Philosophy 250: Medical Ethics Karen Gervais Ed Langerak
January Interim, 1998 Pager: 612 5303033 Office: H601C--3494
Home: 612 4300103 Home: 6458321
Hours: 2:15-3:30, M-Th
We will examine the main moral theories, principles, and approaches current in Western ethics and then apply them to such issues as access to medical care, managed care, abortion, euthanasia, and the relationships among physicans, nurses and patients. We will distinguish the normative, empirical, metaphysical, and conceptual dimensions of these issues. We will clarify such concepts as person, autonomy, rights, and death. We will relate philosophical and medical discussions to some central religious and theological concerns in the Christian tradition. We will discuss how one can combine firm personal commitments with appropriate tolerance and respect for alternatives in a pluralistic society.
The first test will count toward 20% of the course grade, and the final exam 35%. A formal paper of 7-10 pages will count toward 30%, leaving 15% for attendance, quantity and quality of oral class participation, quizzes, brownie points, and (at least 2 and up to 4) informal response papers of 1-2 pages each. For the formal paper you are invited to write about the two case studies that will be introduced during our discussion of the ethics of managed care. Talk to the instructors if you would like to write your paper on a different topic. The paper may include discussion of empirical issues, but must be philosophical by way of arguing for a normative thesis using reasons that are defended against thoughtful objections. This sort of "dialectical inquiry" is discussed in Jack Meiland's College Thinking (pp 25-90), copies of which may be borrowed. We encourage early and continuing discussions (with classmates and instructors) of outlines and drafts.
Texts: Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 4th ed., and many handouts ($5 please).
5 Introductions; case study; philosophy and ethics.
6 Moral theories. BC 1, 2 (pp 44-77), 3 (120-132); handouts by/on Mill, Kant, Codes,
and Langerak ("Covenantal Fidelity" 1-15).
7 Principlism and its critics. BC 2 (77-111), 3 (132-181); both Pelligrino handouts.
8 Covenantal ethics. BC 7 (429-41), 8 (462-74 and 483-502); Langerak ("Covenantal
9 Civil disagreement. BC 8 (474-83); Langerak ("Tolerance, Cooperation, Respect").
12 Test, 10:40am.
13 Justice, access, and managed care. BC 6; handouts TBA.
14 BC 5; handouts TBA.
20 Abortion. Langerak ("Abortion: A Covenantal Approach").
21 Managed care, con't.
23 Genetics and privacy.
26 Euthanasia. BC 4; handouts TBA.
27 Euthanasia. Formal paper due, Jan 27, 5pm, Philosophy dept. P.O.
28 Physician assisted suicide.
29 Catch-up and review.
30 Final exam, 10:40 am.
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