Philosophy and Medical Ethics
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
02 September 2019
Requisites for this module
BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV56 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics,
BA VV57 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Placement Year),
BA VV58 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV59 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV5P Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV16 Law with Philosophy,
LLB MV18 Law with Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV19 Law with Philosophy (Including Placement Year)
This module will introduce students to a wide range of philosophical questions that are raised by everyday medical practice and recent developments in biomedical science. It will show how the resources of moral philosophy and philosophy more widely can help us to develop a better understanding of these questions, and enable us to critically assess the ways in which these issues are currently dealt with. The exact range of topics addressed will vary from year to year.
In this academic year, we will explore the following issues: the moral significance of health and the just allocation of medical resource (between patients and on the level of healthcare budgets); the ethics of reproduction (e.g. surrogate mothering and sex selction), and the ethics of enhancement. Finally, this module will familiarise students with Foucault's notion of "biopolitics" and explore its relevance for developing a critical understanding of the wider context in which medical-ethical questions arise.
The aims of the module are:
* to learn about why and how theories of justice bear on the issue of health
* to be aware of, and become able to critically reflect on, the ethical issues raised by reproductive medicine
* to become able to identify and critically reflect on the philosophical, ethical and political issues raised by recent advances in life sciences/bioengineering
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
* identify the ethical and philosophical issues raised by a selection of medical matters.
* explain the debates concerning these issues
* critically assess the merits of the conflicting arguments.
Students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:
* define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant;
* seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information;
* process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
* compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure;
* write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
* be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them;
* think 'laterally' and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches;
* maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong;
* think critically and constructively.
No additional information available.
1 x two hour lecture and discussion session each week followed by a one-hour seminar at which issues covered in the lecture will be discussed in more detail.
- Lemke, Thomas. (c2011) Biopolitics: an advanced introduction, New York: New York University Press. vol. Biopolitics, medicine, technoscience, and health in the 21st century
- Foucault, Michel; Bertani, Mauro; Fontana, Alessandro. (2003) Society must be defended: lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76, New York: Picador.
- Savulescu, Julian; Bostrom, Nick. (2009) Human enhancement, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Kuhse, Helga; Singer, Peter. (2006) Bioethics: an anthology, Oxford: Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies
- Habermas, Jürgen. (2003) The future of human nature, Cambridge: Polity.
- (2016) Bioethics: an anthology, Malden, MA, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc. vol. 40
- Preciado, Paul B. (April 2013) 'Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics', in E-Flux. (44)
- T. Schramme. (2009) 'On Norman Daniels' Interpretation of the Moral Significance of Healthcare', in Journal of Medical Ethics: BMJ. vol. 35 (1) , pp.17-20
- Preciado, Paul B. (2013) Testo junkie: sex, drugs, and biopolitics in the pharmacopornographic era, New York, NY: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York.
- Daniels, Norman. (2008) Just health: meeting health needs fairly, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Autumn Term Essay - 3000 words
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Joerg Schaub
Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 36 hours, 36 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
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