Bioethics – Course Outline

Bioethics is a developing field that examines ethical issues emerging from biotechnology and medicine. Many difficult ethical questions have arisen from the exponential growth of technology and the health-care industry. We will be examining the following questions: When should we initiate or withdraw life support? Who should make the decision? How should organs be allocated to transplant candidates? Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children? Should the rights of fetuses trump those of pregnant women? How can we justly distribute scarce and expensive medical resources? How important is it to keep bioinformation private? Do we owe moral consideration to animals? Is enhancing human capacities through technology ever morally wrong?

Upon completion of this course you will be able to: Understand the key issues in bioethics and the different positions taken on them Appreciate the arguments for and against the differing positions discuss the issues with confidence deliberate independently about issues that arise in the future come to your own well reasoned conclusions on various issues identify, evaluate and construct arguments apply critical thinking to real life cases

Required Texts:

Marianne Talbot, Bioethics: An Introduction Cambridge University press (2012)

Other readings will be made available

Week 1: Intro to Bioethics and Ethical Thinking

Talbot, pgs 1- 32

Week 2: Identifying and Evaluating Arguments

Talbot, 50-72

Week 3: Cloning and Reproduction

Talbot: pgs 91-116, 137-158, 160-181

Week 4: Aging and Dying

Tolbat: pgs 203-224, James Rachels, “The Morality of Euthanasia”

Week 5: Human Enhancement

Tolbat 249-272, Nick Bostrom, “Ethical Issues in Human Enhancement”

Week 6: Bio-Information

Talbot, 273-397; Norman Mooradian “The Importance of Privacy Revisited”

Week 7: Bio-Ownership

Talbot, 348-371, John Harris, “The Survival Lottery”

Week 8: Human Justice

Talbot, 371-392; Peter Singer, “The Singer Solution to World Poverty”

Week 9: Health Care

Allen Buchanan, “The Right to a Decent Minimum of Healthcare”

Week 10: Duties to the Natural Environment

Talbot, 418-444, Paul Taylor, “The Ethics of Respect for Nature”

Week 11: Duties to Non-human Animals

Talbot, 395-417; Alasdair Norcross, “Puppies, Pigs, and People”

Week 12: Human Dignity and Bioethics

Adamn Schulman, “Bioethics and the Question of Human Dignity”

Week 13: Class Presentation

Prepare for presentations

Week 14: Course Reflections

Talbot, 445-456