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This subject introduces students to the study of bioethics, with a focus on key issues in public health. It explores theoretical frameworks and major debates in public health ethics, including the differences between medical ethics and public health ethics. In this subject, public health ethics is investigated both as an analytical approach and as a set of substantive issues.
Topics include: ethical theory, the nature of public health ethics, the relationship between medical ethics and public health ethics, abortion, euthanasia, vaccination, lifestyle diseases, genetic screening, and selective reproduction.
Students will be introduced to theoretical frameworks for thinking about moral problems and learn ethical concepts and approaches for analysis of key debates.
Intended learning outcomes
The broad goals of this subject are to:
- stimulate and broaden moral imagination.
- identify and challenge moral intuitions
- explore multiple points of view
- develop reflective and informed ethical arguments
It is intended that after completing this subject students will:
- Understand key concepts and approaches in bioethics, particularly public health ethics
- Appreciate the theoretical foundations of these concepts and approaches
- Be able to use these concepts and approaches to perform an ethical analysis
- Engage with academic literature in an informed and critical way
- Understand how to reach conclusions in ethical analysis and how to make sound arguments about ethical issues
- Be able to engage in ethical debate on contentious matters, using key concepts and approaches and with reference to the current literature
Students undertaking this subject should acquire:
- Skills in ethical reasoning and analysis
- Knowledge of the fundamental debates in health care and public health
- Attitudes comfortable with moral ambiguity and complexity
Last updated: 2 December 2019