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Instructor: Greg Bognar. This course meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 – 9:50 a.m. in Murray G201.

This course provides a survey of the central problems of bioethics. Many of these problems are the subject of deep controversies in public life. Our aim is to identify and analyze the main philosophical arguments and positions behind the views advanced in these controversies.

The course is divided into four sections. We will begin by discussing controversial issues in medical ethics, including medical paternalism, autonomy and informed consent, surrogate decision making, and research on humans and animals. The second section is on life and death decisions. We examine the doctrine of the sanctity of life, the treatment of newborns with severe disabilities, abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The third section focuses on emerging technologies, including genetic testing for disabilities, the enhancement of human capacities by genetic means, and sex selection. We also explore the social consequences of some of these technologies. In the last section, we turn to problems in the allocation of health care resources. We discuss rationing, responsibility for health and healthy lifestyles, justice between the young and the old, and markets for human body parts.

Greg Bognar’s webpage