Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, January 29, 2016

Midterm group reports

It's time to start deciding on a mid-term collaborative report topic and 3-person reporting group. Reports will consist of an in-class presentation of about 10-15 minutes (each of you holding the floor for 3-5 minutes). One of you should sign up as an "Author" on our site to post a short summary of your group's topic and any relevant text/video/graphics you'd like to share.

Around Valentine's Day I'll ask you all to indicate who you're working with and on what, as well as your group's Author.

I'm open to your original topic ideas, but my suggestion if you need one is to select a general topic from the Campbell Basics text or from Sandel's Case Against Perfection and identify a related subtopic for each of you to focus on

You can use the comments space here to solicit interested classmates who might want to join you in reporting on your topic of interest.

When you've identified your collaborators and topic, stake your claim in a comment below. We want to avoid redundancy, so make sure you're not claiming a topic that's already been taken.

These reports, which will be scheduled to begin later in February, are worth up to twenty (20) runs for each of you. Do your best, have fun, learn something, teach us something.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Quiz Jan26

BB2 - Moral Theories

1. (T/F) In the Mayor's Dilemma, one of the possible actions considered is to set an example of defiance.

2. Which theory has been dominant in bioethics and often used by many health professionals?

3. In deontological theory, what is the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives?

4. What ethical principle (and whose), 
in the name of rational consistency, absolute dutifulness, and mutual respect, "requires unconditional obedience and overrides our preferences and desires" with respect to things like lying, for example?

5.  What would Kant say about Tuskegee, or about the murderer "at our door"?

6. What more do we want from a moral theory than Kant gives us?

7. What is the distinctive question in virtue ethics?

8. What Greek philosopher was one of the earliest exponents of virtue ethics?

9. Paraphrase the Harm Principle. Who was its author?

10. Name one of the Four Principles in Beauchamp and Childress's theories on bio
medical ethics?


  • How would you resolve the dilemma, if you were Mayor?
  • Do you consider yourself more an ethical consequentialist/utilitarian, pragmatist, deontologist, virtue ethicist, or none of the above? Is it possible to be ethically responsible without first clarifying and claiming your own theoretical ethical commitments? 
  • Do you agree with Peter Singer that the ethical choice which best serves the goal of minimizing pain and suffering requires ending lives?
  • Is a felicific calculus such as Jeremy Bentham proposed possible, or practical?
  • Would life in Huxley's Brave New World really be nightmarish and dystopian, if universal happiness were its result?
  • Kant's categorical imperative requires always treating individuals respectfully, as ends in themselves and never as means to any other social or collective good. Can you imagine any scenario in which it would be ethically correct to violate that imperative, in the name of medical progress or social welfare?
  • Is virtue ethics "elitist and utopian" in its quest to articulate the conditions of a good life and death for all? Are virtues and vices culturally relative? 36-7

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Quiz Jan.21

Bioethics: The Basics (BB), ch1
  • Bring your written answers to class, we'll swap and grade them. 
  • You get a run just for taking the quiz, and if you ace it with six correct answers you'll get another. There's no penalty for missed questions, you've got nothing to lose. The three exams (at the end of February, March, & April) will be drawn from the quizzes, so these questions are part of your growing study guide.
  • Supplement my quiz questions with your own, in the "comments" section below, and earn a run.
  • Your correct answers to others' supplemental quiz questions count.
  • You can also earn additional runs, up to five per class, by posting relevant comments, questions for discussion, links to articles and videos etc.
  • Note in your dated personal log if you took the quiz, who graded it, if you aced it, if you posted any comments, questions, or links, or did anything else you think entitles you to a run.
  • Don't forget to post your Introduction ("Who are you? Why are you here?")

1.(T/F) Campbell's examples of bioethical questions include whether health care professionals must meet higher standards than businesspeople, the ethics of longevity via pharmacology, designer babies, human/animal hybrids, state paternalism, euthanasia, and environmental ethics.

2. Bioethics just means _______.

3. The _________ required that 'The health of my patient must be my first consideration.' (Hippocratic Oath, Geneva Code, British Medical Association, International Association of Bioethics)

4. What 40-year U.S. study denied information and treatment to its subjects?

5. What did Ivan Ilich warn about in Medical Nemesis?

6. Bioethics has expanded its focus from an originally narrower interest in what relationship?

  • Bioethics has broken free of what mentality?
  • (T/F) Campbell thinks caveat emptor is a good principle for governing the contractual clinical encounter between doctor and patient. 
  • Do descriptive claims settle evaluative issues?
  • Name a bioethical website Campbell recommends.
*Some possible Discussion Questions (DQs) - after the quiz we'll select one to kick off a brief class discussion followed by longer group discussion, which some of us may wish to do peripatetically, in the corridors if not out in the chill:
  • Are there any important bioethical issues you think Campbell has neglected to mention in ch.1? 
  • What do you see as the connection between bioethical and environmental issues? 
  • Do you agree that we have "over-medicalized" human experience? 
  • Is there anything wrong with "medical tourism"? 
  • Do you agree that the doctor-patient relationship is NOT "a straightforward provider-consumer relationship? Why or why not? 
  • Etc. etc. - submit your DQ suggestions in "comments" below.
Also of interest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/opinion/is-it-better-to-die-in-america-or-in-england.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share Despite all the talk of over-treatment and high costs, end-of-life care in the United States isn’t as bad as you might think.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/supplements-and-safety-explores-whats-in-your-supplements/?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share A new documentary pulls back the curtain on some of America’s most popular over-the-counter dietary supplements.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/nyregion/colleagues-express-disbelief-over-arrest-of-doctor-with-picture-perfect-life.html Many colleagues reacted with disbelief after Dr. David H. Newman was charged with sexually abusing two patients in an emergency room at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/health/centenarians-proliferate-and-live-longer.html?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0 The number of Americans age 100 and older — those born during Woodrow Wilson’s administration and earlier — is up by 44 percent since 2000, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Monday, January 18, 2016


We begin, as in all my classes, with an invitation: tell us who you are, and why you're here. We'll introduce ourselves in class and online (hit "comments" below). I'll start.

I'm the prof for this course, PHIL 3345, Bioethics. I hold degrees from the University of Missouri and Vanderbilt, and I'm here because the ethics of life and death is at the very heart of what philosophy, defined as the love of (and quest for) wisdom, is about. I'm still here in middle Tennessee, after relocating for Grad School, because I met my wife here and decided to stay.

I also teach courses on Atheism, Environmental Ethics, and Happiness, among others.

Enough about me.

Who are you? Why are you here? (Bear in mind, as you reply, that this is an open site. There's nothing preventing the world from reading what we post here, except of course the world's own distraction.)