We Believe 'All Men are Created Equal' after Darwin? Evolutionary Biology and Human Equality."

Friday 13th February 2015 - 6th Form RE conference
6th form conference poster
This cross curricular (AQA, OCR, Edexcel) conference for sixth formers focussed on Natural Law, Virtue, and applying ethical theory to cases. Take-home materials/handouts were available. In parallel with one conference session, RE/Philosophy staff were given the opportunity to join a masterclass/salon with Prof. John Finnis FBA and Professor David Albert Jones.

The conference poster is available here(14.6MB) and here(209KB).

Please contact for more information about our latest educational work.

1st November 2014 - Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium
Euthanasia conference poster
In cooperation with KU Leuven, the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics and the Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies at St Mary's University, Twickenham, the Anscombe Centre hosted an international day conference on "Euthanasia and Assisted Dying: Lessons from Belgium" on Saturday 1st November.

A report, and video interviews are now available. The report is available here, a press release here, and three video interviews conducted on the day are available here.

Participants included consultant physicians and academics from Belgium and elsewhere:
Dr Benoit Beuselinck, Professor Raphael Cohen Almagor, Professor Chris Gastmans, Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, Professor David Albert Jones, Dr Trevor Stammers, Dr Kasper Raus, Professor Sigrid Sterckx, and Professor Stefaan Van Gool.

Memorial Lecture poster 21st October 2014
Professor John Finnis FBA delivered the 5th Anscombe Memorial Lecture on "Body and Soul: on Anscombe's "royal road" to true belief"

The lecture was held at 5pm on Tuesday 21st October 2014 at St John's College, Oxford. It was followed by a reception at 6.30pm at Blackfriars Hall.

The event poster is available here.

The lecture was recorded, and is available to view here.

Dr Mary McMenamin delivered a paper to the Centre's Research Seminar on Monday 9th June.

Professor Nicanor Austriaco OP is the Anscombe Centre's Visiting Reserach Fellow during 2014, and visited the Centre in April/May. The focal point of his visit was a day conference on "Human Nature: Biology, Ethics, Theology" at which he presented some of his latest research. The event poster is available here

From January to March 2014 the Anscombe Centre provided a series of 6 lectures to medical and healthcare students in London. For more details, please contact David Jones at

The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe.
On 27th and 28th September 2013 the Centre hosted a major international conference on the moral philosophy of GEM Anscombe, after whom the Centre is named, at St Hugh's College, Oxford. A volume of collected papers from this conference will be published in due course.

Participants included Christopher Coope, Dr Mary Geach, Prof Luke Gormally, Dr Edward Harcourt, Dr David Jones, Prof Anselm Müller, Dr Matthew O'Brien, Prof Thomas Pink, Prof Duncan Richter, Dr Roger Teichmann, Prof Jose Maria Torralba and Prof Candace Vogler.

Oxford Seminar
Monday 26th November 2012 6.30 - 8.30pm
Dr Joshua Hordern spoke on "Compassion in Healthcare". Please contact for more information about the research seminars.

Ethics Forum Returns
On Wednesday 28th November the London Ethics Forum returned with a new format - two speakers, refreshments and food and a new venue - Newman House on Gower Street (The Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of London).
Bishop John Sherrington and Professor David Albert Jones delivered short papers, lead a short discussion and were available for questions from a lively crowd of participants. The topic of their papers were the medical care of those with learning difficulties, and how human dignity relates to how we should care for those with disabilities.

This session was open to students and healthcare professionals, and was free of charge.

Thinking Christian Ethos
Tuesday 30th October 2012

The Centre hosted a conference for school leaders and teachers on the place of Science, Ethics and Faith in Catholic Schools. The event was held at St Gregory's Catholic School, Oxford and was very well attended. For more information about this project please see the 'Education' tab above.

3rd Anscombe Memorial Lecture:
Most Rev Dr Anthony Fisher OP
15th October 2012

Bishop Fisher (Bishop of Parramatta) delivered the third Anscombe Memorial Lecture on: "Fair innings? Healthcare rationing in favour of the young over the elderly". A video recording of this paper is available on our Multimedia page (Resources>Multimedia).

Graduate Seminar on Double Effect

Monday 25 June 2012: A Seminar for graduate students on "Double Effect Reasoning" with Dr Roger Teichmann, University of Oxford and Professor Daniel Sulmasy, University of Chicago.
This took place at the Lady Brodie Room St Hilda's College, Oxford, from 3pm-6pm, co-sponsored by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre.

Human Dignity in Healthcare
18th June 2012

Prof. Daniel P. Sulmasy delivered the keynote presentation at this international day conference. For the conference poster, click here. Podcasts and papers from the day will be made available in due course on our multimedia page and resource section respectively.

A video of our Professor Daniel Sulmasy's recent paper on "Evidence-based Bioethics: Myth or Reality?" is available on our website herehere and on the Centre's new Youtube channel.
For details of our recent symposium on the International Theological Commission document "In Search of a Universal Ethic" , Click here

A further step to a less human future

4 May 2016 The Centre responds to research, published in Nature Cell Biology, in which human embryos have been cultured in vitro past the implantation stage of development.

Letter Published in The Times with 42 signatories

A letter on mitochondrial replacement was published in The Times on Wednesday 20th March 2013. It was written by the Centre's Director and had 42 signatories. The full text and list of signatories is available at the Times website and here.

Mitochondrial Replacement Consultation

Please see here for the Centre's press release, and here for the briefing.

General Medical Council (GMC) Consultation on Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice

Oxford Research Seminar: 6.30pm-8.30pm, 17 Beaunont St.
*Tuesday 6th March 2012 Dr Dominic Kelly "Ethics of Vaccines and Vaccination"
*Tuesday 8th May 2012: Catholic Perspectives on Organ Transplantation

Conference announcement:Human Dignity in Healthcare 18th June 2012

Prof. Daniel P. Sulmasy will deliver the keynote presentation at this international day conference. Click here to book your place.

Prof. Daniel Sulmasy is the Centre's Visiting Research Fellow for 2012, and will be involved in a number of events. He will deliver a lecture on "Evidence-based Bioethics: Myth or Reality?" at the Royal Sociey of Medicine on 20th June 2012, and will deliver the keynote lecture at a conference on "Human Dignity" in Oxford on 18th June 2012 ~(see above and herefor the poster). Please contact for further information about these events.


Human Embryo Research: Law, Ethics and Public Policy. 9.30am - 5.30pm on Thursday 8th September 2011, at Corpus Christi College, Merton Street, Oxford, OX1 4JF.
The conference poster, with information about the speakers, venue and concession rates, is available here.

Speakers included:
Christian Hillgruber, Professor of law in Bonn, Germany
Jean-René Binet, Professeur de droit privé à l'Université de Franche-Comté, France
Laura Palazzani, Professor of Philosophy of Law at Lumsa University, Rome, Italy
William Binchy, Regius Professor of Law at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK
Michael Hauskeller, Associate Professor of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter, UK
Carter Snead, Professor of Law at Notre Dame, USA
Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK

Professor John Keown, of Georgetown University, an Anscombe Centre Visiting Research Fellow for 2010/2011, spoke in the House of Lords on 16th May on the topic of 'The Provision of Palliative Care: An Ethical and Legal Duty?'. For more information see HERE.

Our recent international conference on Double Effect conference was webcast live on Saturday 19th February here. To download the poster for this conference - click here. (handouts are available). We also hosted a small workshop on Double Effect on Friday 18th February, led by Prof. Joseph Boyle. Please see links on the left for further details.


Professor Luke Gormally, Director Emeritus of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics (now the Anscombe Bioethics Centre) has been announced as the 2011 recipient of the Paul Ramsey Award of the Center for Bioethics and Culture (San Francisco). Previous recipients have been: Edmund Pellegrino (2004), Germain Grisez (2005), John Finnis (2006), William E May (2007), Albert Moraczewski OP (2008), Gilbert Meilaender (2009), Leon Kass (2010). The award banquet will be held on Friday 25th March in San Francisco. We wish him many congratulations.

Please see the link for our press release on the Pope's statement on HIV and Condoms
ABC - Comment on the Pope's statement on HIV and Condoms

Inaugural Anscombe Lecture by Sir Anthony Kenny
Sir Anthony Kenny, the distinguished philosopher and former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, gave the first Annual Elizabeth Anscombe Memorial Lecture on 'The place of intention in ethics' on Monday 25th October. The lecture was sponsored by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and this first lecture formally marked the move of the Centre to Oxford. Founded in 1977 (originally known as the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics), the Anscombe Bioethics Centre is the longest established bioethics centre in the United Kingdom. It is seeking to work with Blackfriars in promoting academic research in medical ethics.