PHIL 242 A: Introduction to Medical Ethics

Meeting Time: 
TTh 8:30am - 9:50am
SAV 260
Carina Fourie
Carina Fourie

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to the course!

PHIL 242 Introduction to Medical Ethics

Lectures: Tue & Thu, 8.30-9.50am SAV 260


Lecturer: Carina Fourie. Office Hours: W 1.30-3.30pm; Savery Hall (SH), 389

Teaching Assistants:

Section AA & AE - Christopher Schimke. Office Hours: TTH 11am-12pm; Big Table, SH

Section AB & AF - Kayla Mehl-Hutchinson. Office Hours: WF 9.30-10.30am; Big Table, SH

Section AC & AD - Lindsay Whittaker. Office Hours: M 3-4pm, W 10.30-11.30am; Big Table, SH


Required for the class:

1. Arguing about Bioethics (2012) Stephen Holland (ed.). Routledge. Available from the UW Bookstore. A copy will also be available on 4-hour reserve at the Odegaard Library.

2. Poll Everywhere Device (e.g. laptop, tablet, phone). If you do not have access to a device, please borrow one from UW Student Technology Loan. 


Course Outline & Modules:

Syllabus & Guidance

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: The Selection & Enhancement of Offspring

Assignment 1 - Central thesis & argument summary

Week 3: Informed Consent

Week 4a: Medical Decision-Making & Relationships

Assignment 2 - Objection and Response

Week 4b: Mental Illness, Compulsory Treatment, and Stigmatization

Week 5a: Mental Illness, Compulsory Treatment, and Stigmatization (continued)

Week 5b: Acquiring Organs for Transplant

Assignment 3 - Short paper

Week 6a: When Are You Dead?

Week 6b: Physician-Assisted Suicide

Week 7a: Physician-Assisted Suicide (continued)

Week 7b: Injustice, Healthcare and Health

Week 8: Injustice, Healthcare and Health (continued)

Assignment 4 - Full Paper

Week 9a: Injustice, Healthcare and Health (continued)

Week 9b: Revision & Exam Guidance

Week 10: Cross-Cultural Bioethics



Additional Details:

Who should decide what is best for the patient? What role should a patient’s family play in decisions about treatment? How should we distribute scarce health care resources fairly? What is genuine informed consent and why might it be ethically required? Health care workers, such as physicians and nurses, will be confronted by many moral challenges during their professional practice. This course provides a philosophical introduction to medical ethics aimed at developing students’ abilities to recognize and assess moral conflicts and challenges pertinent to clinical practice. The course also provides an introduction to how to evaluate the wider ethical context in which clinical decisions are made, such as identifying whether or not the health care insurance system is just. Students will also learn how to write philosophical papers about medical ethics. Topics covered include the right of patients to refuse treatment, the acquisition of organs for transplant, the implicit biases of health care professionals, and the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act.

TEXT: Arguing about Bioethics, Stephen Holland, ed. Additional course materials will be available on Canvas.

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to ethics, primarily for first- and second-year students. Emphasizes philosophical thinking and writing through an in-depth study of philosophical issues arising in the practice of medicine. Examines the issues of medical ethics from a patient's point of view.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
November 14, 2019 - 9:04pm