Introduction to Bio-Ethics (Fall, 2004): Course Calendar

Instructor: Chris Young

Office: G11 Dillingham

Office Hours: Thursdays, 10-11am.


Course Web page:

Section 1: Meets at Friends 306 from 1:10-2:25

Section 2: Meets at Friends 102 from 2:35-3:50

Note: You can find links to most of the readings at:

Unit One: An Introduction to Applied Ethics

Date: August 26th, 2004

Topics • Introductory remarks

• What is philosophy?

• What is applied ethics?

• Philosophical methods

• An overview of the course

• Course requirements

• What you can hope to get from this class

Date: August 31st, 2004

Topic • Excuses to avoid ethics

Reading • Blackburn. Being Good, pages. 9-42.

Date: September 2nd, 2004

Topic • More excuses to avoid ethics

Readings • Blackburn. Being Good, pages 43-55.

• Singer. Practical Ethics, "Chapter 1: About Ethics" pages 1-15.

Date: September 7th, 2004

Topics • Consequentialism

Reading • Singer. Practical Ethics, "Chapter 2: Equality and Its Implications," pages 16-54.

Date: September 9th, 2004

Topic • Varieties of Consequentialism

Date: September 14th, 2004

Topic • Nonconsequentialism

Reading • Kagan. "Doing Harm" (Course Packet)

Date: September 16th, 2004

Topic • What makes death bad?

Reading • Rachels. ''Death and evil" (Course Packet)

Unit Two: Abortion

Date: September 21st, 2004

Topics • Abortion in the United States and the World: Some facts

• Roe v. Wade: The constitutional perspective

Readings • Handout on Abortion (Course web page)

• Roe v. Wade (Course web page)

Date: September 23rd, 2004

Topic • The right to life: The conservative view

Reading • Noonan. 'An Almost Absolute Value in History' (Course Packet)

Date: September 28th, 2004

Topic • The conflict of rights: A moderate view

Reading • Thomson. "A Defense of Abortion" (Course web page)

Essay due • See Syllabus for details.

Date: September 30th, 2004

Topic • More on Thomson.

Reading • Thomson. "A Defense of Abortion" (Course web page)

Date: October 5th, 2004

Topic • The personhood criterion: The liberal view

Reading • Warren. "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion" (Course Packet)

Date: October 7th, 2004

Topic • What a utilitarian might say about abortion

Reading • Singer. Practical Ethics, "Chapter 6. Taking life: The Embryo and the Fetus,"

pages 135-174.

Date: October 12th, 2004

Reading • Marquis. "Why Abortion is Immoral" (Course Packet)

October 19th, 2004

Mid-Term • The mid-term will cover all material up to this point. It will include short

answer questions, as well as short essay questions (a paragraph or two in


Unit Three: Euthanasia

Date: October 21st, 2004

Topic • First thoughts on euthanasia

Reading • Singer. Practical Ethics, "Chapter 7. Taking Life: Humans," pages 175-217.

Date: October 26th, 2004

Topic • Kass on Euthanasia

Reading • Kass. "Neither for love nor money: Why doctors must not kill" (Course Packet)

Date: October 28th, 2004

Topic • A critique of Kass

Reading • Dworkin, Frey, Bok. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Introduction

& Chapters 1 & 2.

Date: November 2nd, 2004

Reading • Dworkin, Frey, Bok. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Chapters 3 & 4.

Date: November 4th, 2004

Reading • Dworkin, Frey, Bok. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Chapters 5 & 6.

Date: November 9th, 2004

Reading • Dworkin, Frey, Bok. Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Chapters 7 & 8.

Date: November 11th, 2004

Reading • Rawls, Thomson, Nozick, Dworkin, Scanlon, Nagel. "The Philosopher's Brief" (Course web page)

Unit Four: The Ethics of Animal Testing

Date: November 16th, 2004

Reading • Singer. Practical Ethics. "Chapter 5: Taking Life: Animals," pages 110-134.

Date: November 18th, 2004

Reading • LaFollette. "Animal Rights and Human Wrongs," (Course web page)

Date: November 30th, 2004

Topic • More on Research on Animals

Date: December 2nd, 2004

Topic • Abortion, euthanasia, animal testing: Some common themes and issues

Unit 5: Concluding Remarks

Date: December 7th, 2004

Topic • Exam Review

Date: December 9th, 2004

Topic • Exam Review