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Instructor: Sam Fullhart (incoming July 1, 2024). This course meets TR 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. in FH 104.

In this course, we will explore moral and political issues related to medicine. We will discuss questions that arise for clinicians, patients, families, researchers, and policy makers, as well as broader questions about the roles of health institutions in our lives. Our topics will include:

  • Abortion: When, if ever, is abortion morally permissible? When, if ever, are legal restrictions on abortion morally permissible?
  • Procreative Ethics: Is it morally permissible to select for certain traits in our future children?
  • End-of-Life Decisions: What, if anything, is bad about death, and what implications does this have for whether we should try to extend our lives? What is the significance of an advanced directive? How do we make end-of-life decisions for those who can no longer decide for themselves? Do patients have a right to physician-assisted suicide?
  • Addiction: What are the causes of addiction and how, if at all, is an addiction a compulsion?

We’ll conclude by considering some broader questions. For example, how do political and economic institutions shape what medical options are available to us, as well as the health prospects of particular individuals? What are the purposes of medical intervention?


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