The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the discipline of bioethics - starting from a brief reconstruction of the different narratives regarding its origin, scope, epistemological status, and intended purposes - necessary to pave the way for understanding and learning the core content of the course. This is constituted by the two followings modules: i) Public Bioethics, and ii) Empirical Bioethics. i) The module of Public Bioethics deals with all the issues revolving around the concept of ethical disagreement and how to address it. In particular, after defining what is public bioethics and what are the issues and topics that fall under this umbrella term, the module will expand on the concept of public deliberation. In particular, deliberative democratic theories and approaches will be introduced and properly thematized in order to explain to what extent the former may help in analysing and addressing bioethics issues of public relevance. ii) The module of Empirical Bioethics aims to provide students with an overview of: (i) the empirical turn in bioethics; (ii) what we mean by the adjective 'empirical'; (iii) the different interpretations on how to reconcile normative and descriptive approaches within bioethical reflection. An overview of the methodologies used by empirical bioethics approaches will be provided as well.
Expected learning outcomes
By following this course, students will gain both substantive knowledge in bioethics and reasoning skills. In particular, as to the former, students will acquire some basic knowledge with respect to the origin, scope, epistemological status, and intended purposes of the discipline of bioethics; the distinction between moral dilemmas and ethical disagreements; fundamental bioethics approaches (teleological, deontological, and mixed-method approaches); the definition, scope, main issues of public bioethics; deliberative democratic theories; mini-publics; approaches and methodologies of empirical bioethics. As to the latter, students will be able to exercise critical thinking and critical reasoning with respect to bioethics issues; learn to provide justifications for their positions; learn to distinguish between a consistent and an inconsistent moral reasoning.
Lesson period: Third trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)