Philosophy 226, Fall, 2012

Biomedical Ethics

Professor: Paul Thagard

Office hours (HH368): TTh 11-12; and by appointment.

Email: Phone: 519-888-4567, extension 33594.

Web page:

Time: TTH, 8:30 - 9:50, PHY 145. To improve learning, please turn off all electronic devices such as phones, computers, and transcranial magnetic stimulators. See blog for reasons.

Description: A discussion of critical ethical issues in medical practice and research.

Textbook: E. Kluge, Readings in Biomedical Ethics, 3rd edn., 2005

Assignments: Marks will be based on:

New: Instructions for exercise 3.

Guest lectures:


 Week  Dates  Topic  Textbook chapter
 1 Sept. 11-13 Ethical theory  1
 2 Sept. 18-20 Health care  2-3
 3 Sept. 25-27  Resource allocation  4
  4 Oct. 2-4 Patients, EXAM 1 5
 5 Oct. 9-11 Informed consent  6-7
 6 Oct. 16-18 Treatment  8-9
 7 Oct. 23-25 Medical research  10-11
 8  Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Personhood, EXAM 2

  9 Nov. 6-8 Abortion and euthanasia 13-14
 10 Nov. 13-15

Children and reproduction

 11  Nov. 20-22 Reproductive technologies 17
12 Nov. 27-29 Global allocation, EXAM 3 Paul Farmer

From the Faculty of Arts:

All students registered in the courses of the Faculty of Arts are expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing academic offences, and to take responsibility for their actions. When the commission of an offence is established, disciplinary penalties will be imposed in accord with Policy #71 (Student Academic Discipline). For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students are directed to consult the summary of Policy #71 which is supplied in the Undergraduate Calendar (section 1; on the Web at If you need help in learning what constitutes an academic offence; how to avoid offences such as plagiarism, cheating, and double submission; how to follow appropriate rules with respect to “group work” and collaboration; or if you need clarification of aspects of the discipline policy, ask your TA and/or your course instructor for guidance. Other resources regarding the discipline policy are your academic advisor and the Undergraduate Associate Dean. Students who believe that they have been wrongfully or unjustly penalized have the right to grieve; refer to Policy #70, Student Grievance,”

Faculty of Arts information on plagiarism and other offences.


Ethics Updates

Canadian Bioethics Society

The Hastings Center for Bioethics

USA President's Council on Bioethics

Lecture notes

Note: Lecture notes and PDFs of slides for each week will be available on the Web by Monday afternoon. Updated notes will be marked 2012. If you want to print out notes with smaller or bigger letters, you can Edit the Preferences in your Web browser to change the font size. The notes include review questions to guide your exam preparation.

Week 1: Ethical theory. 2012

Week 2: Health care. 2012

Week 3: Allocation of resources. 2012

Week 4: Professional-Patient Relationships. 2012.

Week 5: Informed Consent. 2012

Week 6: Medical Treatment. 2012.

Week 7: Research with Human Subjects. 2012.

Week 8: Personhood and Brains. 2012.

Week 9: Abortion and Euthanasia. 2012

Week 10: Having Children. 2012

Week 11: Reproductive Technologies. 2012

Week 12: Reproductive Technologies; Global Health. 2012


Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 26, 2012