PHIL 356 - Issues in Bioethics
Summer 2020, Section 201
Instruction Mode: Section 201 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
No prerequisites; one philosophy introduction is recommended.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course has three components:

  1. Wellbeing
    What does living a good or flourishing life involve? We will consider several different accounts of what it might mean to live well, drawing on both ancient and contemporary theories.
  2. Health, Disease and Disability
    Here we will question the notion of ‘normal’ functioning: is there such a thing as ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ human functioning? If so, what might it look like?
    We will then move on to explore controversial issues surrounding autonomy and consent asking, among others, questions such as which things might limit one’s capacity to give fully informed consent?
    Building on our discussion of consent and autonomy, we will consider topics relating to mental health. We will think about the concept of mental health at both the individual level and also at a wider policy level, exploring the societal ramifications of various mental health policies.
    We will then consider one of the most salient bioethical questions in contemporary society: how should we allocate scarce healthcare resources? We will explore this question within the context of the current COVID-19 epidemic, learn about measures such as QUALYs (quality adjusted life-years) and also consider organ donation policy, the illegal organ trade, and altruistic individuals who donate their kidneys to strangers.
  3. Enhancement
    In this section we will unpack the concept of ‘enhancement’ and examine arguments for and against biological human enhancement (medical, surgical and genetic). We will also consider developing technologies the effects they have on norms (e.g. snapchat dysmorphia and changing preferences with regards to cosmetic surgery).


PHIL 356 - Issues in Bioethics
Schedule Listing
201 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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