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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Patrick T. Smith
PHIL 242
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Medical Ethics

Introduction to ethics, primarily for first- and second-year students. Emphasizes philosophical thinking and writing through an in-depth study of philosophical issues arising in the practice of medicine. Examines the issues of medical ethics from a patient's point of view.

Class description

The practice of medicine necessarily involves actions both extraordinary and mundane that shape the lives of patients. Who will get the next life-saving organ or receive the priority in an emergency? Who ought to make decisions regarding the ending and the beginning of life? What is the nature of disability and illness? How should patients, nurses, and doctors interact? In this course, we will engage in critical, philosophical reflection on these issues and others. In the process, we will discuss the ethical consequences of certain medical concepts, institutions, and practices. Furthermore, we will engage with general and abstract ethical theories as well as particular case studies that are designed to illustrate some of the unique ethical dilemmas that face medical practitioners. Finally, the class will help develop students' abilities to both understand and make arguments concerning moral issues.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

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.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 04/17/2013