Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

S&TS 2051/BSOC 2051

In today’s rapidly changing world of health and medicine, complex ethical issues arise in many contexts-from the private, interpersonal interactions between doctor and patient to the broad, mass-mediated controversies that make medicine into headline news.  This course examines ethical problems and policy issues that rise in contemporary medicine, health care, and biomedical research.  Tools for ethical analysis are applied to a variety of topics and fundamental questions in bioethics.  Perspectives from social science, history, and law also inform the course, which will consider ethical issues in their social and institutional context.  We will explore problems that arise in a number of substantive areas, including the doctor-patient relationship, end-of-life decision making, human experimentation, reproductive technology, public health, and human genetics.  The course will also examine the relatively new field of bioethics itself, raising questions about what issues count as ethical ones and exploring the role of ethical expertise in contemporary societies.

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