PHIL 165: Bioethics

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Does respecting human life require us to do all we can to promote human life and human interests? Or, does respect for human life require us merely not to act against it in certain ways, as we would by unjustly killing or damaging it? These represent the two extreme poles of thought informing the moral debates that arise in the context of human health care. This class will trace these two opposed conceptions (as well as more moderate positions that lie in between these poles) of what it means to value human life and to respect humans within the context of medicine as we discuss a number of contemporary moral issues that pertain to human health: abortion and reproductive technologies, end-of-life treatments, respect for patient autonomy, and US healthcare policy.

Required Text:

  • Vaughn, Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases. 2nd edition, 2013. ISBN 978-0199796236.
  • Parens and Asch (Eds.), Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights, 2000. ISBN 978-0878408030.

You can find information on how to purchase textbooks and required materials on the Textbooks page of the Friday Center website.

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at with any questions or for more information.

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