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260051 Criticism of Bioethics (S) (WiSe 2020/2021)

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According to Linda Martín Alcoff (2017, 397) Western philosophy suffers from a transcendentalist delusion: “a belief that thought can be separated from its specific, embodied, and geo-historical source.” In this course, we take Alcoff’s claim seriously and consider the possible limits of European and American philosophical theories. In particular, we will focus on bioethics. Bioethics was born in the middle of the 20th century as a response to the horrors of WWII, and it has focused on promoting individual rights. It has been argued that the questions bioethics targets demonstrate Eurocentricism and the lack of diversity of thought. For example, Ravitsky (2020) has claimed that the Covid-19 crisis has shown that mainstream bioethics has failed in building frameworks that take into account questions related to justice. Likewise, it has been accused of neglecting issues related to race, perspectives of people with disabilities, and communal viewpoints. Critics argue also that analyses of concrete cases show that focus on abstract moral principles is not fruitful.

This course will provide an overview of criticisms of bioethics. The topics that will be discussed during the course include, for example: autonomy, reproduction, pregnancy and other issues related to parenting, care work (in families and in institutions), public health ethics (for instance, health care inequities), disability, and global health responsibilities. We will also use bioethics as a case for more general-level reflection about (academic) philosophy: What background assumptions steer philosophical practice? Where are the limits of philosophy? What kind of philosophy should be taught at universities?

Literaturangaben

Examples of literature:
Alcoff, L. M. (2017). Eurocentrism as an Epistemology of Ignorance. In Kidd, I. Medina, J. & Pohlhaus, G. (Eds.) The Routledge handbook of epistemic injustice.
Bernasconi, R. (2003). Will the real Kant please stand up. Radical Philosophy, 117, 13-22.
Dotson, K. (2013). How is this paper philosophy?. Comparative Philosophy, 3(1), 121-121.
Goering, S. (2008). ‘You Say You’re Happy, but…’: Contested Quality of Life Judgments in Bioethics and Disability Studies. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 5(2-3), 125-135.
Ravitsky, V. (2020). Post-Covid Bioethics. https://www.thehastingscenter.org/post-covid-bioethics/
Tong, R. (2009): Long-term Care for the Elderly Worldwide: Whose Responsibility Is It?. International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 2(2): 5–30.

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