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Global Bioethics

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1747
Section 001
Instructor Allen Keller
Days T
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



According to the philosopher Peter A. Singer, “Global bioethics seeks to identify key ethical problems faced by the world's six billion inhabitants and envisages solutions that transcend national borders and cultures.” In this course, we examine the emerging field of global bioethics, addressing questions such as: What bioethical concerns do the world’s populations share in common? What are the opportunities and challenges to establishing a common moral framework for addressing bioethical concerns worldwide? Are cultural and geographic variations of ethical concerns and means for addressing them inevitable and perhaps appropriate? We will explore the historical context, principles and practices of bioethics and global health, as well as their interrelationships. Other issues that we will discuss in this seminar include the social determinants of health, human rights, research ethics, HIV/AIDS, ethical issues at the end of life, and emergency/disaster relief. Throughout the course we will utilize case studies to compare and contrast bioethical dilemmas locally, nationally and internationally. Students will learn and apply a stepwise approach for conducting ethical analysis. Class activities will include simulated clinical bioethics committees, research ethics review committees as well as policy analysis and recommendations. Course readings will include scholarly articles and chapters from the medical and social science literature such as public health, political science and philosophy. Additionally, we will read from selected works of fiction that can inform and enrich our discussion of global bioethics including Camus’  The Plague  and Conrad’s  The Heart of Darkness .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)