Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaching Bioethics from Virtue to Kant

Rosemary Flanigan
May 26, 2009

Even though this week will be short, it will be a good one.

How can I tell? Because Terry Rosell is starting a new session with 2nd year medical students who are beginning their bioethics M.A. And he has asked John Lantos, John Carney and me to help him out this week.

John L is addressing “Bioethics and Babies” with the class even as I type; tomorrow John C will address “Aging in Community,” and on Thursday I get to do “Doing Ethics and Avoiding Common Fallacies,” (mixing a little logic in with their Beauchamp and Childress readings on Moral Theories and Method and Moral Justification).

At times like this, I wish I could remember everything I had learned in class—and hope that the students do! But, of course, I don’t and they won’t. But to get them at the beginning, to make them aware of how they think about issues—and how others may think differently—is to share a treasured moment with them.

And we shall close with an analysis of the Baby K case (an anencephalic baby whose mother insisted on ventilator support until the baby died). I want them to see that a utilitarian perspective isn’t the only one possible, and that a Kantian perspective can find us caught up in conflicting obligations—but how does one encourage the development of a virtue ethic without sermonizing!!

No ethical theory guarantees us that we shall be “right,” but arguing civilly with one another might just lead to the development of virtue.

And then a dose of fallacies! I hope all three of us leave some lasting impressions.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Practical Bioethics said...

From Andi Chatburn


That class certainly was a treat for me, and I know the new 2nd year class will be lucky to be endowed with your teaching and the teamwork at the Center.

Miss you Rosemary!

Andi Chatburn
(soon to be fourth year med student and "budding bioethicist")

Thursday, May 28, 2009  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home