Annual George W. Gay Lecture in Medical Ethics

The Politics of Identity, the Injuries of Class

K. Anthony Appiah

The 2018 Gay Lecture was delivered
by K. Anthony Appiah

December 6, 2018 at 5 p.m.

Hailed as a "postmodern Socrates," novelist, philosopher, and scholar, K. Anthony Appiah will deliver the 2018 Gay Lecture. One of the most powerful thinkers in the world, according to Forbes magazine, Appiah is known for his examination of the most compelling social issues of the day including morality, ethnicity, biologic race, religion, and identity. The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine, Appiah addresses ethical questions weekly and is the author of numerous books including The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, which received the Arthur Ross Book Award.

The George W. Gay Lecture:

Is the oldest endowed lectureship at Harvard Medical School, and quite possibly the oldest medical ethics lectureship in the United States. The lectureship was established in 1917 by a $1,000 gift from Dr. George Washington Gay, an 1868 graduate of HMS. Gay gave Harvard the fund to provide an annual income to support lectures “to the advanced, or graduating classes in the Medical School upon Medical Ethics, and upon wise and proper methods of conducting the business of physicians, as relates to fees, collections, investments, etc.” The Gay Lectureship perpetuates his deep concern for the welfare of his patients and his appreciation of the constantly arising social and economic forces that impinge on medical care.

Since its inception, many of the nation's most influential physicians, scientists, researchers and social observers, have given the annual lecture. Past lecturers include Erich Fromm, Felix Frankfurter, Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Kübler Ross, E.O. Wilson, and Joshua Lederberg have given the Gay Lecture. Elie Wiesel, Marian Wright Edelman, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, and Donald Berwick.

See 2019 Gay Lecture delivered by Danielle Allen, PhD.
See details and photos from the 2017 Gay Lecture delivered by Michael Sandel.