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University of Ottawa

Pirathap LoganathanBioethicsPHI2396DWinter2012IntroductiontoBioethicsLectureNotesforWeek1January813The scope of the bioethics course itself attempts to answer the many controversial philosophical dilemmas arising in the healthcare field It is important for us as future practitioners to be fully aware and be familiarizedreason with these ethical problems at handoMedical technologies are advancing at a rapid rate Bioethics questions the practice Should we limit themoWho makes the decision for the incompetentPhilosophy of BioethicsoBranches from the field of applied ethics which in turn branches from value theory and further more philosophy philosophy literally means love of wisdom To attain truth one must ask big questions and force arguments on their position and be prepared to back it up with their opinions to convince their side is rightoEthics questions pertaining to right and wrong in theory and practiceHow do we address themoFor the purposes of this course we assume humans 1 have free will and 2 are morally responsible beings who must decide upon how to morally act Autonomy the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed uncoerced decision regarding their bodyBasicMoralTheoriesandFrameworkDivine Command Theory If God says its okay its okay Usually morality is passed down through scripture bible koran andor religious authorities priests rabbisoAdvantagesPeople look to them to make moral decisions or help understand the unknown through religious leaders if unclearoDisadvantages1Pirathap LoganathanScriptural contradictionsputting our trust into people Answers to contemporary quandaries like genetic screening Contrary religious disputesPicking and choosing Bias cause you cant obey some homosexual behaviours and disregard others two different fibersMoral relativism the view that it is not individual attitudes that determine what is right or wrong but the attitudes of the cultureplace or time in which one lives contextspecificoSince morality is relative to culture no one culture is right and the other wrongoAdvantageTherefore no resolution of a disagreement can be made since we cant pass judgementoDisadvantageToo impractical Im going to mark students based on what they wear to class and you cant do anything since youre not inside my viewpointoAbortion is her choice Who am I to say whether shes right or wrongVirtue ethics What makes a good moral personoExcellencesoMoral virtues Examples are kindness faithfulness patience etcoAristotleNatural knowledge friendship love vs unnatural hateoWhat virtues should a doctor possess to make rational decisions in a given situation What response best exemplifies the virtues of a healthcare professional when a terminally ill patient repeatedly asks a nurse or doctor for assistance in dyingoAdvantageLess abstract more characteroriented decisions to choose rightoDisadvantageHelp in tough questionsConsequentialism What is moral provides the best overall consequences2Pirathap LoganathanoAdvantageStrives to maximize overall good which takes into account all those affectedoDisadvantage Violates principle If you opposed killing entirely theory still suggests you killToo rigid Donation when youre a fulltime student and partying on the weekend examplesFavour majorities to the detriment of minorities Aboriginal in societyLousy loverChoose strangers over loved onesoUtilitarianism Developed by Bentham popularized by MillAction is right if it leads to the greatestmost happiness produced 1000 people better than less by adding up the total pleasure and subtracting from the total painDisadvantagePleasure as means to quantifyThe ends to justify the means In example Kill baby if utility is highSpacetime continuum and HitlerToo impartialPreference Morally right act produces the greatest amount of happinessRights ObjectionDeontologyoImmanuel KantMorality is all about sticking to duty and principles rightsoAdvantageCategorical imperative example Even if killing this person saves ten people killing is still wrong and therefore I shouldnt do it Makes room for special considerations like family too dutyGives us now a clearcut rule to follow by3
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