Ethics in Biomedical Research

Biomedical research continues to extend our knowledge of how our bodies work and how to treat our diseases and injuries. Does this value license just any research or are there ethical lines that must not be crossed? Through philosophical readings, in-class discussion, and writing, students will explore these and other puzzles at the crossroads of ethics and science: May we create and destroy embryos in the search for therapies using stem cells? When may we use animals in research? If data came from grossly immoral experiments, may we use it? In the near future, we may be able to enhance our children. But should we? While engaging with conversations in ethics, students learn to extract and critique arguments from readings, discuss them critically, and develop their own argumentative writing. Each student writes several papers during the course, including an 8-10 page research paper. Writing these papers will be supported by in-class exercises, informal writing assignments, peer review, and self-assessment.