Why have debates about medicine and public health (e.g., vaccination, abortion, etc.) become so polarized and contentious in the United States?
Students will encounter the ethical dilemmas of medical practice throughout their lives, whether with their own health, or with the health of their families and friends. This course will equip them with the tools of moral philosophy so that they can recognize, critique, and craft arguments grounded in appeals to utilitarianism, deontology, or rights. But the course will focus on historical analysis of the debates so that students understand how social, economic, and political contexts have influenced moral reasoning. By clarifying their own thinking in the classroom, students will be better equipped to engage in the debates and contribute to the ongoing efforts by medicine to relieve human suffering.