Laura J. Harkewicz
Explores concepts and questions in the field of bioethics and addresses key debates from different philosophical, social, and cultural perspectives.
In 1970 a new word was coined, designating a new discipline, located somewhere at the intersection of medicine, theology, politics, the life sciences, law and moral philosophy. The emergence of bioethics was the outcome of a number of different historical developments, including social movements, technological developments, the setting of legal precedents, the breaking of medical scandals, changes to the institutions of medicine, new ways of saving and prolonging life, and the appearance of new diseases. This course brings together all these different strands to weave a portrait of birth, illness, healing, and death in our technologically-driven age.
Student learning goals
Understand the ways in which contemporary bioethical debates emerge as the outcome of historical processes
Develop familiarity with core principles of bioethics and their application in national and international codes of bioethics
Acquire the skills to describe and explain the rationale behind various ethical positions from multiple viewpoints with consideration of a variety of economic, social, political, and cultural links
Demonstrate thoughtful, well-supported arguments in response to current and historical bioethical controversies orally, in written form, and in constructive debate
Recognize that bioethics is a living, dynamic subject
General method of instruction
Lecture, small and large group discussion
No prerequisites for this course. Readings should be completed before each lecture. Come prepared to discuss - see course website for discussion questions
Class assignments and grading
A group oral presentation, one group or individual paper based on presentation, several short papers based on readings, a midterm, and final exam.
See above and course website.