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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Thomas R. Mc Cormick
MHE 523
Seattle Campus

Biomedical Ethics

Selected topics in medical ethics emphasizing methods of ethical reasoning about moral dilemmas and contributions of philosophical theories and principles to practical problems of medicine. Students provided with opportunities to test their value assumptions and analytical skills. Open to graduate and professional students and others with appropriate background.

Class description

THE PURPOSE of this course is to examine the major ethical theories and principles that have historically influenced this culture in deliberations over ethical dilemmas in the life sciences; to identify the values which we as individuals use in our decision making process, and to reflect on specific issues of an ethical nature which confront us in medicine and the life sciences today.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

THE FORMAT of this course will be seminar style in which each participant is encouraged to share his/her ideas and values with other class members. Selected readings in current ethical issues in medicine are well organized in the text book, Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics by Ronald Munson. (available in the SCC Book Store) At times guest speakers will be invited to share their views, values and perspectives on particular issues. Occasionally films and slides will be used to illustrate the issues, combined with lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

THE REQUIREMENTS of this course are as follows: READING: (1) All required readings must be completed before the class period for which it is scheduled in order that participants may enter into an informed discussion of the chosen topics. At times class members will be requested to offer their critique of selected readings in seminar fashion. Class participation will account for 25% of the final grade. A short paper describing your proposed system of ethical decision making will due half way through the quarter, October 30th and will account for 25% of the final grade.

TERM PAPER: (2) Each class member will choose an issue in bioethics and write a research paper of about 10 pages in length. The paper should clearly present an ethical dilemma or problem, and offer arguments for a particular ethical solution. In formulating an appropriate defense of your proposed solution, the student should be able to identify strengths and criticisms of the arguments for and against the position. This paper will account for 50% of the final grade, and it will be due on December 11th, the last class session. The instructor will be happy to discuss the development of your paper with you if you so desire.

HONORS: (3) Since medical students are enrolled in a pass/fail system, any medical student desiring to take this class for honors must discuss special honors requirements with the instructor.

TEXT: (4) Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics, by Ronald Munson Fifth Edition

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Kelly J Canaday
Date: 03/01/2007