Philosopher, bio-ethicist and Patron of Humanists UK
John Harris was educated at the University of Kent and Balliol College, Oxford, and is Lord David Alliance Professor of Bioethics and Director of The Institute of Science, Ethics and Innovation, in the School of Law, Manchester University. A member of the Humanist Philosophers, he contributed to two collaborations by the group, Is Nothing Sacred? (Routledge) and Thinking About Death (BHA), and in 2010 gave the Holyoake Lecture in Manchester, on ‘Taking the “human” out of Humanism’.
He was elected a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001, the first philosopher to have been elected to Fellowship of this National Academy established to serve “the medical sciences in the same way as the Royal Society serves the natural sciences (and) the British Academy serves the humanities”. He has been a member of The United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission since its foundation in 1999 and served on the United Kingdom Government Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing from its foundation in 1996 until its closure. He is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association. He was one of the Founder Directors of the International Association of Bioethics and is a founder member of the Board of the Journal Bioethics and Associate Editor (Genetics) of the Journal of Medical Ethics, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics and many other journals.
He is the author or editor of fifteen books and over two hundred paper, and has written extensively on bio- and medical ethics, including The Value of Life, Introduction to Medical Ethics, On Cloning, a forceful defence of human cloning, and Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People. He has also published articles on medical ethics, for example in The Independent, and was chosen by The Independent for its Good List 2006 of “50 campaigners, thinkers and givers” for “his uncompromisng intellectual honesty” and “motivation that we have a duty to make the world a better place”.
His Manchester University profile