Last updated on: 4/2/2014 | Author:

Arthur L. Caplan, PhD Biography

Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“Is it Ethical for Physicians to Administer Lethal Injections?.. An argument for technical expertise does not justify medicine’s acceptance of physician involvement in executions… The argument based on mercy for the doomed rests on two claims —that physicians have a general duty to condemned persons and that physician participation will not influence the overall ethical assessment of the practice of execution by the public. Neither is true. Physicians who participate… in executions in states that permit capital punishment for morally bankrupt reasons, even from motives of mercy toward the condemned… are complicit in the unethical killing of sometimes helpless, hapless, and vulnerable persons.”

“Should Physicians Participate in Capital Punishment?” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics, Langone Medical Center, New York University, 2012-present
  • Emanuel & Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, 1994-2012
  • Director, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, 1994-present
  • Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Associate Professor, Bioethics, University of Minnesota, 1987-1994
  • Associate Professor, Bioethics, University of Pittsburgh, 1986
  • Former Associate Professor, Bioethics, Columbia University
  • Associate Director, Hastings Center, 1984-1987
  • Chair, National Cancer Institute Biobanking Ethics Working Group
  • Chair, Advisory Committee to the United Nations on Human Cloning
  • Chair, Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Member, Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses
  • Member, Special Advisory Committee on Genetics and Gene Therapy, International Olympic Committee
  • Member, Ethics Committee, American Society of Gene Therapy
  • Recipient, McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association
  • Person of the Year, USA Today, 2001
  • Named “One of the Fifty Most Influential People in American Health Care,” Modern Health Care magazine
  • PhD, Philosophy of Science, Columbia University, 1979
  • MPhil., Columbia University, 1979
  • MA, History, Columbia University, 1979
  • BA, Philosophy, Brandeis University, 1971
  • Recipient of six honorary degrees from colleges and universities
Quoted in:
  1. Is Participation in Executions Ethical for Medical Professionals?