This course is intended to introduce students to moral philosophy by exploring some of the central issues in medical ethics. The first third of the course is designed to familiarize students with philosophical methodology and the three central traditions in normative ethics (Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Ethics). In the remainder of the course, students will apply what they have learned to controversial issues such as abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, and human cloning. Matters to be considered include what makes right acts right; whether killing is intrinsically worse than letting die; what renders a being person; whether personhood entails a right to life; when a being’s future meaningfully qualifies as its future; and whether there is anything morally objectionable about cloning a human being, and, if so, what it is.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Boxer.