Medical Ethics
Michael Green
Manuel Vargas
phone, office information

Course Readings
Final Exam
First Assignment
Getting in touch
Second Assignment

Medical Ethics: Syllabus

Who, Where, and When

Michael Green
Building 90, 92Q
MWF 10-10:50 a.m.


Wednesday, 1 April


Friday, 3 April


The basic argument against abortion
Judith Jarvis Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion"

Monday, 6 April

The extreme view

Wednesday, 8 April

The voluntariness objection

Friday, 10 April


Monday, 13 April

Criticism of Thomson
Mary Anne Warren, "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion"

Wednesday, 15 April

An alternative defense of abortion: fetuses are not persons

Friday, 17 April

Against abortion rights
Don Marquis, "Why Abortion is Immoral"

Monday, 20 April


Wednesday, 22 April

** First paper topics distributed

Discussion: wrap-up on abortion

Friday, 24 April


Passive vs. active
Alastair Norcross, "Introduction"
James Rachels, "Active and Passive Euthanasia"

Monday, 27 April

Foreseen vs. intended consequences; ordinary vs. extraordinary means
Thomas D. Sullivan, "Active and Passive Euthanasia: An Impertinent Distinction?"

Wednesday, 29 April

Rachels, "More Impertinent Distinctions "
Sullivan, "Coming to Terms"

Friday, 1 May

Discussion: who is right?

Monday, 4 May

** First paper due

Euthanasia protects patient autonomy
Dworkin, et. al. "Assisted Suicide: The Philosophers" Brief"

Wednesday, 6 May

The disadvantage of greater autonomy
Singer and Siegler, "Euthanasia -- A Critique"
J. David Velleman, "Against the Right to Die"

Friday, 8 May

More discussion of Dworkin and Velleman
Monday, 11 May


Should we favor the greater number?
John Taurek, "Should the Numbers Count?"

** Second paper topics distributed

Wednesday, 13 May

Numbers should count
Jonathan Glover, Causing Death and Saving Lives, pp. 203-210.
Frances Kamm, Morality, Mortality, pp. 74-5, 81-7.

Friday, 15 May

Should we favor the highest quality results?
John Harris, "QALYfying the Value of Life"

Monday, 18 May

Rationing by quality is fair: the veil of ignorance argument
Singer/McKie, et al. and Harris: debate in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Wednesday, 20 May

Objections to the veil of ignorance argument
McKie, et al. and Harris

Friday, 22 May

Is it ever fair to use a criterion for rationing?
Michael Lockwood, "Quality of Life and Resource Allocation," "IV and Postscript.

Monday, 25 May

Memorial Day. No class.

Wednesday, 27 May ** Second papers due

Should we favor the young?
Eric Rakowski, "Should Health Care be Rationed By Age? -- Yes" Stephen Post, "Should Health Care be Rationed By Age? -- No"

Friday, 29 May

Fair innings
John Harris, The Value of Life, pp. 87-94.

1-4 June

Dead Week

Course Materials

Readings may be found in a course reader (CR) which will be available shortly from Pulse Copy Center in the Tresidder building. Copies will be kept on reserve in the Tanner Philosophy library in Building 90.

Full citations for the readings are available in the Tanner library or on the course readings page.

Course Requirements

Grading will be based on two five to seven page papers and a take-home exam, weighted equally.

  • All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course.
  • Late papers will not be accepted. If you will be unable to complete an assignment on time, you must contact either Manuel Vargas or me before it is due.
  • Plagiarism will result in failure in this course and will be reported to the relevant academic authorities. Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own. If you are unsure about whether something would be plagiarism, please ask.

This page was originally posted on 5/22/98; 12:39:09 PM and was last built on 6/3/98; 2:24:23 PM with BBEdit and Frontier 5 on a Macintosh running System 8.1.