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Instructor: Conner Schultz. This course meets MTWRF 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. via remote synchronous (RS) instruction.

Bioethics, a crucial part of moral philosophy, grapples with ethical dilemmas in medicine and the life sciences. Recent global events, particularly the COVID pandemic, have brought these dilemmas into sharp focus. From lockdowns to vaccine mandates, the pandemic has raised critical questions about the balance between individual rights and societal welfare. Are lockdowns morally permissible? Are people obligated to wear masks? Should vaccines be mandatory? What sacrifices are individuals morally required to take for the benefit of society at large?

In this introductory bioethics course, we will explore a variety of contentious issues spanning from birth to death. Our topics will include abortion, euthanasia, our treatment of non-human animals, doctor-patient dynamics, universal healthcare, genetic enhancement technologies like CRISPR, and the badness of death. A key feature of this course is a special unit dedicated to pandemic ethics. Here, we will explore the ethical challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, including public health policies, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and the impact of social media on public opinion.

This course is designed to be highly participatory, encouraging students to actively engage with the material through in-class discussions, critical analysis, and ethical problem-solving exercises. You’ll have the opportunity to delve into complex bioethical scenarios, debate differing viewpoints, and develop your own well-reasoned arguments on various controversial topics. This interactive approach is intended to not only deepen your understanding of bioethical issues but also to enhance your critical thinking and analytical skills in the realm of moral philosophy.