Georgetown University Press publishes “Bioethics and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Ethics”

On Wednesday 30th September, Georgetown University Press, in collaboration with the KIE and the Philosophy Department, launched Bioethics and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Ethics.

This book was largely written by the late Professor Alfonso Gómez-Lobo, who held the Ryan Chair in Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at Georgetown and who was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. The book grew out of a manuscript that he left unfinished at his untimely death. It was completed by John Keown, who holds the Rose Kennedy Chair in the KIE.

The launch was held in the delightful surroundings of the Bioethics Research Library, where the librarians had kindly prepared a display of both authors’ publications. The event was held in the presence of Professor Gómez-Lobo’s widow and one of their daughters (a physician) and granddaughters (a philosophy senior at Georgetown). His widow, Jimena, was presented with a copy of the book by Richard Brown, Director of Georgetown University Press. This presentation was followed by heartfelt remarks about Professor Gómez-Lobo’s signal contribution to scholarship and the university by Professor Bill Blattner, the head of the Philosophy Department, and by Professor Maggie Little, Director of the KIE.

John Keown then summarised the contents of the book and explained that it was written to meet the need, not least among college students and the intelligent general reader, for a clear, introductory text on bioethics from a natural law perspective. He noted that although this perspective has exercised a profound and historic influence on Western philosophy, law and professional medical ethics, it is largely overshadowed in the bioethics literature, and in bioethics curricula, by the dominant bioethical perspectives of consequentialism and principlism.

The event, attended by some of Professor Gómez-Lobo’s closest colleagues and friends, was marked by the same warmth that he brought to all those who had the privilege of knowing him and working alongside him. Although he is keenly missed by his colleagues, students and of course family, he will remain in our thoughts, not least when we consult this, his last book.