University Catalog 2020-2021

Bioethics and Medical Humanities (BEMH)

Bioethics and Medical Humanities (BEMH)

BEMH 4000  Philosophy of Medicine  (3)  

This course provides an in-depth treatment of the philosophical foundations of medicine. It considers problems relating to the nature of health and illness, the basis of medical knowledge, the nature of the physician/patient relationship, and more. Prerequisites: PHIL 1010, 1030, 3050 or 3550. Junior or Senior standing required.

Prerequisite(s): PHIL 1010, 1030, 3050 or 3550.

BEMH 4001  Neuroethics: The Ethics of Neuroscience and the Neuroscience of Ethics  (3)  

Neuroethics, as an area of study, can be divided into two sub-fields: the neuroscience of ethics and the ethics of neuroscience (Roskies 2002). The neuroscience of ethics deals with our growing understanding of the underlying mechanism of social behavior relevant to morality – for instance, the origins and nature of empathy, altruism, aggression, self-control, reasoning, and the role of our emotions and intuitions in moral decision making. The ethics of neuroscience is a branch of applied ethics or bioethics. It focuses on ethical issues that originate in new advances and possibilities in neuroscience. Especially relevant here is the fact that advances in neuroscience not only extend our understanding of the brain, but also raise the possibility of interventions to modify our brain. This course is designed to give students a philosophical overview of these topics, and opportunities to think critically about ethical implications related to neuroscience and advances in medicine. We will explore fundamental topics in both branches of Neuroethics. Drawing from a variety of fields—neuroscience, philosophy, social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory—we will investigate and discuss questions like: What are the evolutionary origins of moral judgment? Does evolutionary theory shed light on normative moral questions? Do our moral motivations derive from reason or pre-reflective intuition? Do psychopaths have moral responsibility? Do we have free will? Is there an obligation to enhance ourselves? Should drugs be used to enhance mental functioning? Prerequisite(s): PHIL 1030, 3050, 3510, 3550, 3580 or 6050. Junior or Senior standing required.

Prerequisite(s): PHIL 1030, 3050, 3510, 3550, 3580 or 6050.

BEMH 4002  Foundations in Bioethics  (3)  

This course examines the theoretical foundations of bioethics. It begins by considering foundational questions regarding the nature of medicine, illness, and the physician/patient relationship. It then turns to discussion of the various ethical frameworks that guide decision-making in medicine. Finally, it closes by bringing these frameworks to bear on theoretical issues relating to social justice.

BEMH 4003  Medical Humanities  (3)  

Medical humanities draws on many disciplines and fields—including history, literature, art history, media studies, philosophy, law, ethics, religion, theology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other arts and sciences—to study the context of medicine, the experience of medicine, the goals of medicine, and concepts in and of medicine. A common goal of medical humanities is to make clinicians, at all levels of their training, more “humane” or “compassionate.” Another common goal includes making clinicians more “well-rounded.” Still another goal includes promoting teaching and learning in medical humanities simply for its own sake. But what is “medical humanities”? While there is no single answer to this question, this much is clear: Medical humanities draws from many disciplines and fields to examine issues related to the development and the practice of medicine. In this sense, medical humanities is similar to other fields such as religious studies or gender studies—fields that use various disciplines and methods to study a subject such as religion or gender. What is different, however, is that medical humanities, unlike many other academic fields, seems to require or to imply an essential practical component because all medical humanities knowledge has some relationship to (1) the care of patients and/or populations or (2) the care of physicians themselves. This course will explore a vast array of topics in medical humanities, including the boundaries and the goals of medicine (philosophy); the relationship between narrative and medicine (literature); contemporary health issues (policy); human rights and human rights abuses (ethics); and death and dying (religion). It is my hope that we will come away with an increased understanding of ourselves and our relation to the world of medicine—that, in other words, we will examine our own lives, learning how to love and to work with all the fullness that life affords.

BEMH 4004  Environmental Ethics  (3)  

This course examines the theoretical foundations, assumptions, and practical implications of environmental ethics. It begins by considering foundational questions regarding the moral value of nature. It then turns to discussion of the various frameworks within which theorists and activists have analyzed and evaluated humanity’s obligation to the environment. Finally, it closes by considering the significance of the environment to issues of social justice.

BEMH 4005  Studies in Bioethics through Film  (3)  

This elective will provide students with a method for analyzing bioethical issues using films and short videos as case studies. This course will provide students a method for identifying conflicts productively, theoretical models to understand and address such conflicts, and an opportunity to reflect on the edges of ethics and what to do there. Topics covered will include: The Edges of Sickness, Defining Sick and Well, What is Medicine, The Health Care System, Justice and Responsibility, Medical History and History of Medicine--Who Should Tell the Story of Medicine, and When Rights Collide—Right to Die and Right to Kill.

BEMH 4006  The Doctor As Author  (3)  

This course explores some of the many doctor-writers who have reflected on the practice of medicine and the qualities of a good doctor. Beginning with a discussion of the merged scientific and humanistic sensibilities of these writers, it will examine the work of prominent figures like Atul Gawande, Anton Chekhov, Mona Hanna-Attisha, Paul Kalanithi, and Damon Tweedy. Then, with a focus on their pleas that we attend to the patient’s illness and life-world as well as to the patient’s ailing body, it will consider how their work helps us to think about what it means to practice purposefully.

BEMH 4007  Ethical Theory  (3)  

This course provides an in-depth treatment of the theoretical foundations of ethics. It introduces students to foundational problems and theories in metaethics, moral psychology, and normative theory.

BEMH 4008  History of Medicine  (3)  

During this course, health maintenance, disease, and therapeutics will be explored from antiquity until the mid-20th century. This course will relate care of the sick and methods of treatment to the patients’ and healers’ social, political, religious, and cultural contexts. Additionally, we will also discuss special topics pertaining to the history of women’s reproductive health; military medicine; native American, Meso-American, Pacific Island, and Afro-Caribbean medical practices; the history of mental healthcare; and the formalization of medical education and the rise of the medical marketplace.

BEMH 4009  Current Controversies in Bioethics  (3)  

This course examines a wide variety of controversial issues that arise within bioethics. Part I of the course focuses on conceptual controversies relating to disease, illness, and death. Part II of the course looks at particular issues relating to death and dying, such as euthanasia and abortion. Part III examines problems that challenge principles of human dignity. Finally, Part IV concerns problems relating to social justice.

BEMH 6000  Philosophy of Medicine  (3)  

This course provides an in-depth treatment of the philosophical foundations of medicine. It considers problems relating to the nature of health and illness, the basis of medical knowledge, the nature of the physician/patient relationship, and more.

BEMH 6001  Neuroethics: The Ethics of Neuroscience and the Neuroscience of Ethics  (3)  

Neuroethics, as an area of study, can be divided into two sub-fields: the neuroscience of ethics and the ethics of neuroscience (Roskies 2002). The neuroscience of ethics deals with our growing understanding of the underlying mechanism of social behavior relevant to morality – for instance, the origins and nature of empathy, altruism, aggression, self-control, reasoning, and the role of our emotions and intuitions in moral decision making. The ethics of neuroscience is a branch of applied ethics or bioethics. It focuses on ethical issues that originate in new advances and possibilities in neuroscience. Especially relevant here is the fact that advances in neuroscience not only extend our understanding of the brain, but also raise the possibility of interventions to modify our brain. This course is designed to give students a philosophical overview of these topics, and opportunities to think critically about ethical implications related to neuroscience and advances in medicine. We will explore fundamental topics in both branches of Neuroethics. Drawing from a variety of fields—neuroscience, philosophy, social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory—we will investigate and discuss questions like: What are the evolutionary origins of moral judgment? Does evolutionary theory shed light on normative moral questions? Do our moral motivations derive from reason or pre-reflective intuition? Do psychopaths have moral responsibility? Do we have free will? Is there an obligation to enhance ourselves? Should drugs be used to enhance mental functioning?

BEMH 6002  Foundations in Bioethics  (3)  

This course examines the theoretical foundations of bioethics. It begins by considering foundational questions regarding the nature of medicine, illness, and the physician/patient relationship. It then turns to discussion of the various ethical frameworks that guide decision-making in medicine. Finally, it closes by bringing these frameworks to bear on theoretical issues relating to social justice.

BEMH 6003  Medical Humanities  (3)  

Medical humanities draws on many disciplines and fields—including history, literature, art history, media studies, philosophy, law, ethics, religion, theology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other arts and sciences—to study the context of medicine, the experience of medicine, the goals of medicine, and concepts in and of medicine. A common goal of medical humanities is to make clinicians, at all levels of their training, more “humane” or “compassionate.” Another common goal includes making clinicians more “well-rounded.” Still another goal includes promoting teaching and learning in medical humanities simply for its own sake. But what is “medical humanities”? While there is no single answer to this question, this much is clear: Medical humanities draws from many disciplines and fields to examine issues related to the development and the practice of medicine. In this sense, medical humanities is similar to other fields such as religious studies or gender studies—fields that use various disciplines and methods to study a subject such as religion or gender. What is different, however, is that medical humanities, unlike many other academic fields, seems to require or to imply an essential practical component because all medical humanities knowledge has some relationship to (1) the care of patients and/or populations or (2) the care of physicians themselves. This course will explore a vast array of topics in medical humanities, including the boundaries and the goals of medicine (philosophy); the relationship between narrative and medicine (literature); contemporary health issues (policy); human rights and human rights abuses (ethics); and death and dying (religion). It is my hope that we will come away with an increased understanding of ourselves and our relation to the world of medicine—that, in other words, we will examine our own lives, learning how to love and to work with all the fullness that life affords.

BEMH 6004  Environmental Ethics  (3)  

This course examines the theoretical foundations, assumptions, and practical implications of environmental ethics. It begins by considering foundational questions regarding the moral value of nature. It then turns to discussion of the various frameworks within which theorists and activists have analyzed and evaluated humanity’s obligation to the environment. Finally, it closes by considering the significance of the environment to issues of social justice.

BEMH 6005  Studies in Bioethics through Film  (3)  

This elective will provide students with a method for analyzing bioethical issues using films and short videos as case studies. This course will provide students a method for identifying conflicts productively, theoretical models to understand and address such conflicts, and an opportunity to reflect on the edges of ethics and what to do there. Topics covered will include: The Edges of Sickness, Defining Sick and Well, What is Medicine, The Health Care System, Justice and Responsibility, Medical History and History of Medicine--Who Should Tell the Story of Medicine, and When Rights Collide—Right to Die and Right to Kill.

BEMH 6006  The Doctor As Author  (3)  

This course explores some of the many doctor-writers who have reflected on the practice of medicine and the qualities of a good doctor. Beginning with a discussion of the merged scientific and humanistic sensibilities of these writers, it will examine the work of prominent figures like Atul Gawande, Anton Chekhov, Mona Hanna-Attisha, Paul Kalanithi, and Damon Tweedy. Then, with a focus on their pleas that we attend to the patient’s illness and life-world as well as to the patient’s ailing body, it will consider how their work helps us to think about what it means to practice purposefully.

BEMH 6007  Ethical Thoery  (3)  

This course provides an in-depth treatment of the theoretical foundations of ethics. It introduces students to foundational problems and theories in metaethics, moral psychology, and normative theory.

BEMH 6008  History of Medicine  (3)  

During this course, health maintenance, disease, and therapeutics will be explored from antiquity until the mid-20th century. This course will relate care of the sick and methods of treatment to the patients’ and healers’ social, political, religious, and cultural contexts. Additionally, we will also discuss special topics pertaining to the history of women’s reproductive health; military medicine; native American, Meso-American, Pacific Island, and Afro-Caribbean medical practices; the history of mental healthcare; and the formalization of medical education and the rise of the medical marketplace.

BEMH 6009  Current Controversies in Bioethics  (3)  

This course examines a wide variety of controversial issues that arise within bioethics. Part I of the course focuses on conceptual controversies relating to disease, illness, and death. Part II of the course looks at particular issues relating to death and dying, such as euthanasia and abortion. Part III examines problems that challenge principles of human dignity. Finally, Part IV concerns problems relating to social justice.