PHIL 433A (3 cr): Biomedical Ethics


Course Outline

Calendar Description:

Bio-Medical Ethics. Moral problems arising in the health sciences, especially in medicine but also in biology, psychology, and social work. Topics include abortion, death and euthanasia, genetic engineering, behaviour modification,compulsory treatment, experimentation with human beings and animals, and the relationship between professionals and their patients, subjects or clients. No philosophical background required.

Student/audience description:

Philosophy 433A is a course designed for students with an interest in examining ethical issues that arise in health care. No Philosophy background is required, and there are no formal Philosophy pre-requisites. Students who take Philosophy 433A are sometimes Philosophy Majors, although often they are non-Philosophy Majors who are seeking to fulfill upper level Humanities requirements. Philosophy 433A is also popular for students who are planning to pursue a career in health-related fields.

Course objectives/outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this course will:

  • Develop a critical understanding of leading normative ethical theories;
  • Gain a deeper understanding of some leading ethical issues that arise in health care;
  • Improve their abilities to clearly and precisely present arguments on a moral issue;
  • Enhance their abilities to raise targeted and thorough objections to moral arguments; and
  • Improve their abilities to write in a clear and organized manner.

Course readings:


  • Debating Health Care Ethics, Doran Smolkin, Warren Bourgeois, Patrick Findler,  McGraw-Hill Ryerson Canada. 2010. ISBN: 9780070835405

Supplementary readings:

  • Journal articles, available through electronic reserve, UBC Library, or as pdf files on the course web-site.

PHIL433A Textbook Order Form

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