Applied ethics class to probe issues of personhood

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Rakshak Adhikari

Staff Writer

The Department of History and Philosophy will be offering an upper level course on applied ethics next semester.

According to Joungbin Lim, an assistant professor of philosophy and the instructor for the course, the course will focus on personhood and issues in biomedical ethics.

The course will begin by examining metaphysical issues related to personhood and then move to ethical issues relating to the same, added Lim. The course will also examine the concept of personhood in a variety of different traditions such as Christianity, Buddhism and Confucianism.

According to Lim, the issues discussed in this course are important because of their implications in society.

“If you consider (a) fetus to be a human than you will not be pro-choice and similarly if you do not consider (a) fetus to be a human then you may be able to justify abortion,” Lim said.

The course will also discuss similar issues of personhood in relation to persistent vegetative state, as well as euthanasia and life extending technologies.

“Given how important bioethics is (to) biomedical research, people who want to pursue research in biomedical research should take this course,” added Lim.

The course does not have any prerequisites.

“I decided to take this class because I am currently enrolled in the ethics class and I feel like the topics discussed are very realistic and controversial,” said Karina Valeriano, a junior political science major from Austin, Texas.

“I feel as if it has given me some new information and perspective on some ethical problems and I am hoping that I will get some deeper understanding of the ideas we have discussed in the ethics class,” Valeriano added.

According to Jay Valentine, an assistant professor of philosophy, applied ethics is a class that will examine the intersection of various streams of philosophical thought in a manner that will encourage students to exercise higher levels of learning and thought.

“Professor Lim will explore contemporary moral problems from the perspectives of various theories regarding the nature of the self, it requires students to assimilate complicated perspectives, apply them to various ethical situations, synthesize information to find new solutions to problems, and evaluate from multiple perspectives,” Valentine added.

“These are the sorts of mental gymnastics that are known to encourage critical thinking in all areas of one’s life,” Valentine said.

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