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Bertha Alvarez Manninen: November 2014

posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:00 AM by Peggy DesAutels

Bertha Alvarez Manninen
Arizona State University


Bertha Alvarez Manninen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees (in Philosophy and English Literature) from Florida International University in 1999, her Master’s degree in Philosophy from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2001, and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Purdue University in 2006. She has been at ASU since 2006, and is currently the co-director for the Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence.

Dr. Manninen’s main area of research is applied ethics, more specifically biomedical ethics. She has published articles mainly on reproductive ethics (abortion, cloning, and stem cell research) and end-of-life ethics in journals such as Journal of Medical Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, and Hypatia. One of the unifying themes in her work is the intersection of metaphysics and applied philosophy, in particular how issues of personal identity underlie many debates in bioethics. Her most recent work is her first single authored monograph Pro Life, Pro-Choice: Shared Values in the Abortion Debate (2014, Vanderbilt University Press). In the book, she defends a pro-choice perspective while simultaneously making room in pro-choice ideology for respect for fetal life. She also highlights the shared values within the pro-choice and pro-life communities, and encourages focusing on those values in the hopes of moving the abortion debate away from the stagnate polemics that has permeated it for the past four decades. Much of her recent work has a similar theme – that is, illustrating how someone who is pro-choice can nevertheless hold that fetuses have moral status and moral worth. In the near future, Dr. Manninen wants to return to her original interest when she first started studying philosophy – philosophy of religion. She is currently working on an article on the ethics of prayer.

More than writing, however, Dr. Manninen loves to teach. In 2014 she was awarded the ASU Founder’s Day award for her work in teaching bioethics. As a first generation student from a Hispanic and poverty- stricken background, Dr. Manninen is dedicated to mentoring college students with similar life experiences and helping them survive college. From her perspective, this not only serves the students, but honors the professors throughout her college experience whose care and mentorship were an integral aspect of her academic life. She fully believes that the first, and most important, task of a university professor is to educate her students to be better citizens of the world.
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