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A Philosophical Inquiry concerning Biomedicine, part A



Period: to be announced
Scientific and technological developments, certainly those of biomedicine, constantly change our day-to-day reality. These developments trigger our creative mind, seeing and exploring new possibilities, as well as our critical mind. New possibilities confront us with the responsibility to make choices. Are we able to foresee all consequences? How do, for example, prenatal diagnostics, selection of people, production of organs, registration of DNA profiles of citizens, affect our lives and social coherence?
The scientific reality of biomedicine changes the way we understand ourselves as human beings.
Questions concerning the essence and meaning of live are then inevitable. Since there is not just one right answer, there is chosen for a special method: a philosophical inquiry. Based on different ways of thinking and different sources of wisdom, we inquire questions about the relationship between human values and technology, body and soul and other issues you choose to discuss. This method enables you to explore your way of thinking, qua content and process, in an active and fundamental way. And so you are expected to participate in the discussion and contribute to the inquiry. You are invited to challenge the borders of what seems obvious in order to broaden your vision.

In part B, the follow up of this course, we will use this philosophical method to go further into questions that are more specific related to biomedicine, opening different perspectives on concepts like illness, health and curing.

Course objectives

Participants in the philosophical dialogue learn to:

  • reflect on the relationship between the science they practice, its social context and relevant philosophical questions.

  • clarify and develop their thoughts in these matters, to formulate them and to discuss them with others.

  • open in their communication to new perspectives and find inspiration for their own curiosity.

  • Recognize different modes of thinking

Mode of instruction

Working groups.

Assessment method

Participation during the discussions, contribution to the inquiry, an assignment and a final presentation.
On pass/ no pass basis.

Reading list

Will be distributed by the teacher during the course.

Maximum number of participants is 12.