Medical ethicist Alexander Capron discusses issues of death and dying Nov. 2

What is death?

Alexander Capron portrait
Alexander Capron

Until the late 20th century, the answer to that question was, for the most part, fairly straightforward. In the 21st century, medical technology and ethical concerns have complicated the discussion.

Alexander Capron, a globally recognized expert in health policy and medical ethics, will be on the Colorado State University campus Nov. 2 to help provide insight to some of the thorniest aspects surrounding death and dying.

As part of the CSU Provost’s Ethics Colloquium, Capron will lead a panel discussion on “The Medical Definition of Death: Ethical, Social, and Cultural Concerns,” at 2 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater. Then, at 5 p.m., Capron will deliver “Ethical Reflections on Organ Transplant Tourism and Organ Trafficking,” in the Lory Student Center Ballroom. Both events are free and open to the public; registration is required at

Capron teaches public health law; torts; and law, science and medicine at the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California. He also teaches at the USC Keck School of Medicine and is co-director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, a campus-wide interdisciplinary research and education center. He returned to USC in 2006 after serving four years as director of ethics, trade, human rights and health law at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

“We are delighted that Alex Capron, an outstanding scholar with an international reputation and a record of deep contributions to this issue, is going to visit our campus,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of CSU. “The issues surrounding end of life affect all of us without exception, and are vitally important to our individual health, our families, our local communities, and our society.  I look forward very much to his visit, and encourage all to participate!”

Capron’s appearance is presented by the Colorado School of Public Health, the CU Anschutz Center for Bioethics and Humanities, and Colorado State University Office of the Provost; College of Health and Human Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering; College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Department of Human Development & Family Studies; Department of Philosophy; Department of Psychology; University Libraries; University Honors Program, and Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging.

About the Provost’s Ethics Colloquium

Since 2016, the Provost’s Ethics Colloquium at CSU has promoted cross-disciplinary conversations about ethics-related issues. By highlighting existing ethics seminars and activities, encouraging additional events, and providing virtual resources, the Colloquium fosters increased interaction and collaboration among faculty and staff members working with an ethical perspective on virtually any issue facing the community.

The goal of the Ethics Colloquium Series is to support, highlight, and enhance activities that emphasize ethical issues in the professions and disciplines, particularly when such issues have larger social, civic, political, and economic implications, and to give the broader Northern Colorado community a window into all that is going on at CSU.

To date, talks in the series have addressed topics from media ethics and religious ethics to the ethics of how laboratory animals are treated and the intersections between ethics and diversity issues in community-based research and teaching.

Last year, Martha Nussbaum, law professor, author and renowned philosopher, presented on the stigma of aging and the politics of blame in two standing-room-only Ethics Colloquium events.