Bioethics & Law



SLN #: 26471
Course Prefix: LAW-652
Course Section: 001
Credit Hours: 2
Instructor(s): Roth

Course Description:
Bioethics is the study of the moral and ethical issues and controversies arising in the practice of medicine and from the applications and advances of biotechnology to medicine. Although bioethics can raise difficult questions about the nature, meaning, and value of life, the subject compels us exactly because many of these difficult, sometimes wrenching problems that we will explore in the course are ones that we encounter in our dual roles as individuals and members of society.

Like any other field of ethical consideration, bioethics asks, “What is the right thing to do?” and endeavors to answer that question by drawing on a multitude of societal traditions, cultures and norms, both secular and religious. In attempting to answer this question, the aspiring bioethicist must consider not only how to answer that question within their own personal zeitgeist, but must also consider how to answer that question through the lens of the obligations of the individual to the larger society.

However, an equally valid consideration in the study of bioethics is the question of what it might accomplish. After drawing on this complex array of societal and individual traditions and mores, is any one resolution really possible? What value is there in engaging in this dialogue if no resolution is possible? Does the conversation help or impede societies’ understanding of these technological advances or help people keep pace with an ever faster and more dizzying array of so-called improvements to their health?

In Bioethics and Law, we will take up a wide range of issues that may include (but may not be limited to!) euthanasia, stem cell research, genetic engineering, human reproduction, human subjects research, human enhancement, cloning and the ethics and law of human subjects research.

The course will meet once a week, on Mondays at 8:00 am (coffee not included) for 2 hours. Because bioethics is multidisciplinary, drawing on law, philosophy, the humanities and medicine, enrollment is unlimited and open to Barrett Honors College students as well as graduate students in the School of Life Sciences. Grading will be based on participation (mandatory and extensive – come prepared to think, talk and engage with your fellow students!), a short paper and a final exam.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 2
Grading Option: Numeric Grade and ONE-Time Pass Option is Available, or Letter Grade Only
Written Assignment: Yes, short paper
Graduation Writing Requirement: No
Flexible Writing Requirement: No
Skills Requirement: No
Final Exam Given: Yes
Final Exam Type: Take-Home
Paper or In-Class Presentation: Paper Required, and each student will lead an in-class discussion
Participation Points: Class participation counts for a portion of the final grade
Attendance Policy: Per Statement of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Attendance mandatory!
Online Course Site: Blackboard