Bioethics II: Life, Death, and the Human Person

JPI 619

This course offers anthropological foundations for questions concerning illness and death. The meaning of health and the distinction between healing and enhancement will be considered, along with the distorted desire for transcendence animating the contemporary transhumanist movement. Questions surrounding organ donation will be addressed, including the affirmation or denial of gift in organ transplantation, and the basic understandings of the body and autonomy implicit in different perspectives on organ transplantation. Reflections on the meaning of death will ground a discussion of end-of-life issues, including questions concerning life support and its withdrawal, the use of ordinary/proportionate and extraordinary/disproportionate means, the distinction between killing and letting die, and criteria for determining death, including the “brain death” criterion.


Course Texts for Spring 2022

• Compendium of readings (available through Cognella)
• Thomas V. Berg, L.C., and Edward J. Furton, eds., Human Embryo Adoption: Biotechnology, Marriage, and the Right to Life, (Philadelphia: National Catholic Bioethics Center; Thornwood, N.Y.: Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, 2006). 
• Atul Gawande, Complications: A Surgeon’s Note on an Imperfect Science (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002).
• Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2014).
• Josef Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues, (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966).

Associated Faculty

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