• In your own words, describe the primary difference between consequentialist and non-
consequentialist approaches to ethics.
• Choose one of the major theories associated with consequentialism: what objections
might be made to this theory?
• Choose one of the major theories associated with non-consequentialism: what objections
might be made to this theory?
• In your own words, describe the difference between euthanasia and physician-assisted
• Select an argument for or against either euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. How
would you defend your argument?
• Choose and describe a scientific technique or practice related to genetics and eugenics.
Provide the rationale behind the use of this technique or practice.
• Discuss your thoughts and ideas regarding the technique or practice. Is it ever justifiable?
Why or why not?
Animal research is a necessary practice in the world of medical research, allowing scientists to
develop life-saving interventions and to spot catastrophic problems before new techniques or
products make their way to actual patients. However, this does not mean that we should deny
that there are serious ethical issues involved.
Animal testing is not a pretty or pleasant process. It causes pain and suffering to animal subjects,
and legitimate cases of abuse have been uncovered by animal rights groups. Consequently, the
practice should be tightly regulated, and alternative methods should be employed whenever
• Discuss a specific research study involving animals that had ethical issues.
• What were the ethical issues involved?
• What could have been done to conduct the research study differently to avoid these
Abortion is one of the most difficult and controversial moral issues we will consider. Listen to
both sides, even if it is difficult to do. Both sides have important moral insights, even if
ultimately these insights are outweighed by the insights of the other side. The goal of this
discussion is not to convince you to accept one position over the other, but to help you to
understand both sides. As you consider this difficult issue, it is important to distinguish two
• Is abortion morally wrong?
• Should abortion be illegal?
• Does a person in need of an organ transplant have a moral right to obtain that transplant,
supposing the availability of the needed organ?
• How should we choose who gets a transplant, supposing that there are not enough organs
for all who need them?
• How do you define privacy? • Do you believe privacy is a moral right? Why or why not? • Are there any cases in which public health policy justifies the violation of the right to
Some consider fair access to health care a moral right, while others disagree. We have defined
the term moral right as “a privilege to act in some specific, intentional manner or to obtain some
specific benefit because one is a moral agent living in a community of moral agents under a
shared moral standard.”
• Is access to health care a moral right?
• Why or why not?
“Stem cells are undifferentiated, primitive cells with the ability both to multiply and to
differentiate into specific kinds of cells. Stem cells hold the promise of allowing researchers to
grow specialized cells or tissue, which could be used to treat injuries or disease (e.g., spinal cord
injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, strokes, burns).” (Slevin, 2010)
• Discuss why you think embryonic stem cell research “crosses a moral boundary.”