Like their twenty-first century counterparts, eighteenth century Americans wrestled constantly with ethical and moral dilemmas. Whether it was the desirability of vaccinating against smallpox, placing lightning rods on top of buildings to draw the strikes away or declaring an independent government, Benjamin Franklin often played the role of advocate. He recognized, however, the importance of seeing the issue from multiple sides and basing his decisions on reason. Contemporary scientific advances demand new ethical decisions. The 2007 Celebration! of Benjamin Franklin, Founder explored the issue of Franklin and Ethics.
Arthur Caplan, Ph.D. gave the keynote address: "What would Ben have said about human cloning (and other contemporary bioethics conundrums)?"
Dr. Caplan received the 2007 Franklin Founder award for his work in bioethics and for continuing the role embraced by Franklin of not fearing scientific advances but using them for the improvement of society.