Fundamentals of Biomedical Ethics A

lfilo2200  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Fundamentals of Biomedical Ethics A
5 credits
30.0 h

This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2021-2022
Some instruction in the history of philosophy and philosophical anthropology. Some instruction in the life sciences.
Main themes
The first part of the course describes the main lines of the philosophical and biomedical context of contemporary biomedical ethics. Basic theories and concepts are analyzed. From that point various practical questions are studied, coming from various areas of biomedical practice : conception, end of life issues, health care policy, etc.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 At the end of the course the student should be able :
- to identify and discuss theories and concepts that are part of various current approaches in biomedical ethics
- to analyse in depth a particular problem in biomedical ethics
- to appreciate the interdisciplinary aspects of this area
- to link the givens of problems in this area with developments in contemporary scientific research
This course is an introduction to contemporary discussion of biomedical ethics, including both the ethics of medical practice and the ethics of medical and biochemical research. We will take up classic concepts in medical ethics (confidentiality, paternalism, autonomy) and biomedical research (informed consent, competence of patients). These discussions will be framed by examples, both classic (euthanasia, abortion) and modern (stem cells, gene editing). Several sessions will also be dedicated to questions of the relationship between medicine and society (distribution of healthcare resources, production of new drugs). The course is accessible to students regardless of their level in life sciences; we will present and discuss the necessary fundamentals of contemporary biology.
Students' work at the end of the course will elaborate on a case study drawn from the world of contemporary healthcare and raise, discuss, and evalute its ethical dimensions.
Only for the 2021-2022 year: Given an upcoming change to the master program in LFILO, the content of this course is exactly the same as the course LFILO2201 offered by Pr. Pence last year (Q2 2020-2021). Students who have already taken this course are invited to form a reading group with Pr. Pence on a book, chosen by the group, and discussed together each week. The course will end with a written work by each student on the themes taken up by the book.
Teaching methods
  • Lectures on fundamental concepts of bioethics and several contemporary applications
  • Presentations by students with discussion
For the students in the reading group: Discussion of the selected book between us, led at least in part by the students
Evaluation methods
  • Individual Presentation (40%): The last few course sessions are dedicated to oral presentations of your work, in order to offer you comments from me and your colleagues. This presentation normally includes slides, and will be around 15 minutes, with around 10 minutes of question-and-answer period.
  • Written Work (60%): Your research project will be built in stages. First, you will submit a short draft of the subject that you will consider. After consulting with me on it, your final paper, around 15 pages, will be due at the hour set for our final exam.
For the students in the reading group, 70% of the note will be based on a final written project, and 30% on your attendance and participation in course meetings.
In the second session, the evaluation will consist of a written project (50%) and a final exam (50%).
Toute la lecture pour ce cours sera distribué en ligne sur le site web de Pr. Pence
All reading material for this course will be distributed online on Pr. Pence's website.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Sociology

Master [120] in Journalism

Master [120] in History

Master [120] in Philosophy

Advanced Master in Gender Studies

Master [120] in Ethics

Master [120] in Psychology

Master [60] in Philosophy

Master [120] in Communication

Certificat universitaire en philosophie (approfondissement)

Master [120] in Anthropology

Master [120] in Family and Sexuality Studies