Losing Our Dignity

The Harold T. Shapiro Lecture on Ethics, Science, and Technology

March 30, 2022
Hands

Charles Camosy, Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University

The Annual Harold T. Shapiro Lecture on Ethics, Science, and Technology featuring Charles Camosy, Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University. The Shapiro Lecture honors former Princeton President Harold T. Shapiro, professor in the Department of Economics and the School of Public and International Affairs.

There is perhaps no more important value than fundamental human equality. And yet, despite large percentages of people affirming the value, the resources available to explain and defend the basis for such equality are few and far between. Telling personal stories like those of Jahi McMath, Terri Schiavo, and Alfie Evans, Charles Camosy, a noted bioethicist and theologian, uses an engaging style to show how the influence of secularized medicine is undermining fundamental human equality in the broader culture. In particular, he will sound the alarm about the next population to fall if we stay on our current trajectory: dozens of millions of human beings with dementia. Heeding this alarm, Camosy argues, means doing two things. First, making urgent and genuine attempts to dialogue with a secularized culture which cannot see how it is undermining one of its most foundational values. Second, religious communities which hold the Imago Dei sacred must mobilize their existing institutions (and create new ones) to care for a new set of human beings our throwaway culture may deem non-persons.

Charles Camosy is now an Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University in the Bronx, where he has taught since finishing his PhD in theology at Notre Dame in 2008. Among other places, his published articles have appeared in the American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of the Catholic Health Association, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News and America magazine. He has a monthly “Purple Catholicism” column with Religion News Service and is the author of six books.

Too Expensive to Treat? was a 2011 award-winner with the Catholic Media Association; Peter Singer and Christian Ethics was named a 2012 “best book” with ABC Religion and Ethics; For Love of Animals was featured in the New York Times; Beyond the Abortion Wars was a 2015 award-winner also with the Catholic Media Association; Resisting Throwaway Culture was named 2020 “Resource of the Year” by the Catholic Publishers Association. His most recent book, published in July 2021, is Losing Our Dignity: How Secularized Medicine is Undermining Fundamental Human Equality. He is also the founding editor of a new book series with New City Press called The Magenta Project. In addition to advising the Faith Outreach office of the Humane Society of the United States, the pro-life commission of the Archdiocese of New York, and Holy Name Medical Center, Camosy received the Robert Bryne award from the Fordham Respect Life Club and received the 2018 St. Jerome Award for scholarly excellence from the Catholic Library Association. He has four children, three of whom he and his wife Paulyn adopted from a Filipino orphanage in June of 2016. 

Video:

Losing Our Dignity

Location:

Arthur Lewis Auditorium in Robertson Hall