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Ethics of Ageing (POPH90260)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Online

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePOPH90260
Term 2 - Online
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject provides an overview of some of the key ethical issues associated with ageing across the lifespan, with an emphasis on their societal dimensions and implications for policy and professional practice. The skills and knowledge gained by students completing this subject will enhance their ability to engage with the health, social and economic issues of ageing encountered throughout the Masters of Ageing curriculum.

Students will be introduced to bioethical theory and its application in analysis, evaluation and decision making. Martha Nussbaum's account of capabilities for human flourishing will be used to frame the exploration of a number of key issues organized within thematic units of "justice", "autonomy" and "dignity". A final unit will explore ethical issues pertaining to the human quest for "immortality".

Topics covered include diverse historical and cultural perspectives on common ethical issues of ageing; ethical principles for health professionals, care givers and institutions providing for the elderly; age as a criterion for health resource allocation; age-based discrimination and bias in clinical decision-making and employment; international and intergenerational obligations in the context of care giving; and life extension and suspension modalities such as fertility preservation, transplantation and cloning.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • Recognise and explain basic elements of ethical theory and frameworks, as well as major ethical issues of relevance to ageing persons and populations.
  • Demonstrate an informed understanding of key ethical principles and concepts including autonomy; justice, beneficence, non-maleficence and human dignity.
  • Critically analyse an ethical issue in ageing through identification of relevant ethical concepts and principles, and evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of arguments in the debate.
  • Formulate a reflective argument outlining a proposed solution to an ethical dilemma.

Generic skills

Students will be provided with the opportunity to practice and reinforce:

  • Enhanced skills in critical thinking and analysis of issues in public policy and practice from an ethical perspective.
  • Advanced oral and written communication skills.
  • Advanced skills in reasoning, persuasion and effective argumentation.
  • Ability to identify, evaluate and integrate ethical theory with empirical knowledge in public health and social policy and practice.

Last updated: 3 April 2019