Faculty Profiles

David Fletcher Faculty Headshot

David B. Fletcher, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Emeritus

On Faculty since 1981, Retired in 2021

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Dr. Fletcher is interested in ethical theory, particularly deontological and rights theories. He is researching a range of bioethical issues, including such developments as the genetic, biological, and technological enhancement of human beings as well as traditional concerns about justice in access to health care, and is interested in the ethical methodology used to address bioethical concerns. He is interested in the “private vices” of gambling, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco as matters of personal ethics and social policy. Dr. Fletcher has an avocational interest in liturgy; he taught a liturgy course to church musicians and is currently writing a liturgy column for a church paper. He enjoys guitar playing, travel, theater, history, and humor. He applies his ethical insights on two healthcare ethics committees. He has served on the vestry (board) of his church and is active in adult Christian education.

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Ph.D., Philosophy, 1984

Loyola University of Chicago
M.A., Philosophy, 1980

Trinity College
B.A., Undergraduate Studies, 1973

  • Bioethics
  • Gambling
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs and Tobacco
  • Ethics
  • Personal Ethics
  • Ethical Theory
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Business Ethics
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Global Justice
  • Contemporary Moral Problems
  • Ethical Perspectives in Teaching
  • Society of Christian Philosophers: member
  • The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity: Fellow
  • American Philosophical Association: member
  • Illinois Philosophical Association: Vice President, 1996 - 1999

"What's Going on in Atlantic City?"
Let's Talk with Mark Elfstrand (WYLL-AM Chicago)

Dr. Fletcher talks with radio host Mark Elfstrand about Americans' experiences with gambling.

Bioethics Prof: Online Support for Man Ending Life 'Disturbing'
Christian Post

It's not that newsworthy that someone in Oregon has decided to commit suicide under the law, because that is fairly common,” commented Dr. David Fletcher, a philosophy professor at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., to The Christian Post. “What is interesting is someone has decided to take a lot of other people into his world through the process with him,” said Fletcher, who has taught bioethics for 30 years.
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Interviewed and quoted for article, by Kyle Waalen, “Custom-Made Babies”
Urban Faith.com

Dr. Fletcher comments on issues of bioethics from a Christian perspective.
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"The Terri Schiavo Case"
At Issue, radio panel discussion hosted by Craig Dellimore, WBBM Radio, Chicago

This program was aired on the Easter weekend and heard over its large listening area. Along with myself, the panel included Laurie Zoloth of the Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, and Howard C. Eglit of Chicago-Kent College of Law.
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  • Ethical Theory
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Business Ethics
  • Asian Philosophy
  • Global Justice
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Contemporary Moral Problems
  • Internship

Are there moral foundations to which we can appeal to address moral issues? What do Christians have to contribute to debates about ethics in medicine, medical science, and biotechnology? These issues, which lie at the intersection of ethical theory, applied ethics, and social philosophy, are at the heart of Dr. Fletcher’s research.

His professional interest in bioethics began with his position as manuscript editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and was rekindled by serving as a teaching assistant in a bioethics course at the University of Illinois in the mid 1970s. This led to his writing a dissertation on the ethics of human subjects research at the University of Illinois. Bioethical issues occupied Dr. Fletcher as Visiting Scholar at Oxford University in 1991.

He applies his research in bioethics in his service on ethics committees and consulting on clinical ethical issues both at Central DuPage Hospital and at Fairview Ministries, a retirement and nursing facility. He does some teaching at the graduate level in the bioethics program at Trinity International University, where he is a Fellow of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. He helped to found The Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College and now chairs its Steering Committee, he was Vice President of the Illinois Philosophical Association (1997-1999), and he serves on the editorial board of the journal, Ethics & Medicine. He is a frequent speaker to medical and community groups on bioethics and to business groups on business ethics. He has published in ethical theory, bioethics, and social philosophy, has been interviewed for articles in U.S. News and World Report, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times, and has appeared on television.

  • Co-directed a master's thesis at the Command and General Staff College of the U.S. Army for Major Mitchell Payne, "The Army Ethic," 2014.
  • Co-directed a master's thesis in bioethics at Trinity International University for Sarah Flashing, "H. Tristram Engelhardt on Christian Participation in the Public Square: A Van Tilian Philosophical Critique," successfully defended April 2005.
  • Co-directed a master's thesis in bioethics at Trinity International University for Daniel McConchie, "Redefining the Active/Passive Euthanasia Debate: Introducing New Categories to Aid Proper Moral Contemplation" (received the Professor C. B. Bluge Award "for the student who has presented to the faculty an acceptable thesis as evidence of creative scholarship in the field of Biblical and Systematic Theology"); successfully defended April 2001.
  • Have directed numerous Capstone projects in Trinity’s Bioethics MA program.

Private Vices, Public Consequences, Book under contract
Wm. B. Eerdmans, forthcoming

Review of "Standing on Principles" by Tom Beauchamp, Ethics and Medicine
Summer 2014

“Willing and Doing,” in Jennifer Grant, Cathleen Falsani, eds., Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels
Jericho Books, 2014

Adultery, The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception 
De Gruyter, 2009

"Foreword," in Leone Nunley with Dan Merrill, Fighting for David
Tyndale House Publishers, March 2006

“Holy Living, Assisted Dying: an Anglican Perspective on Assisted Suicide”, Ethics and Medicine
Spring 2004

“The Future of Biotechnology”, Christian Living Quarterly
May 2004