Bioethics, at last! I was beginning to think this day would never come.

Classes at our school began last Thursday, too late in the week for our MW course in Bioethics. Then, Monday was a holiday. But now our first class is nearly upon us.

So what’s it all about? Well, my course description says

This course explores ethical issues arising from the practice of medical therapeutics (conventional and “alternative”), from the development of new biomedical technologies, and more largely from reflections on life’s meaning and prospects.
The course aims at clarifying relevant bioethical and medical issues and debates, representing various perspectives in application to present and future human possibilities and concerns (for example: genetic engineering and biochemical “enhancement,” longevity and life extension, end-of-life decisions, health care access, nanotechnology, cloning, stem cell research, mood and performance-enhancing pharmaceutical use, animal research, and reproductive technologies).
“Bio” means simply life, but questions about life’s goals, about appropriate means for attaining them, and about the professions devoted to sustaining life, give rise to the most complex and enduring ethical problems.
So, ours is a course in life ethics, really the ethics and morality of life and death, and all points in-between. That’s pretty broad. Just as I like it.
But this semester’s course circumscribes our topic a bit more. We’ll look at Glenn McGee’s cases, then we’ll review Michael Sandel’s case against perfection, and finally we’ll ponder Richard Powers’ plea for generosity with respect to “enhancement.”
As one of the students says in her self-intro, “I am very excited about this class and wonder what is in store for all of us.”
Me too!

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