PHIL 242 A: Introduction to Medical Ethics

Winter 2022
Th 10:00am - 11:20am / SAV 260
T 10:00am - 11:20am / * *
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):


 Photo of a healthcare worker holding a syringe, and a patient exposing their arm.


Lecturer: Carina Fourie

Teaching Assistants (TAs):

Aaron Barker (AA, AD), Daniel Galley (AC, AF), Nicolai Wohns (AB, AE)

Contact Information: Please contact all instructors using CANVAS INBOX

All materials will be provided online on Canvas 


Class Times & Office Hours


UPDATE: Weeks 5-10: Quiz Section in Person; Lectures Online

Quiz Sections: Wed & Fri: AA, AB, AC: 8.30-9.20am; AD, AE: 9.30-10.20am; AF: 10.30-11.20am

Lectures: Thu ONLY: 10-11.20am (UPDATED Zoom ID: 977 4629 0362)

In lieu of Tuesday lectures, weekly prerecorded lectures will be available (this will apply in all the remaining weeks of the quarter). 

Office Hours:

Carina:  (Zoom: 958 1074 3902) Tue 10.30-11.30am (excluding week 1); (Zoom: 918 7708 5904) Fri 11.15am-12.15pm (including week 1)

Aaron Barker: Monday & Tuesday 12-1pm (Zoom: 310 067 3416) 

Daniel Galley: Monday 12-2pm (Zoom: 944 0448 2412)

Nicolai WohnsWednesday & Thursday 1:30-2:30pm at the big table in the Philosophy department, 3rd Floor, Savery Hall

Generally, please contact your TA about quiz sections, participation in section, and essays, and contact Carina about lectures (pre-recorded and in person), course content, quizzes, and the exam.

Class Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to Arguments, Theories & Principles

Week 2: Disability Rights and the Selection of Offspring

Assignment 1 - Central thesis & argument summary

Week 3: Informed Consent & Autonomy

Week 4: Mandatory Treatment & Mandatory Vaccines

Week 5: Allocating Scarce Healthcare Resources

Week 6: Families, Relationships & the Ethics of Care

Week 7: Death

Week 8: Physician-Assisted Death & the Right to Die

Week 9: Accessible & Equitable Healthcare

Week 10: Social Determinants of Health & Structural Competency


Class Resources

Writing Resources - Additional


What is this course about?

The 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. It also provides an introduction to ethical issues related to the wider social context in which clinical decisions are made, such as the health care system, the social determinants of health and structural injustice. Additionally, students will learn how to write applied philosophical papers. Topics covered include the ethics of prenatal testing and selection; informed consent; the right of patients to refuse treatment; Medicare for All; racial disparities in health; and health care resource allocation during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The central goals of the course aim to help you acquire:

  • Content knowledge of concepts and debates central to medical ethics. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; participation; quizzes; take-home exam)
  • Skills of conceptual analysis relevant for disembedding and assessing assumptions that underpin public, political and scientific discourse about medicine and health care. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; participation; quizzes; take-home exam)
  • Skills of conceptual analysis relevant for assessing the ethics of medical practice and policies. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; participation; quizzes; take-home exam)
  • Skills of oral communication relevant for expressing and assessing philosophical perspectives in impromptu and informal settings. (Reinforced and assessed through participation)
  • Enhanced philosophical reading, analysis, argumentation and writing skills. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; take-home exam)

Assignments & grading – summary

The final points total will be out of 100:

  • Essays: 40 points
  • Take-Home Exam: 20 points
  • Participation in Section (Self-Assessment): 14 points
  • Poll Everywhere: 9 points
  • Quizzes: 17 points

Points will be converted to a grade on the 4.0 scale (We reserve the right to adjust the final grade).

Passing grade: In order to pass the course your final total grade must be a pass (0.7) AND you must complete the requirements for the Writing Credit. For more details, please refer to the document “Assignments & Grading’” available on Canvas Modules.  

If you are unable to attend quiz sections or lectures regularly, or if you are unable to make deadlines for assignments, please contact your instructors ASAP in order to avoid grade penalization.

Covid-19 Resources & Protocols

Assuming that we will return to in-person classes after week 1, we will work together to keep everyone in the class safe and to diminish any anxiety associated with COVID-19. For this purpose, we will implement the following protocols and guidelines:

  • If you are sick with any illness, you must stay home, even if you are fully vaccinated. You will have opportunities to make up for any missed participation points that could affect your grade, and lectures will be recorded.
  • If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, even if you are fully vaccinated, get tested and stay home until you receive your test result. If you test positive, notify the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at or 206.616.3344. You can enroll for free testing by clicking on this link for student COVID resources and then scrolling down to the link for enrollment under “Husky Coronavirus Testing” on the right-hand side of the page.
  • Wear a mask at all times in our classrooms. Masks should be well-fitted and cover your nose and mouth at all times (see Face Coverings and Social Distancing in the Classroom during COVID, page 10 of this document for more information). The only exception is taking quick sips of water/hydrating liquid (see instructions below, on eating and drinking in the classroom). For more on face covering policies, see this PDF.
  • If you do not have a mask, you can get one from a Healthy Huskies Vending Machine.
  • If you do not wear a mask or you do not use your mask properly, you will have to leave the class. Refusing to wear a mask is a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
  • Please keep your distance from other students (as much as is possible).
  • Eating and drinking in the classroom is not permitted. The only exception is taking quick sips of liquid such as water. To do so, please pull your mask down, drink and then immediately replace your mask.
  • Keep in mind that some people may be unvaccinated due to medical reasons, or may have an unvaccinated person at home (I have a toddler at home who can’t be vaccinated yet), and thus may be particularly cautious.
  • Please take care of yourself as much as possible – do whatever you can to help reduce stress. Remember that UW provides resources for well-being at The Whole U. This includes tips for healthy eating and exercise routines as well as links to guided meditations and yoga classes. And Hall Health offers resources for Mental Health.
  • For further resources on COVID-19 including UW’s COVID policies click here.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about the protocols/guidance, please let Carina and/or your TA know.

Let us help and support each other as best we can!

Class Expectations & Environment

Students are expected to:

  • Follow all COVID-19 Protocols (see previous section)
  • Read through the syllabus and “Assignments and Grading” documents in full
  • Work through the weekly worksheet before Wednesday quiz section of each week
  • Read all of the assigned readings before Wednesday section of each week, unless the Canvas module/worksheet specifies otherwise
  • Watch any prerecorded lectures before Wednesday section of each week, or as soon after that as it is available
  • Complete homework, e.g. prepare for class discussion
  • Attend and participate in lecture and in quiz section (unless it is in-person and you are feeling ill, or have another good reason you cannot attend)
  • Actively listen and treat others’ views with respect
  • Use the video function during any Zoom classes (no black boxes! Let Carina or your TA know at the start of class if you have a good reason why you cannot use your camera)
  • Keep up to date with materials, messages, announcements, deadlines, and any other course related materials on Canvas
  • Complete all the assignments, quizzes and assessments including the exam on time
  • Proactively let Carina and/or your TA know if you are unable to fulfil any of the above expectations, so that potential alternatives can be identified
  • Practice academic honesty

The classroom environment will be open, honest, and mutually respectful. If you have any concerns about the class environment, please let Carina or your TA know.

Students must practice academic honesty. Dishonesty in polls, participation, assignments or the exam will lead to grade penalization and may lead to disciplinary action. For more on the use of plagiarism detection software, see, the next section below. For more on the Department of Philosophy’s policies, see "Academic Misconduct" below.

Resources & Additional Policies

Notice to Students - Use of Plagiarism Detection Software

Notice: The University has a license agreement with SimCheck, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources. I am using this service in this class by requiring that assignments are submitted electronically to be checked by SimCheck. The SimCheck Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced. 

Please consider submitting your essay well before the deadline as you will be able to see the report generated by SimCheck once you submit your essay, and if needed, you can revise it.

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to your instructors. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to Carina at your earliest convenience so you can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but are not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 (Voice & Relay) or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Health and Wellbeing

For resources on health and well-being, including mental health and possibilities for counseling, please contact the UW Wellness Center or Hall Health. For UW resources about COVID-19, you can click here.

Undocumented Students

Your instructors are committed to working with and for undocumented students. Resources are available for you here. Please feel free to speak to Carina and/or your TA about any additional help you may need due to your undocumented status or its implications.

Help with technology

Consider these resources:

UW loans equipment such as laptops to students and is willing to ship it out if you cannot pick it up from campus:

For any technical issues with Canvas or Zoom, please consult UW IT’s website, email them on, or call them 206-221-5000.

If you have ongoing challenges with technology which are interfering with your ability to meet course requirements, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can work out possible alternatives.

Notice to Students - Zoom Recordings

Zoom class sessions may be recorded. The recording will capture Carina/ TA’s audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts.

Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information like their name or UW Net ID; and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions. Please note, you must inform Carina/your TA that you cannot use your video for these reasons at the beginning of each class.*

* Your participation in breakout rooms will not be recorded; for those purposes you must use your name, and share your audio and video with the other students in those discussions.

Department of Philosophy – Policies & Resources for Students

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct, including plagiarism, is prohibited by the Student Conduct Code for the University of Washington and is taken very seriously by the UW. According to the student conduct code, academic misconduct includes:

  1. "Cheating" which includes, but is not limited to:
    1. The use of unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations, or completing assignments;
    2. The acquisition, use, or distribution of unpublished materials created by another student without the express permission of the original author(s);
    3. Using online sources, such as solution manuals, without the permission of the instructor to complete assignments, exams, tests, or quizzes; or
    4. Requesting, hiring, or otherwise encouraging someone to take a course, exam, test, or complete assignments for a student.
  2. "Falsification," which is the intentional use or submission of falsified data, records, or other information including, but not limited to, records of internship or practicum experiences or attendance at any required event(s), or scholarly research.
  3. "Plagiarism," which is the submission or presentation of someone else's words, composition, research, or expressed ideas, whether published or unpublished, without attribution. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:
    1. The use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment; or
    2. The unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or acquired from an entity engaging in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.
  4. Unauthorized collaboration.
  5. Engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by an instructor in the course of class instruction or in a course syllabus.
  6. Multiple submissions of the same work in separate courses without the express permission of the instructor(s).
  7. Taking deliberate action to destroy or damage another's academic work in order to gain an advantage for oneself or another.
  8. The recording of instructional content without the express permission of the instructor(s), unless approved as a disability accommodation, and/or the dissemination or use of such unauthorized records.

(Source: WAC 478-121 - Academic Misconduct)

Plagiarism may lead to disciplinary action by the University against the student who submitted the work. Any student who is uncertain whether his or her use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before formally submitting the course work involved.


Incomplete grades may only be awarded if a student is doing satisfactory work up until the last two weeks of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. (Sources: Office of the Registrar – Incomplete Grades), UW General Catalog, Student Guide – Grading System)

Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who believes that the instructor erred in the assignment of a grade, or who believes a grade recoding error or omission has occurred, shall first discuss the matter with the instructor before the end of the following academic quarter (not including Summer Quarter). If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s explanation, the student, no later than ten days after their discussion with the instructor, may submit a written appeal to the chair of the Department of Philosophy with a copy of the appeal also sent to the instructor. The chair consults with the instructor to ensure that the evaluation of the student’s performance has not been arbitrary or capricious. Should the chair believe the instructor’s conduct to be arbitrary or capricious and the instructor declines to revise the grade, the chair, with the approval of the voting members of his or her faculty, shall appoint an appropriate member, or members, of the faculty of the Department of Philosophy to evaluate the performance of the student and assign a grade. The Dean and Provost should be informed of this action. Once a student submits a written appeal, this document and all subsequent actions on this appeal are recorded in written form for deposit in a School file. (Source: UW General Catalog, Student Guide – Grading System)

Concerns About a Course, an Instructor, or a Teaching Assistant

If you have any concerns about a philosophy course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the chair of the program offering the course (names available from the Department of Philosophy, 361 Savery Hall).

If you have any concerns about a teaching assistant, please see the teaching assistant about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the teaching assistant or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the instructor in charge of the course. If you are still not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the chair of the program offering the course (names available from the Department of Philosophy, 361 Savery Hall), or the Graduate School at G-1 Communications Building (543-5900).

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with University of Washington policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as the use of one’s authority or power, either explicitly or implicitly, to coerce another into unwanted sexual relations or to punish another for his or her refusal, or as the creation by a member of the University community of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment through verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

If you believe that you are being harassed, seek help—the earlier the better. You may speak with your instructor, your teaching assistant, the undergraduate advisor (363 Savery Hall), graduate program advisor (366 Savery Hall), or the chair of the philosophy department (364 Savery Hall). In addition, you should be aware that the University has designated special people to help you. For assistance you may contact: SafeCampus; Office of the Ombud (339 HUB, 206-543-6028); Title IX Investigation Office (for complaints that a University student has violated the sexual misconduct provisions of the Student Conduct Code); University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (for complaints concerning the behavior of University employees, including faculty, teaching assistants, and other student employees).


The Office of Research Misconduct Proceedings (ORMP) coordinates the University’s handling of allegations of research misconduct against members of the University community, in consultations and cooperation with the University’s schools, colleges, and campuses.

University rules define scientific and scholarly misconduct to include the following forms of inappropriate activity: intentional misrepresentation of credentials; falsification of data; plagiarism; abuse of confidentiality; deliberate violation of regulations applicable to research.

Students can report cases of scientific or scholarly misconduct either to the ORMP, to their faculty adviser, or the department chair. The student should report such problems to whomever he or she feels most comfortable.

(Sources: Executive Order No. 61 – Research Misconduct Policy; Office of Research Misconduct Proceedings; minutes of Grad School Executive Staff and Division Heads meeting, 7/23/98.)


Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. SafeCampus is the University of Washington’s Violence Prevention and Response Program. They support students, staff, faculty, and community members in preventing violence.

SafeCampus staff will listen to your concerns and provide support and safety plans tailored to your situation. Caring, trained professionals will talk you through options and connect you with additional resources if you want them.

If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up for UW Alert
  • For more information visit the SafeCampus website.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Food Insecurity and Hardship

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the UW Any Hungry Husky Program. Any Hungry Husky provides hunger relief free of judgment or stigma. Go to for information about the food pantry and food security grants. In addition, UW offers emergency aid for students experiencing unexpected financial hardships that may disrupt their education or get in the way of completing their degree. Go to for more information about how to apply.

Guidance to Students Taking Courses Outside the U.S.

Faculty members at U.S. universities – including the University of Washington – have the right to academic freedom which includes presenting and exploring topics and content that other governments may consider to be illegal and, therefore, choose to censor. Examples may include topics and content involving religion, gender and sexuality, human rights, democracy and representative government, and historic events.

If, as a UW student, you are living outside of the United States while taking courses remotely, you are subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction. Local authorities may limit your access to course material and take punitive action towards you. Unfortunately, the University of Washington has no authority over the laws in your jurisdictions or how local authorities enforce those laws.

If you are taking UW courses outside of the United States, you have reason to exercise caution when enrolling in courses that cover topics and issues censored in your jurisdiction. If you have concerns regarding a course or courses that you have registered for, please contact your academic advisor who will assist you in exploring options.

Face Coverings and Social Distancing in the Classroom during COVID

The health and safety of the University of Washington community are the institution’s priorities. Until otherwise stated face coverings are required per UW COVID Face Covering Policy: indoors where other people are present and outdoors when keeping a 6-foot distance may not be possible. This includes all classrooms and buildings/public spaces on each of the UW campuses.

If you physically can’t wear a mask, you choose not to wear a mask, your mask isn’t appropriate/sufficient, or if you aren’t wearing a mask properly (covering both your nose and mouth-diagram available in the PDF version of the syllabus, or click on the CDC link below), you CANNOT be in the classroom and will be asked to leave.

If you have a medical condition or health risk as outlined in the UW COVID Face Covering Policy, you may request an accommodation. Please contact Disability Resources for Students office BEFORE GOING TO CLASS at (Seattle) (Tacoma) (Bothell).

A face covering must:

  • Fit snugly against the sides of the face
  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Be secured with ties, ear loops, elastic bands, or other equally effective method
  • Include at least one layer of cloth, although multiple layers are strongly recommended
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be capable of being laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

CDC: How to Wear Masks

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 Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Writing (W)
Last updated:
July 18, 2024 - 12:48 am