Senior Research Scholar Margaret Olivia Little, noted philosopher and bioethicist, was appointed as Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in June 2009, succeeding Madison Powers, who held the appointment for nine years.
“Having pioneered in the field of bioethics, the Kennedy Institute is opening a new chapter in its and the field’s history with the appointment of Maggie Little as its director,” remarked Provost James J. O’Donnell. “Her drive and creativity have already made their mark in her first few months on the job, and we look forward to her leadership of this research and teaching gem within Georgetown.”
Dr. Little (Maggie) is known to many for her work in the field of feminist bioethics, applied ethics and metaethics. She recently joined with colleagues Ruth Faden (head of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics) and Annie Lyerly (Duke University School of Medicine) in the Second Wave project to draw attention to issues related to risk, pregnancy and research. Working with Georgetown’s Office of Federal Relations, Maggie had the opportunity to present to Congressional staff, and the group has been influential in bringing these issues to public notice, including making language part of U.S. House authority related to H1N1 vaccine distribution and education.
“Her drive and creativity have already made their mark in her first few months on the job, and we look forward to her leadership of this research and teaching gem within Georgetown.”
Other scholarly interests include research on moral imperatives, such as “Deontic Pluralism” (teasing out the difference between being entitled and being deserving, for example). She has published on a broad range of topics in ethics, from moral epistemology and moral realism to applied issues in bioethics. She has written on surrogate motherhood, abortion, method in moral theory, and the objectivity of ethics.
Dr. Little was a Rhodes Scholar, and did her graduate training at Oxford, Princeton, and Berkeley. She also taught two years at Bryn Mawr College before coming to Georgetown.
She has been a faculty member at Georgetown with a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy and as a Senior Research Scholar at the KIE since 1994. She was a visiting scholar at the NIH Department of Clinical Bioethics in 1998 and 2008. She directs the Institute’s Annual Intensive Bioethics Course, an important event for Georgetown and the Institute that brings participants from around the world and the U.S.