Friday, April 06, 2018 10:00 am - 12:15 pm
Jacob Appel / Brown University
Hardly a day passes without modern medicine bringing us a new ethical dilemma: three-parent babies, face transplants, savior siblings,human hybrids, pharmaceuticals that enhance cognition, and the prospect of cloning people! Historians can use DNA to solve age-old mysteries about the origins of Christopher Columbus and the remains of King Richard III. Obstetricians impregnate women long past regular child-bearing age. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing unmasks our risk for Alzheimer's disease—and that of our parents as well. The list of scientific "miracles" seems endless, but so do the moral challenges that arise from these breakthroughs.
More than a decade after the American public watched lawmakers wrangle over the fate of Terri Schiavo, and nearly a generation since Louise Brown became the world's first "test tube" baby, we all remain fascinated by these bioethical conundrums. They are the subject of television dramas, best-selling novels, and non-fiction exposés. This course offers an in depth look at several of the most complex dilemmas in contemporary bioethics and explores various approaches to "solving" them—a journey occasionally alarming, often inspiring, and consistently challenging.
Jacob Appel is an American author, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic. He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia. Appel’s novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012. He has taught medical ethics at New York University, Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.