Freedom, Justice and Bioethics

A.Y. 2020/2021
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
IUS/20
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course is organized in three teaching units.
The first teaching unit aims at introducing students to the philosophical analysis of the concepts of freedom, law and justice and of the relations between these concepts and the objects they refer to. It will be considered in particular how the law contributes to determine people's freedom, by reducing or increasing it.
The second teaching unit aims at introducing students to the main philosophical conceptions of justice - utilitarianism, anarchism, libertarianism, natural law theory, communitarianism, liberalism and radicalism - and to examine their implications as regards legislation and public policies.
The third teaching unit, finally, aims at introducing students to public bioethics, by examining, in the light of the main philosophical conceptions of justice, issues concerning health policies and the different forms of public intervention in the regulation of reproductive choices, of the use of one's own body, and of end of life choices.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course students should have acquired:
- knowledge and understanding of the concepts of freedom, law and justice and of the relations between these concepts;
- knowledge and understanding of the different ways the law contributes to determine people's freedom;
- knowledge and understanding of the main philosophical conceptions of justice and of their implications for legislation and public policies;
- knowledge and understanding of the implications of the main philosophical conceptions of justice for the solution of some bioethical issues;
- the capability to apply acquired knowledge to elaborate and defend in a public debate a personal normative position on specific problems of justice and of public bioethics.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Third trimester
In order to abide by the restrictions enacted to reduce the spread of the Covid19 infection, the teaching activity will be carried out online, through Microsoft Teams. The code to access the team will be made available through the Ariel website of the course.
Lessons will be held three times a week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lessons will be registered and uploaded on the Ariel website of the course. Attending students will be required to switch on their webcams.
Course syllabus
The course will be divided into three teaching units of ten lesson each that will address the following topics:

First teaching unit

- The theory of justice: object, status and method
- Freedom, its dimensions and its value
- The forms and limits of utilitarianism
- John Stuart Mill: utilitarianism and liberalism
- Freedom as a limit to freedom
- Freedom of expression and its limitation
- The forms of perfectionism
- Liberal anti-perfectionism
- Justice and sanctions
- Free will, determinism and responsibility

Second teaching unit

- The right to the fruits of one's own labour
- Justice and the market
- Liberalism and equality
- Luck-egalitarianism
- Justice as fairness
- The difference principle and distributive justice
- Equality of opportunity and distributive justice
- Meritocracy and preferential treatments
- The distributive paradigm and structural injustice
- The unconditional basic income

Third teaching unit

- Public bioethics: introduction
- The concept of "natural" and its normative irrelevance
- Liberty and health
- The liberty and right to choose and abortion
- Reproductive freedom
- Surrogacy and the commercial use of body parts
- Justice and access to health care
- Medical research and the politics of patents
- Genetic engineering and enhancement
- Bioethical questions at the end of life
Prerequisites for admission
Lectures will be given in Italian and attending students will be required to read texts and participate to class discussion in that language.
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to take part to these activities could take the exam in English as non-attending students. A bibliography in English will be provided.
No other preliminary knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
The teaching activities will include lectures and class discussion. The standard language for both activities will be Italian. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
For the final exam, non-attending students should prepare the texts listed in the Bibliography.
Teaching Resources
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend the classes with profit but who are interested in the topics of the course could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
A bibliography in English will be provided on request. In order to get it, email the professor.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
The final exam for non-attending students will consist in a written test and in an oral test, both mandatory.
The written test will be structured in six open-ended questions on the assigned readings (see Bibliography). Each answer will be given a mark from 6 to 30 (missing and completely wrong answers will get a 6) and the final mark will result from the arithmetic average of all marks. Students will have two hours to complete the written test.
The oral test could change the result of the written test of a maximum of two marks, for better or for worse.
Being Italian the standard language for the course, students who want to take the exam in English should inform the teacher by email a few days before the date of the exam.
IUS/20 - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Riva Nicola
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)
Reception:
Office hours are on Tuesday afternoon. The professor should be contacted by email in order to make an appointment through Microsoft Teams or on campus.