The Bioethics secondary emphasis will prepare students in Biology, Health Professions, and related areas, to resolve perplexing yet inescapable ethical dilemmas through the acquisition of essential conceptual and ethical frameworks

The Bioethcis secondary emphasis form is signed by the chair of the Philosophy Department.


Core Courses


PL-105  Introduction to Logic

An analysis of practical reasoning skills, including a systematic approach to informal arguments and the meaning of everyday claims. Aristotelian logic, Venn Diagrams, propositional logic and symbolic logic are included.

4 CreditsH,WK-FR 




PL-208  Symbolic Logic

An introduction to the basics of first-order logic: the concept of artificial language, techniques for symbolizing ordinary languages and arguments, formal inference systems (either truth- free method or natural deduction), and other advanced topics in first-order logic. It has no prerequisites beyond high school algebra.

3 CreditsN,H,WK-FR 

PL-235 Ethics of Health Care

This course is a seminar-style course in 'professional ethics'. It will explore the various codes, value assumptions, and dilemmas faced by those who practice the health care professions. Specific topics (or dilemmas) will be determined by each class, based upon the specific POEs of the enrolled students. 

4 CreditsH,SW-ERPre-req or co-req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109 




CONN-202 Science and Society

This course on Science and Society is intended to review historical issues in science and the debate that surrounds societal decision-making. Thus, students will examine this topic from the perspective of scientific process and social inquiry. In addition, we will also review current " hot topics " in science, research these topics from various aspects including societal impacts and scientific advancements. They will also discuss potential resolutions, moving toward becoming more scientifically literate. We will also be discussing current " popular " books on related science. Ultimately, we will compare what the scientists are saying in professional journals versus the interpretation presented to the general public. NOTE: Students are expected to be in their third or fourth year when taking a Connections course.

3 CreditsCONN,CA,CW




CONN-310A Revolution! Part 1

Revolution! will look at the structure of revolutions, broadly construed. The course will focus on four specific revolutions in the natural and life sciences, followed by a short-term study abroad experience in Eastern Europe, including Vienna, Brno, Prague and Budapest, during summer term. Students will produce a script and podcast focusing on a specific revolution. NOTE: Students are expected to be in their third or fourth year when taking a Connections course.

1 CreditH,N,CW,IC,CONNStudents must take both CONN-310A and CONN-310B to fulfill the IC requirement or the Connections general education requirement.




CONN-310B Revolution! Part 2

Revolution! Part 2 is the follow-up course to CONN-310A and is a short-term study abroad experience in Eastern Europe (including Vienna, Brno, Prague and Budapest) during summer term.

2 CreditsH,N,CW,IC,CONNPre-Req: CONN-310A. Students must take both CONN-310A and CONN-310B to fulfill the IC or Connections general education requirement. Students are expected to be in their third or fourth year when taking this course.

PL-250  Science and Human Values

This course examines the reciprocal influence between science and social values, from the perspective of the humanities. It asks, " What good is science? " Through selected readings and discussion, students consider how everyday life is shaped by scientific innovation and technology, just as society provides a framework of cultural values for science. 

4 CreditsH,WK-HT,CTGESPrereq or coreq: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109 




PL-260  Philosophy of Science

Lays out some central philosophical problems raised by natural sciences. The possible topics to be discussed: Is science rational and objective? Does science really make progress? If so, in what sense? How to distinguish science from pseudoscience. Is science superior knowledge to other types? What is a good scientific explanation? Could we ever know about unobservable physical entities and events? Is it ever legitimate to regard a scientific theory as true? 

4 CreditsH,WK-HT,CTGESPrereq or coreq: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109 



Elective Courses

Take 7 Credits from the Following:


BI-270  Infectious Disease & Society

This course focuses primarily on the impact of ten human infectious diseases that have changed the world. Each disease is analyzed from five distinct perspectives: Clinical, Historical, Economic, Artistic, and Public Health. We also discuss genomics aspects of the infective organisms and of their human hosts. Pre- or co-requisite: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109


HS-313 Disease, Medicine & Empire

Disease, Medicine and Empire will explore the intersections of disease, medicine, and race in European empires in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

3 CreditsCA, I, H, CTGES 

HS-314 Medieval Medicine

Despite our popular understanding of the European middle ages as a dirty, disease-ridden, hopelessly backward period, the sources show us quite a different picture. Although a lack of understanding of the means of genetic change and the cause of viral and bacterial disease caused medieval people to understand the human body very differently than we do, that system was not without its logic and efficacy. This course will explore the human body and its diseases in the middle ages through a series of connected readings that introduce the body as a conceptual system and medieval science's attempts to understand it. We will then look at the growing field of genomic research as a way of understanding and comparing our modern systems of understanding the body.

4 CreditsH, CW, SW-GE,CTGES 

IC-203  Genomics, Ethics & Society

The purpose of this course will be to gain an understanding of the science behind the genome project and develop an understanding how ethical norms are established and challenged. Students will discuss and debate the potential implications of this new technology for them as individuals and for society in general. 

4 CreditsIC,CTGESPrerequisites: EN110 or EN109. 

PL-205  Ancient Philosophy

This course is a historical survey of ancient Greek philosophy which will cover representative figures (including the major pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle and important authors/movements from the Hellenistic period, such as Epicurus, Stoicism and Skepticism).

4 CreditsH,CW 

PL-270  Ethical Theory

This course will provide students with an introduction to important debates in contemporary ethical theory (including debates about the epistemic status of moral claims and moral relativism). It will also introduce students to important normative frameworks within contemporary ethics (such as virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontology, Confucian ethics, feminist ethics, etc.). 

4 CreditsH,SW-ERPrerequisite: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109 

PL-304  Existentialism

Philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre are studied as an introduction to existentialist thought. Theistic and atheistic types are considered, as is significance of existentialism as a contemporary philosophy. 

4 CreditsH,CW,WK-HTPrerequisite: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109

RU-275  Medicine and Literature

This course uses literary and film depictions of doctors and scientists, and other professionals as a focus for in-depth discussion of the relationship between moral imagination, moral reasoning, and moral judgment and the role they can and should play in our lives as professionals, citizens, and people.