Last updated on: 6/1/2009 | Author:

Leon Kass, MD, PhD Biography

Addie Clark Harding Professor, Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

“The prohibition against killing patients…stands as the first promise of self-restraint sworn to in the Hippocratic Oath, as medicine’s primary taboo: ‘I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect’… In forswearing the giving of poison when asked for it, the Hippocratic physician rejects the view that the patient’s choice for death can make killing him right. For the physician, at least, human life in living bodies commands respect and reverence–by its very nature.”

“Neither for Love nor Money: Why Doctors Must Not Kill,” Public Interest, Winter 1989

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Addie Clark Harding Professor, Committee on Social Thought and the College, University of Chicago
  • Hertog Fellow in Social Thought, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • Member, President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002-Present
  • The Hastings Center (Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences), Founding Fellow 1969-Present, Member of Board of Directors, 1969-1996
  • Board of Directors, Shalem Center (Jerusalem), 2001-Present
  • Chairman, President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002-2005
  • Senior Fellow and Associate Director, John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy, University of Chicago
  • Senior Fellow, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago
  • Bradley Prize, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 2003
  • Co-founder and Faculty Chairman, “Fundamentals: Issues and Texts,” 1983-2002
  • William H. Brady, Jr., Distinguished Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., 1991-1992, 1998-1999
  • Templeton Honor Rolls for Education in a Free Society, 1997-1998
  • Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, The University of Dallas, 1997
  • Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Research Professor in Bioethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, 1974-1976
  • Executive Secretary of the Committee on the Life Sciences and Social Policy of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences, 1970-72
  • PhD, Biochemistry, Harvard University, 1967
  • MD, University of Chicago, 1962
  • BS, Biology, University of Chicago, 1958
  • Amoco Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching, The University of Chicago, 1993
  • Fellow, National Humanities Center, 1984-1985
  • National Council on the Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, Member, 1984-1991, Vice-Chairman, 1987-1989
  • United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, member of Board of Governors, 1982-1988
  • Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, The University of Chicago, 1983
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, member, 1969-1993 Federation of American Scientists, member, 1967-1973
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, 1972-1973 Medical Committee for Human Rights, member, 1965-1969
  • National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow, 1963-1967
Quoted in:
  1. Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?