Philosophy | Applied Ethics
P242 | 23784 | Shapshay
Topic: Biomedical Ethics
Philosophical Ethics seeks to gain a rational understanding of
questions pertaining to what is right or what is good. What is the
right thing to do in any morally ambiguous situation? What does a
good life consist in? Applied ethics asks these same kinds of
questions with respect to particular domains of human life: e.g.
business practices (business ethics), our treatment of the
environment (environmental ethics), the use of computers (computer
ethics) etc. Biomedical ethics seeks to determine what is right or
good with respect to various practices in healthcare, biomedical
research and new medical technologies. It is a relatively new (only
about 30 years old), and exciting field of study.
This course will deal philosophically with three issues of great
importance to our society: 1. justice and access to healthcare
(including the question of whether there is a moral right to health
care, in the U.S. and, indeed, globally), 2. the ethics of human
embryonic stem cell research, and the thorny issue of the moral
status of the human embryo, 3. issues in “genethics” such as the
morality of eugenics (either state-sponosored or “backdoor”
eugenics), the ethics of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
and embryo selection.
We will spend the first few class meetings discussing ethical
theories and principles which will prepare students to understand
and analyze moral positions in the articles we will be discussing.
In addition to writing a short paper, a 10-12 page final research
paper, and taking a midterm exam, students will be expected to
participate actively in class, through class-wide debates,
presentations and role-playing exercises.
Beauchamp and Walters eds. Contemporary Issues In Bioethics,
6th edition (Thomson/Wadsworth: Belmont, CA, 2oo3).
Justine Burley and John Harris (editors), A Companion to Genethics
(Blackwell Publishing, 2002)
Classpak of readings (all other readings will be made
available on Oncourse)