Philosophy of Medicine (PHIL*2030-01) | College of Arts

Philosophy of Medicine (PHIL*2030-01)

Term: Fall 2012


This course considers some philosophical problems that arise in the practice of medicine. We begin with
a brief look at the history and nature of medicine. During this section we discuss what counts as medical
knowledge, as well as the role of medicine in promoting health and prolonging life spans. Next, we
discuss the science, art and culture of medicine. Here we examine the extent to which medicine is a
science and an art, and the effects of culture on medical practice. We then discuss the principles guiding
health care provision in Canada, and some proposals for reforming Canada’s health care system. After
that, we turn to issues in clinical ethics. We examine the ground and scope of three principles that
underlie ethical decision-making in medicine – autonomy, beneficence and justice. Then we turn to cases
in medical ethics, using the principles to help us evaluate different courses of action in those situations.
We also consider some issues in veterinary ethics, discussing the similarities and differences between
ethics involving humans and ethics involving animals. At the end of the course, you should be better
equipped to evaluate philosophical arguments, to develop your own reasoned positions on some
philosophical issues in human and veterinary medicine, and to express your views clearly, both orally and
in writing.


PDF icon PHIL2030_Wendling.pdf68.38 KB