LIST 555: Bioethics: Birth, Health, Death and Choice
Area: Ethics and Liberal Studies
Instructor: Benjamin Chan
Course Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 1, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31.
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
There are three major concerns for any living creature: birth, illness and death. Most creatures have little control over these events, and for most of history neither have we. However, rapid advances in medicine over the past century have presented us with unprecedented choices in these areas. We will be examining three fundamental sources of disagreement about these new choices from the interdisciplinary perspective of philosophy, medicine and law:
Medical ethics: How should we choose on behalf of other? For example, what should I do when my father with dementia seems to want medical treatment that he clearly opposed in his living will?
Public health ethics: What is the proper role of government in promoting health? For example, are regulations on soft drink serving sizes an unjustifiable restriction of personal liberty? What about the mandatory vaccination of children?
Moral controversy: How should we proceed when there is persistent moral disagreement among citizens acting in good faith? For example, is there any hope of coming to a satisfactory compromise in the abortion debate?