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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laura J. Harkewicz
BIS 380
Bothell Campus


Explores concepts and questions in the field of bioethics and addresses key debates from different philosophical, social, and cultural perspectives.

Class description

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

Recommended preparation

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.

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 Laura J. Harkewicz
Date: 10/28/2013