Biomedical Ethics (PHIL*6240) | College of Arts

Biomedical Ethics (PHIL*6240)

Code and section: PHIL*6240*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Maya Goldenberg


This course is cross listed with PHIL*4310

This seminar will explore current issues in philosophy of medicine, an area of philosophy of science that focuses on medicine and health care. The important starting point for our investigation will be the field’s novel conceptual and methodological forging of ethics and epistemology. This relationship is captured in the title of the main text for the seminar: Knowing and Acting in Medicine (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). The introduction to the text reads, “epistemological and ethical questions are interrelated. Ethical concerns shape the way we seek and use knowledge, and conversely, both what counts as knowledge in medicine and the way we use that knowledge have ethical implications” (Bluhm 2017, 1). Both “knowledge” and “action” are broadly construed for the purpose of this seminar. “Knowledge” encompasses clinical, laboratory, social and scientific knowledge, as well as experiential and situated knowledge possessed by patients and other stakeholders without medico-scientific expertise. “Action” refers to clinical practice, research activity, and policy. With these broad parameters of knowledge/action, we will examine philosophical research on issues as varied as: clinical reasoning, patient-centred medicine, psychiatric diagnoses, science and health journalism, and translational medicine.

Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.