PHIL 165 001 – Bioethics

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Instructor: Dana Falkenberg. This course meets Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. in Peabody 216.

Does respecting human life require us always to preserve and promote it? 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 and political debates that arise in the context of human healthcare. This class will trace these two opposed conceptions of what it means to value human life as we discuss a number of contemporary moral issues that pertain to human health: abortion and reproductive technologies, end of life treatments, global poverty, and U.S. healthcare policy.

It is sometimes thought that moral questions have no “right” or “wrong” answers. However, even if this is the case it doesn’t follow that there are no better or worse reasons for holding one position rather than another. This class is designed for students to become better equipped to recognize what these reasons might be and the logical implications of these reasons. The goals of this course are for students acquire the skills necessary to: 1.) Charitably, persuasively and clearly present the views of others — whether or not one thinks such views are correct 2.) Critically analyze the views of others 3.) Articulate and rationally defend their own logically consistent positions.

Attendance and active participation required. Dana Falkenberg’s webpage