Ethics in Health Care

DIV 7222; REL 7222; IDIS 7222    

Ethics in Health Care: Theological and Philosophical Perspectives  

This course examines a broad range of theological and philosophical methods for dealing with ethical questions as they arise in contemporary American healthcare. We read influential texts from Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Jewish thought, contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, as well as a contemporary text which emphasizes the virtues.  Our aim is to discern the meaning and use of these texts for a range of practical issues, including issues at the beginning and end of life, questions that arise in routine patient care, and major policy issues in health and health care. We probe the dialectic between practice and theory, being attentive to their reciprocal influences. A major aim of the seminar is to gain critical purchase on the tools that various theological and philosophical traditions provide as guides to thinking and action, and to assess their uses and limits. A second major agenda is to become more critically aware of our own moral intuitions and assumptions. This seminar serves as a gateway for additional work in biomedical ethics.  

Fall; 3 credit hours. This seminar fulfills a requirement for the M.D. Certificate in Biomedical Ethics; it also fulfills the core requirement for theological ethics for the MTS and MDiv degrees at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Instructors: Keith Meador and Joe Fanning