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Gathering highlights student research, philosophical implications of CRISPR

Attend the Undergraduate Women’s Philosophy Conference to hear perspectives on genetic-modification technology, free will, feminism and more.

By Lindsey Coulter

April 1, 2019

Drawing of three women's profiles two in green and one in blueThe fourth annual Undergraduate Women’s Philosophy Conference, held Friday through Sunday, provides a forum for the presentation of philosophical work by female-identified undergraduates. The event also encourages community-building among female-identified philosophers and their male-identified allies, is open to all genders and this year has an exciting and compelling presentation lineup.

“We are exceptionally proud of this conference, which is the first and only of its kind in the nation, and the amazing work being presented by our Metropolitan State University of Denver students, and students from across the U.S. and Canada,” said founding Professors Carol Quinn, Ph.D., and Liz Goodnick, Ph.D. “We invite students, faculty and staff to join us to learn about philosophy, support women in the field and build community.”

The 2019 conference’s main event will focus on recent advancements in CRISPR-Cas9-powered genetic modification. Tina Rulli, assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, who works primarily in bioethics, applied, and normative ethics, will deliver a keynote address titled “Reproductive CRISPR Does Not Save Lives.”

Rulli’s talk will counter claims that CRISPR modification of gametes or embryos has life-saving or therapeutic value, stating that “reproductive uses of CRISPR merely create healthy people where none were inevitable.” Her position is that merely creating healthy lives has distinct and lesser moral value from saving or curing lives that would otherwise suffer from a disease, and that the real value in reproductive uses of CRISPR is in helping a very limited population of people have healthy genetically related children, according to her abstract.

The event will also include paper presentations from undergraduate philosophy students. The student keynote, “Killing, Consent and Kinky Sex: An Ethical Defense of Autassassinophilia,” will be delivered by Aynabeth Anderson of Rhodes College, and MSU Denver student Riley DeWaters will share a study on the gender binary’s influence on identity. Attendees can also participate in workshops on empowering women in philosophy and attend sessions focusing on free will, ethics, feminism, non-Western philosophy and the philosophy of education.

More program and presenter details are available on the event webpage. Registration for students is free, and registration details for faculty, staff and community members are available on the conference webpage.

Topics: Academics, Events

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