Unit 1: Argument and the implications of enhancing lifespan
Introduction to the course, to bioethics and to the analysis of argument in the context of a discussion of the possibility of significantly increasing human lifespan.
Unit 2: Reproductive ethics
The ethics of reproduction. Does everyone have the right to a family? Is reproductive cloning morally acceptable? How would you feel if you discovered your mother had been aborted at 24 weeks?
Unit 3: Absolutism and relativism I
Is morality relative or absolute? This philosophical unit will discuss these deep issues, with an eye to using the thoughts stimulated to further our thoughts about bioethics.
Unit 4: Absolutism and relativism II
Arguments for moral absolutism
Unit 5: Genetics and human nature
Genetics and human nature. Could it be that by interfering with the human genome, either by enhancement or therapy we would be threatening the very nature of what it is to be a human being?
Unit 6: Genetic modification
Does our new understanding of genetics make a new eugenics movement acceptable? Would we end up with the problems that we abhore in the Nazis’ programme, or could it be that the new technology will bring a new benign eugenics?
Unit 7: Virtue ethics and deontological ethics
Another philosophical unit considering various ethical theories such as Virtue Theory and Kantianism.
Unit 8: Utilitarianism
Another philosophical unit considering various ethical theories such as Utilitarianism.
Unit 9: Therapeutic cloning
Therapeutic cloning and the moral status of the embryo. Is it acceptable to use embryos as means to the ending of suffering?
Unit 10: Bioethics and the developing world
The ethics of biotechnology in the devloping world. Should there be a market in human organs? Should there be double standards in clinical trials given the very different conditions in the developing world and the developed world?
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.