A former member of President Obama's transition team; a professor of medical ethics and health policy, of history and sociology of science, and of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania; a national associate of the National Research Council; and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Moreno wears many hats. His most recent project, the new book The Body Politic, explores how bioethical issues -- stem cells, genetics -- have become a part of our political discourse.
Here, Moreno discusses how neuroscience and globalization are both affecting his chosen field; the problem with medical schools across the U.S. backing off on their commitment to bioethics; and why he's trying to integrate bioethics with the history of ideas, technology, and public affairs.
What do you say when people ask you, "What do you do?"
My short answer is that I'm a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The longer and more descriptive answer is hard because, intellectually speaking, I'm a mutt. I'm trained as a philosopher but I live in academic departments of medical ethics and of history and sociology of science. Professionally, I'm mainly seen as a bioethicist but what I've been trying to do for years is integrate bioethics with the history of ideas, technology, and public affairs. So, when people ask me, I say that I teach, write, and do research at the intersection of bioethics and policy with a strong sense of the American cultural context.