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Legalization of drugs set for debate Sept. 8

3:21 p.m., Aug. 27, 2004--A debate on the legalization of drugs will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 8, in 140 Smith Hall. The event, which is free and open to the public, will inaugurate the Great Debate Series, sponsored by the Delaware Interdisciplinary Ethics Program.

Douglas Husak, professor of philosophy and law at Rutgers University, and Peter de Marneffe, associate professor of philosophy at Arizona State University, will participate in the debate, titled “Should Drugs be Legalized?”

Husak’s research focuses on the moral limits of criminal sanction, while Marneffe is an expert on moral, political and legal philosophy. Husak recently published a book, Legalize This! The Case for Decriminalizing Drugs.

“There are many difficult ethical issues that we must deal with as parents, voters, community leaders, teachers and professionals,” Frederick Adams, chair of the Delaware Interdisciplinary Ethics Program and of UD’s Department of Philosophy, said. “Today’s students will be making tomorrow’s policy decisions as they enter adult lives. We are excited to offer a number of public programs, including the great debates, which will bring national experts to Delaware to share their insights on important ethical concerns, such as drug legalization, cloning and genetically modified foods.”

Students from any Delaware college are invited to further analyze the issues raised in the debate through an essay contest with $1,200 in prize money. Contestants should defend an informed point of view on the debate topic in typed, double-spaced essays, up to 10 pages in length.

The essays should be mailed to: Great Debates, Department of Philosophy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, by Monday, Nov. 8. Winning essays will be announced Dec. 8.

Besides the debate series, the Delaware Interdisciplinary Ethics Program will cosponsor a conference on the environment, food and human health Oct. 22-24, at UD’s Clayton Hall Conference Center on the Laird campus in Newark.

The Ethics Program is steered by representatives from a consortium of Delaware institutions of higher learning, health care institutions and research organizations.

Article by Martin Mbugua

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