PHIL340 Bioethics (3 semester hours)

This course is the study of ethical dilemmas that arise in the practice of medicine, biomedical research, and healthcare policies. We will learn when to use one ethical principle over another in making ethical judgments and decision making. For example, when is it okay to take away individual civil liberties for the greater good, such as instituting lockdowns, quarantines and forced business closures during a pandemic? The CDC and WHO operate using utilitarian principles to protect everyone, but they do so at the expense of taking away some people’s freedom. On the other hand, there are situations in which using the utilitarian principle would be the most unethical course of action. For example, even though slavery benefited the majority of people in this country economically, it was immoral to deprive any individual of their civil rights. The abolitionists were correct to choose the deontological principle to argue, and fight for, the freedom of the slaves. Those are obvious examples, but there are many that are very hard to figure out. This course will provide a framework and guidance for critically thinking through biomedical issues. Whether or not you are heading for a career in the medical profession, this course will help you make good decisions concerning your own health and well-being.