Philosophy 209: “Ethics and Medicine.” Ethical issues that arise in medicine and the health sciences are as controversial as they are complex. This course uses traditional moral theories to explore problems that can appear in caregiver-patient relationships and at the margins of life. To lay a foundation for this work, we first study key moral theories that are often assumed in professional codes, public policies, laws, and philosophical discussions of a wide array of topics. You will find the theories tremendously valuable for evaluating many moral problems, both in medicine and outside it. We then use the theories to explore such issues as whether healthcare providers must always tell patients the truth, when (if ever) patient confidentiality can be violated, the nature and significance of informed consent, and the morality of a variety of other acts and practices, including, suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, abortion, and reproductive technologies.
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