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19. - 21. Juni 2020, Pennsylvania (USA)

World Congress of Bioethics (15th WCB) "Autonomy and Solidarity: Bridging the Tensions"

In June 2020, the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania will host the International Association of Bioethics' (IAB) World Congress of Bioethics (WCB) on campus, 6/19-21.

From the inception of bioethics, debates within bioethics have been focused on-some might say, obsessed with- defining the scope and limitations of individual freedom, typically within the rubric of autonomy. The concept remains central. But recent decades have broadened the overall focus of debate in two important ways. First, bioethics has expanded beyond clinical and medical ethics to public health ethics. That is, in addition to individual-centered issues arising in medical practice or research, scholars have considered the population-level.

They have addressed what individuals are owed-and what they owe-in contexts such as healthcare resource allocation, preparing for and responding to pandemics, or enabling healthy living and work environments. Second, in parallel to economic globalization and a world brought closer together through the internet, there has been broader debate about how to respond to dramatic differences in life expectancy and quality of life across countries.

News and social media inform us about the consequences of poor health policy or research practices, natural disasters, or political turmoil occurring thousands of miles away. International governance structures seek to assist those in need, and many of the world's more privileged individuals support those worse off outside of these formal arrangements-but the persistent inequality remains shocking.

The concept of solidarity cuts across both recent trends in bioethics, revealing the limitations of a bioethics narrowly focused on individual autonomy. Solidarity with vulnerable and non-vulnerable groups enables autonomy at the local and global level. But its exact meaning, including what obligations people have to act in a solidaristic way, remains far from clear.

This conference, as all previous World Congresses, is open to the diverse conceptual and methodological approaches as well as disparate fields of inquiry that bioethics comprises. We nonetheless hope that a major unifying theme that will run through the conference will be new perspectives on the boundaries of solidarity with those we identify with-or should identify with-as equally deserving of assistance, rights or respect. Session Tracks & Themes 1) Clinical and health care ethics 2) Research ethics 3) Public health ethics 4) Ethics of new technologies 5) Environmental and non-human animal ethics 6) Justice, human rights, law, health policy 7) Underrepresented minorities: emerging issues 8) Philosophy, history, religion studies 9) Arts and ethics 10)

Other topics in bioethics For more information please do visit the

congress website:

Call for papers:

Alongside, International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB) is pleased to invite proposals for panels and papers for presentation at its 13th World Congress.

The FAB World Congress will be held from June 17-18, 2020 at the University of Pennsylvania. Theme is Feminist Perspectives on Solidarity and Autonomy. Call for Papers (FAB):