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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Bioethics and the Law Seminar (Fall 2019)

Course Description

This seminar covers the range of legal issues—arising in public and constitutional law as well as in private and criminal law, and under human rights instruments—that accompany developments in medicine and the life sciences.  The common thread of the seminar involves questions of who (patients and research subjects, physicians and researchers, owners of intellectual property, drug and device manufacturers, technology companies, hospitals and research institutions, private insurers, government regulators, legislators, judges, or the general public?) has the authority and ability to make decisions about access to, and use of, these developments, which standards ought to guide their decisions, in service of what objectives and in light of what effects on themselves and on others, and, ultimately, why?  Among the topics that will be examined are genome mapping and genetic screening; creation of offspring with inheritable genetic modifications; human physical and mental enhancement; artificial means of human reproduction; stem cell science and regenerative medicine; determination of death; organ transplantation; artificial organs; rationing health care; medical interventions to extend or to end the life of critically ill patients; and research with human beings. For their papers, however, students are not limited to the topics discussed in class.

Paper: Students must consult with the instructor about their proposed topic, submit an outline and preliminary set of sources, and prepare a preliminary version for class discussion. Finished papers are expected to be in the range of 25-30 pages. Papers are due on the last day of finals.

Preparation for, and participation in, class discussion is expected and will be recognized by points (up to 15% of final grade.

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: W 2:00 pm - 3:50 pm
  • Room Number: Room 12
  • Exam: Paper
  • Writing Requirement: Yes with submission of the Upper Division Writing Requirement Form.
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: no
  • Participation: Expected