Philosophy Professor to Discuss Moral Decision-Making at Lecture

Sept. 26, 2005

by Julie Carlson

Is choosing when to die ever moral? Dr. Robert Baird, professor of philosophy at Baylor University, will discuss that complex and controversial question at the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in Kayser Auditorium in the Hankamer School of Business. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"The first part of my presentation will focus on the problem of moral decision-making and why these decisions are so difficult," Baird said. "Then I will advance two arguments in defense of in certain circumstances of choosing when to die."

Baird was named the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award during the spring semester. The award is presented annually to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As the recipient, Baird received $20,000 and an opportunity to lecture on a subject of his choice during the fall semester.

Baird earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor, his bachelor of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Emory University. He came to Baylor in 1968 as an assistant professor of philosophy and was named chair of the philosophy department in 1987. Prior to his tenure at Baylor, Baird taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., and Oglethorpe College in Atlanta.

As a professor, Baird has been designated a Master Teacher at Baylor, and received both the Robert L. Reid Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities and the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service to Students. He was chosen as the Piper Professor of Texas in 1994. Baird not only chaired the philosophy department for 18 years, but also has chaired a university self-study and the committee that developed the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC).

Known for his prolific research, he has co-edited a series of 13 volumes on contemporary issues in philosophy, several of which have appeared in second and third editions. He also has written and edited numerous other volumes, book chapters, journal articles, reviews, booknotes, abstracts and encyclopedia articles.

A 1918 Baylor biology graduate, Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins. She was a Baylor professor of biology from 1940-67, chair of the biology department from 1943-67, and director of Strecker Museum from 1943-67. Smith retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith with an endowed chair known as the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professorship in Biology. She passed away Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?