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St Mary's Bioethics Academics Speak at Von Hugel Institute Symposium on Rethinking Health

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Programme Director for MA Bioethics and Medical Law at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Dr Trevor Stammers and Associate Professor at the St Mary’s Centre for Bioethics and Emerging Technologies(CBET), Dr David Jones were invited to speak at a Von Hügel Institute symposium on the 4th December. The symposium, entitled Navigating Impasses in Bioethics: Rethinking Ill/Health ( debated definitions of illness and health. Speakers were invited from a variety of backgrounds to give different perspectives on the debate and understand the implications of how illness and health are defined. Dr Stammers presented a paper on framing mental illness entitled Meaning in Madness?: Theological and Personal Reflections on Mental Illness. His paper explored the poetry of Jesuit priest GM Hopkins through the lenses of scripture and theological reflection to understand how Hopkins understood his own severe depression. Dr Stammers argued that part of coping with, as well as healing from depression, comes from placing it in the spiritual context of our life. Prof Jones gave in his paper cogent arguments for dispensing with the terminology of “sanctity of life” in bioethical debates about abortion, euthanasia and other related issues and made the case for using “respect for life” in the light of human dignity as an alternative term. Speaking of the symposium Dr Stammers said, “It was an extremely valuable event both in terms of the papers presented by speakers from a wide variety of disciplines and the ensuing discussions. I look forward to the papers being published early in 2016 and to further seminars next year exploring specific health problems. The Von Hugel Institute were very insightful and generous in arranging and hosting this event.”
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