UT Southwestern Events Calendar

The Daniel W. Foster, M.D., Visiting Lectureship in Medical Ethics

(In conjunction with UT Southwestern's Ethics Grand Rounds)


"Dignity in Later Life"


Nancy S. Jecker, Ph.D.

Professor of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington School of Medicine


Abstract: Some argue dignity is a useless concept that bioethics can do without. Against this view, I show dignity is a central concern for bioethics, particularly for older people. Dignity's importance during later life is part of a broader view I call the life stage relativity of values. It holds that different values emerge as central at different periods of our lives. During early life, caring, trust, and nurturing figure prominently due to vulnerabilities that characterize infancy and childhood. By adulthood, greater physical and emotional independence leads to autonomy and self-reliance taking center stage. During later life, heightened risk for chronic disease and disability makes keeping dignity intact a critical concern. Across the lifespan, the highest value for an individual relates to their life stage circumstances. Ignoring this can lead to life stage bias, which occurs when we apply values central during midlife to all life stages.



This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ (including medical ethics and/or professional responsibility).



UT Southwestern is accredited as a provider of nursing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.


This acitivity has been awarded 1.0 contact hour.


For additional information, please refer to the announcement.



Ruth Vinciguerra | Email

Event Details

This lecture will be conducted via Zoom webinar only. While there is no registration fee, participants must register to attend. Upon registration, you will receive the Zoom event ID and link to join the webinar. To register for Zoom access, please click the link below: