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Medical Ethics - Moral health care dilemmas and choices from a European perspective

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €1,000.00 per programme


Those who are working in the medical professions are often confronted with decision making procedures that go far beyond the mere technological aspects that are involved in the cases under investigation. Doctors and nurses are aware of the fact that their fields of operation are characterised by moral parameters as well and they know that ethical reflection has to come in where scientific deliberation is no longer able to answer all the questions that are connected to the medical problems they have to deal with. This means that quite frequently a medical assessment needs the help of an ethical evaluation to cover completely the appraisal of a particular health situation and that doctors and nurses should be conscious of the moral status and implications of the conclusions they draw.

The aim of this course is to give students an introductory and philosophical investigation of the question if, when and how ethical considerations can or must play a role in the practice of the medical professions. Topics that will be addressed are for example: euthanasia, embryo research, HIV and Aids, imperilled new-borns, gen therapy and cloning, involuntary psychiatric treatment, and allocation of limited medical resources.

It wants to make students aware of the fact that the health sciences are not operating in a moral vacuum and that a good knowledge of both the older and recent ethical debate in this particular field is of the greatest significance. There will be lectures, philosophical discussions and the study of practical cases (some with guest speakers from the field) that reflect the most important problems and topics that make up the moral challenges of the medical discipline of today.

Course objectives
Students will be schooled in philosophical techniques that form the basis of sound ethical reasoning. After the course students will have a good working knowledge of the most important ethical problems, questions, approaches, answers and theories that are related to the fields in which medical professionals are working. They can give an independent philosophical analysis of a medical case or of a case which is related to this and they will be able to properly justify the ethical answers and solutions that are being looked for. They know how to present their findings both in a written and in an oral form.

H.M.S. Timmermans
K.J.M. Willems
M.J. Feeney

Recommended literature
▪ G. Pence, ‘Classic Works in Medical Ethics: Core Philosophical Readings, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1997.
▪ G. Pence, ‘Classic Cases in Medical Ethics: Accounts of Cases That Have Shaped Medical Ethics, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004.

CES students receive their books on loan from CES. Students participating in the Maastricht Summerschool (MSS) can either borrow the text books from CES, the university library or buy it themselves.

Apply now!
Application start
Feb 1, 2019
Application deadline
Jun 1, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time

15:00 Europe/Amsterdam time

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States