Senior Seminar
Biomedical Ethics in the 21st Century

CORE 390 - 06A: SPRING 2007


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Henry Jakubowski


  1. Elements of Moral Philosophy, 5rd Ed.  James Rachels, Stuart Rachels, McGraw-Hill, 2007
  2. The Ethical Brain.   Michael Gazzaniga. Dana Press, 2005
  3. Smart Mice, Not-So-Smart People:  An Interesting and Amusing Guide to Bioethics
  4. Additional materials available on the web, through email, or on reserve at the libraries

TIME/PLACE: 11:20 PM- 12:30 PM; Days 2-4-6. ASC 121


OFFICE HOURS:  11:00 am-12:00 pm, Days 2-4-6; I am also available by appointment and/or through email.    

TOPICS  - Below is a list of potential topics that we will discuss in this course. 


The Guidelines for Senior Seminar in Exploring the Human Condition: Guidelines for a Joint Core Curriculum state that give the student:

Many  of these can be summarized in the first objective below.  The main objectives of this course are to:

  1. increase your critical thinking skills of students as you explore moral questions arising from scientific and medical breakthroughs that have the potential to revolutionize human health care and human potential
  2. help students better articulate and substantiate, through discussion and writing, their own views about these moral questions.  

In order to analyze, synthesize and evaluate complex situation, students must first learn relevant facts and ideas, translate them in meaningful ways, interpret information by forming relationships among different ideas, and apply their understanding to new problems.  Any topics could be used to facilitate the acquisition of critical thinking skills, but you will apply our new skills to an understanding of biomedical issues.  It is impossible to develop logical and morally defensible ideas without understanding the basic information of a field.   You need content to develop and defend your ideas.  Hence, another objective of this class is to:

  1. learn, translate, interpret, and apply an understanding of major moral philosophies and of the new methods to diagnosis, treat, and prevent disease based on availability of the human genome to the complex ethical questions of medical care in the 21st century.


I will post additional readings and possibly have electronic discussion forum using a program called Moodle

To access Moodle from the CSB/SJU homepage, click the links to "Current Students", then "Web-Based Courses." In the large gold box, click the link to access Moodle.

You can access Moodle directly by going to

Login with your regular campus network ID and password.  On the list of available courses, click the title of the course you want to access


The schools have strict policies concerning plagiarism.  To discourage plagiarism, all papers so specified must be submitted in both print  and emailed versions.  The email version will facilitate search of potentially plagiarized sections of a paper against appropriate web and CD databases.  The policies of the institution regarding plagiarism will be strictly enforced.  It may lead to failure in the course, and possible dismissal from CSB/SJU.

GROUP WORK - Learning Through Discussion (LTD)

Most of our class will involve small and large group discussions of assigned reading.  In LTD, you must first relate what the author stated, apply what you learned to other situations, and then evaluate the new ideas.  These steps involve memory, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  We will follow a specific format for LTD which will follow a specific thee-part plan.  The LTD plan was taken from the book, Learning Through Discussion, 3rd. edition, by Rabow et. al.(1994), which is out-of-print.


All papers must be done on a word processor and submitted in print form.  When requested, an email form of the paper will also be required.   The papers should have correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  If not, the grade for the paper will be decreased.  



One days of discussion of assigned readings, everyone is expected to bring a discussion outline to class.  In addition, the following characteristics will be observed to determine the extent of your participation:

High level: Have the characteristics of a medium level of participation and in addition:

Medium level

Low Level


This will include a  presentation and a 10-12 page paper focusing on a specific, modern biomedical ethics issue.  The presentations are scheduled from April 11 - May 7.  The final paper is due on May 1.  For some of you that will be before your presentations, and for others, after. 

Detailed Information on Final Paper/Presentation


I reserve the right to change the course and syllabus during the semester to accommodate changes in the course that I deem necessary to improve it.

Last update on 01/14/2007