Issues in Bioethics

Subject PHIL90025 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour seminar each week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

approximately 10 hours each week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students enrolling in this subject must have completed and undergraduate degree in a cognate area.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

This subject explores a range of issues in bioethics. Topics to be discussed will be selected from the following: the concept of health, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), end of life decisions, abortion, human enhancement and eugenics, utilitarianism and bioethics, withholding and withdrawing treatments, mental illness, coercive treatment and involuntary commitment, euthanasia/physician assisted suicide, stem cell research, conscientious objection in heath care, conflicts of values between doctors and patients, the double effect doctrine and bioethics, ‘when doctors make mistakes’, emergency contraceptives and conscientious objection of pharmacists, death and brain death.


Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have developed a deeper philosophical and ethical understanding of a range of contentious issues in contemporary bioethics
  • be motivated to draw connections between the philosophical and ethical dimensions of those issues and other issues in their personal and professional lives

One 5,000 word essay due at the end of semester (100%).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in class is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A booklet of readings will be available at the beginning of the semester.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have an improved capacity to integrate moral and conceptual considerations with relevant empirical data
  • have an increased capacity to comprehend and evaluate complex argumentative texts
  • have refined their skills for writing about complex ethical issues
  • have refined the skills needed for research by developing their capacity to think imaginatively and critically about important ethical and social issues
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Ethics
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Ethics

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