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CBET Lecture: Should There be Freedom of Dissociation?

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CBET Lecture: Should There be Freedom of Dissociation?

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Liberal, democratic societies all recognise freedom of association as a fundamental right. Broadly, every person is free to associate with whomever they want as long as such association is not a danger to society, to form whatever organisations they wish. What, however, about the obverse? Why should there not be freedom of dissociation – the right to withdraw one’s association from any organisation or body one wishes, as long as one is not a danger to society? Why should one not have a right to be, as it were, left alone? I examine this question in the context of the increasing pressure on some groups, particularly religious ones, to be involved in behaviour or activities to which they object on religious and/or conscientious grounds, both within and outside health care. Prof Oderberg will examine whether a recognised freedom of dissociation might at least solve some of the paradoxical and even intolerable situations that would arise if freedom of conscience and/or religion were not given the respect it should have in a liberal, pluralistic society.

About the Speaker: David Oderberg is Professor of Philosophy, University of Reading, and author of 60 articles and four books including Moral Theory and Applied Ethics, and editor of Human Lives: New Essays on Non-Consequentialist Bioethics. Prof Oderberg’s feature on conscience was published in the April 2017 issue of Journal of Medical Ethics. He was recently named by a major US website for college applicants as one of the 50 most influential philosophers in the world.

All welcome. Tea and Coffee will be served from 5.30pm.

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