The University of Massachusetts Amherst

"Medical Ethics": Philosophy 164 (Gen Ed AT) Fall 2020

Students will live together in Cance Hall in the Southwest residential area. 

Read what Fall 2020 instructor John Wright has to say about the course:

In this course we will discuss ethical questions and how they apply in the medical field. This course will improve your ability to critically engage with arguments, understand your views in medical ethics, and effectively defend those views against objections.   

  • How do we determine what makes something wrong or right? 
  • Does the government have the right to restrict your freedom for your own good? 
  • How do we determine who receives treatment and who doesn't when we don't have enough for everyone? 
  • Is euthanasia permissible? 

Outside of class you will be asked to engage carefully with readings. During class, be prepared to participate in lively discussions where we will engage with these pressing issues as viewed through a philosophical lens. 

"Medical Ethics": Philosophy 164 (Gen Ed AT) Fall 2020

Students will live together in Kennedy Tower in the Southwest residential area. 

Read what Fall 2020 instructor Cruz Davis has to say about the course:

Medical theories and practice play a central role in much of our lives. Preventing disease and death, augmenting health and prolonging life seem to lie at the heart of medical theory and practice. This plays out in the remarkable treatments of various diseases through the creation of new vaccines, surgical techniques, and other methods of treatment. Given the centrality of medicine to our lives, it is important to take time to consider these topics and learn to think about them clearly. In this course we will study some of the following questions through a philosophical lens:

  • What is the proper use of medicine? Is it ever acceptable to use medicine to change one’s physical condition if not sick?
  • What are the social structures that underlay the treatment of health and disease in the U.S.?
  • What values dictate the sorts of medical research and theorizing we should engage in?
  • Are some medical conditions more important to research than others?

This course is designed around these three goals:

  • Students will develop a philosophical toolkit to guide them to think clearly and independently. 
  • Students will acquire a general background in the ethical theories at play behind various answers to these questions.
  • Students will become familiar with important contemporary literature on these topics.

Perspectives in Health Topics RAP