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Lecture 1

PHL281H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Bioethics, Outline Of Health Sciences, Health Professional

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Donald Ainslie

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PHL281 Lecture 1 – Bioethics
Bioethical Questions
- extreme case in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” – ape virus wipes out most of humanity
- more realistically
- not just a health crisis – also ethical
- ethical questions to consider during health crisis
resource allocation/access – who gets resources (justice); do only the rich/powerful, or lottery, or
those who are most useful in the time of crisis
human testing – vaccines, cures, that must be developed on a short time scale
- bioethics and AIDS example – memorial quilt panel in Washington DC – partly a political act (marginalized
population is affected) but also a way to remember loved ones
Different Questions
- how best to respect others if you have a serious infection
- how to treat others who you know are (or you think might be) infected
- should the state restrict the freedom of those who are (or might be) infected
- how should the state protect those infected from discrimination
- does a health profession have a duty to treat those infected
- must an infected health professional restrict his/her behaviour, or disclose his/her condition
- if someone has HIV and does not disclose to partner (and is sexually active), should the doctor disclose this
to the partner
- if the doctor has HIV, should this be disclosed or should practice be limited
Three Kinds of Bioethical Questions
- how should we each make ethical sense of our biological capacities and incapacities
- what should the state allow us to do with an to our bodies
- what should the state enable us to do
- how should health care professionals behave
What is Bioethics?
- the exploration (2) of the moral questions (1) that arise given our biological nature (3)
(1) Moral Questions
- how should we behave
- not a question about self-interest
- not a question about how we do behave
- instead, an appeal to values
- right vs. wrong
- virtuous vs. vicious
- obliged vs. forbidden
- just vs. unjust
- cannot be quantified or investigated
- values have a different kind of status (meta-ethics)
Different Kinds of Values
- religious values
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