About Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee is the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics and the director of the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is known nationally as a keynote speaker and author on contemporary ethics, especially on marriage and the value of human life.

Lee was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and was taught by Sisters of the Holy Spirit (from Ireland) in grade school and Dominican priests in high school. He is very grateful to his parents, his brother, and his grade school and high school teachers for the clear witness they bore to the goodness, breadth, and reasonableness of the Catholic faith. Lee did not apply himself well as a student in grade school or high school (except in a sophomore-year geometry class) until Mr. Robert Rando’s senior-year religion class, which was based on St. Thomas’s Summa Theologiae.

After a year at a local community college, Lee attended University of Dallas, receiving a B.A. in 1974. He received an M.A. in philosophy from Niagara University in 1977, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Marquette University in 1980. He taught philosophy at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee (1978–1981) and University of St. Thomas in Houston (1981–1992). All the while, he held second jobs to make ends meet for his growing family, working at times as a bartender, a grocery-store stocker, and—for the longest period—a wedding and portrait photographer (some of his portraits winning full merit awards from the Professional Photographers Association of America or the Houston Photographers Guild).

In 1992, Lee began teaching philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. In 2007, he was appointed to direct Franciscan University’s Institute of Bioethics, which hosts annual conferences and offers specific classes on contemporary ethical issues for healthcare professionals and the general public. As director, Lee defends and articulates the natural law theory’s positions on human life and marriage through his writings, debates, and public speaking engagements. His expertise includes such hot-button bioethical issues as abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, sexual morality, and same-sex unions.

Lee has recently lectured or debated at Boston University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Wisconsin at Wausau, Baylor University, Fordham University, and Princeton University. He is a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the Society of Christian Philosophers, and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Lee delivered the Olaf Tollefsen lecture at St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire in 2003 and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture at University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas in 2005. In 2006 he received the Cardinal Wright Award for excellence in the integration of faith and reason from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Besides the books and scholarly articles listed in the right-hand column, Lee has published many book reviews as well as numerous articles on the web and in other popular media.

Publications of Patrick Lee

Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, with Robert P. George (New York: Cambridge University, 2008).

Abortion and Unborn Human Life (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1996).

“Theology and Thomistic Ethics,” Faith and Reason, 3 (1979): 47–68.

“St. Thomas and Avicenna on the Agent Intellect,” Thomist, 45 (1981): 41–61.

“The Permanence of the Ten Commandments: St. Thomas and His Modern Commentators,” Theological Studies, 42 (1981): 422–43.

“Aquinas and Scotus on Liberty and Natural Law,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 56 (1982): 70–78.

“Language about God and the Theory of Analogy,” New Scholasticism, 58 (1984): 40–66.

“The Relation Between Intellect and Will in Free Choice According to Aquinas and Scotus,” Thomist, 49 (1985): 321–42.

“Aquinas on Knowledge of Truth and Existence,” New Scholasticism, 60 (1986): 46–71.

“Existential Propositions in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas,” Thomist, 52 (1988): 605–26.

“Reasons and Religious Belief,” Faith and Philosophy, 6 (1989): 19–34.

“Etienne Gilson’s Thomist Realism, A Review Article,” New Scholasticism, 43 (1989): 81–100.

“Principles of Catholic Scholarship,” in Proceedings of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, 1988.

“Personhood, the Moral Standing of the Unborn, and Abortion,” Linacre Quarterly, 57 (1990): 80–89.

“Self-Consciousness and the Right to Life,” in Abortion: A New Generation of Catholic Responses, ed. Stephan Heaney (Braintree, Massachusetts: Pope John Center, 1992), 73–84.

“Evidentialism, Plantinga, and the Rationality of Religious Belief,” in Rational Faith: Catholic Responses to Reformed Epistemology, ed. Linda Zagzebski (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1993) 140–167.

“Existence, Truth and Realism,” in Saints, Sovereigns, and Scholars, ed. R.A. Herrera, James Lehrberger, O.Cist., M.E. Bradford (Peter Lang: New York, 1993), 95–106.

Articles in Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine s.v.: Absolute Moral Norms, Capital Sins, Cardinal Virtues, Choice, Conscience, Consequentialism, Cooperation, Deontology, Double Effect, Formation of Conscience, Free Choice, Hedonism, Human Goods, Human Virtues, Legalism, Modes of Responsibility, Natural Law, Passions, Positivism, Practical Reason, Probabilism, Proportionalism, Relativism, Subjectivism, Synderesis, Teleology, Utilitarianism, Vices.

“Human Beings are Animals,” International Philosophical Quarterly, 37 (1997): 291–304.

“Is St. Thomas’s Natural Law Theory Naturalist?” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 61 (1997): 567–88.

“What Sex Can Be: Self-Alienation, Illusion, or One-Flesh Union,” with Robert P. George, American Journal of Jurisprudence, 42 (1997): 135–57.

“The Goodness of Creation, Evil, and Christian Teaching” Thomist, 64 (2000): 239–70.

“Personhood, Dignity, Suicide, and Euthanasia,” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 1 (2001): 329–44.

“Germain Grisez’s Christian Humanism,” American Journal of Jurisprudence, 46 (2002): 137–52.

“Does God Have Emotions,” in God Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents God, eds. Douglas Huffman and Eric Johnson (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2002), 211–30.

“St. Thomas Aquinas on Human Ensoulment,” with John Haldane, Philosophy, 78 (2003): 255–78.

“The Moral Status of the Human Embryo,” in Nicholas Lund-Molfese and Michael Kelly, eds., Human Dignity and Reproductive Technology (New York: University Press of America, 2003), 71–80.

“Rational Souls and the Beginning of Life,” with John Haldane, Philosophy, 78 (2003): 532–40.

“The Pro-Life Argument from Substantial Identity: A Defense,” Bioethics, 18 (2004), 249–63.

“Are There Exceptionless Moral Norms?” in Nicholas C. Lund–Molfese and Michael Kelly, eds., Bioethics: A Culture War (New York: University Press of America, 2004), 31–41

“The Wrong of Abortion,” with Robert P. George, in Andrew I. Cohen and Christopher Wellman, eds., Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics (New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2005), 13–26.

“Abortion and Christian Bioethics: The Continuing Ethical Importance of Abortion,” Christian Bioethics, 10 (2004): 1–31.

“The Human Body and Sexuality in the Teaching of Pope John Paul II,” in C. Tollefsen, ed., John Paul II’s Contribution to Catholic Bioethics (Dordrecht: Springer, 2004), 107–20.

“Soul, Body and Personhood,” American Journal of Jurisprudence, 49 (2004): 87–125.

“Marriage and Acts Reproductive in Kind,” Vera Lex, Journal of the International Natural Law Society, 6 (2005): 163–82.

“Accepting God’s Offer of Personal Communion, in the Words and Deeds of Christ, Handed on in the Body of Christ, His Church,” in Mark J. Cherry, ed., The Death of Metaphysics; the Death of Culture (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006), 330.

“Interrogational Torture,” American Journal of Jurisprudence, 51 (2006): 131–47.

“Embryonic Human Beings,” The Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, 22 (2006): 424–38.

“Substantial Identity and the Right to Life: A Rejoinder to Dean Stretton,” Bioethics, 21 (2007): 93–97.

“Evil as Such is a Privation: A Reply to John Crosby,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 81 (2007): 469–88

“The Papal Allocution Concerning Care for PVS Patients: A Reply to Fr. O’Rourke,” in Christopher Tollefsen, ed., Artificial Nutrition and Hydration, The New Catholic Debate (The Netherlands: Springer, 2008).

“The Nature and Basis of Human Dignity,” with Robert P. George, in Human Dignity and Bioethics, Essays Commissioned by the President’s Council on Bioethics (Washington, D.C., 2008), 409–34, reprinted in Ratio Juris, 2008.

“Marriage, Procreation, and Same-Sex Unions,” Monist, 91 (2008): 422–45.

“What Male-Female Complementarity Makes Possible: Marriage as a Two-in-One-Flesh Union,” with Robert P. George, Theological Studies, 69 (2008): 641–62.

“Human Nature and Moral Goodness,” in Mark Cherry, ed., The Normativity of the Natural (New York: Springer, 2009), 45–54.