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Instructor: Sara Copic. This course meets MTWRF 9:45 – 11:15 a.m. via remote synchronous (RS) instruction.

This is an introductory bioethics course in which we will discuss controversial contemporary questions about bodily autonomy, reproductive ethics (abortion, commercial surrogacy), vaccine mandates, human genetic enhancement, and voluntary euthanasia. To make progress on these issues, we will learn how to evaluate arguments for and against various ethical positions. In this course, we will approach the material through active learning strategies. You will be asked to discuss our central questions with others in small and large groups, to develop the skill of reconstructing arguments for and against ethical position, and to back up your own opinions with arguments. Some of the skills you’ll develop in this course will be: public speaking; critical thinking, argument analysis, and how to approach conversations with others who disagree with you about ethical problems. Here are some sample questions we may discuss:

  • Should some medical procedures, such as vaccination, be compulsory?
  • What is the moral status of abortion?
  • Are we allowed to use non-human animals for our own benefit, such as when we eat meat or when we use them as test subjects in scientific research?
  • What ethical problems are posed by gestational surrogacy?
  • Are we obligated to genetically enhance ourselves and others, should we refrain from genetic enhancement altogether, or should we use it only to prevent diseases?
  • Do people have a right to die?
  • Is death (even) bad?