PHIL2001 Bioethics

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics; Artificial Intelligence major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Philosophy; Humanities in Health and Medicine major sequences
  • Level 2 elective
Content
This unit focuses on a set of related questions concerning life and death such as—Is it rational to fear death? What, if anything, gives human beings a special moral status? Do any other animals have a similar status? Is it morally acceptable to kill them for food? Is euthanasia, the killing of those who are incurably ill and in great pain or distress, for their own sake, morally justified? If so, under what circumstances exactly? What is the moral status of abortion? Students become familiar with some of the most influential works on such questions. As well as learning about such substantive issues, students also deepen their understanding of ethical reasoning in general, and sharpen their ability to understand, evaluate and construct arguments.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) locate global moral issues in their historical and cultural context; (2) independently interpret philosophical texts; (3) evaluate philosophical positions, including identifying counter-examples and identifying and questioning their basic assumptions; (4) compare and contrast philosophical positions; (5) construct persuasive arguments; (6) demonstrate strong written communication and research skills; (7) gain knowledge about arguments in favor of, and in opposition to, abortion, euthanasia and animal vivisection; (8) explain influential philosophical views concerning the meaning of life and the harm of death; and (9) reason in a constructive and cooperative way about some of the most polarising moral issues.
Assessment
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) examination; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Karen Bland
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
any level 1 unit in the Bachelor of Arts, or equivalent
Incompatibility:
PHIL2201 Social Ethics: Life and Death
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.