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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Bioethics: Philosophical and Theological Pers
Module Code TP401
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Alan Kearns
Semester 2: Alan Kearns
Autumn: Alan Kearns
Module TeachersAlan Kearns
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

The objective of this module is to explore contemporary issues in bioethics. Bioethics is the reflective and critical study of the ethical issues stemming from the interface between science and technology and its application in health care. Such issues can have a real and tangible impact on people's lives, their experience of health care as well as on their worldviews and values. This module examines in detail the philosophical and theological principles of bioethics as well as the perennial and emerging ethical issues arising from the interplay between people, society and advances in technology and science.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of the key ethical principles in bioethics and a number of critical contemporary bioethical issues from a philosophical and theological perspective.
2. Engage with, as well as discuss and debate, a variety of contemporary ethical questions, issues and dilemmas emerging from the intersection between science and technology and their complex impact on society, supported by a broad range of philosophical and theological ethical sources and perspectives.
3. Identify and evaluate a range of potential moral viewpoints and arguments regarding bioethical questions, within the context of a pluralistic society.
4. Develop and further their research skills in the area of ethics in general and bioethics in particular so that their future teaching of ethical issues in the classroom will be researched-based and led.
5. Analyse and assess the application of key ethical principles to case studies or topics in bioethics.
6. Further their content knowledge and reflection in ethics and bioethics within the context of teaching of Religious Education/Studies and within the context of their ongoing professional journey of life-long learning.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Research driven and led teaching that utilises an interactive pedagogical methodology of case studies analysis (that fosters and develops the practical skill of applying knowledge) combined with lecturer exposition of technical content knowledge. The teaching and learning context provides an opportunity for a learning environment that is engaging and inclusive of all viewpoints and is supportive of students.
Independent Study61The learning platform - 'LOOP' - provides a comprehensive range of resources for students.
Directed learning12The module provides an indicative outline of weekly topics that are accompanied by case studies with which students are required to examine in preparation for weekly lectures.
Assignment Completion30Researching and writing process of the major paper is supported by accompanying lecture input and also by various supportive resources to enable students to fully engage in the assessment process.
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to Bioethics

From Medical Ethics to Bioethics

Four Principles of Bioethics

Theological Principles of Bioethics

Innovative and Emerging Technologies & Biomedical Research

Public Health, Vaccines, and Pandemics

Reproductive Technologies & Surrogacy

Abortion & Personhood

Stem-Cell Research/Genetics & Enhancements

Withholding/withdrawing Treatment

Euthanasia & Physician-Assisted Suicide

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperA major paper that combines content knowledge on bioethical principles and a case study or topic analysis. (min 40% to pass module)100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Beauchamp, Tom L. and Childress, James F.: 2019, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 8th edn, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Andre, Judith: 2002, Bioethics as Practice, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill,
  • Ashley, Benedict M. and O’Rourke, Kevin D.: 2006, Health Care Ethics: A Theological Analysis, 5th, Georgetown University Press, Washington,
  • Ashcroft, Richard E., Dawson, Angus, Draper, Heather, and McMillan, John (eds): 2007, Principles of Health Care Ethics, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester,
  • Barry, Vincent E.: 2012, Bioethics in a Cultural Context: Philosophy, Religion, History, Politics, Wadsworth, Boston,
  • Brody, Howard: 2009, The Future of Bioethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Bryant, John A. and La Velle, Linda: 2018, Introduction to Bioethics, Wiley, Chichester,
  • Caplan, Arthur L. and Arp, Robert (eds): 2014, Contemporary Debates in Bioethics, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester,
  • Corkery, Pádraig: 2010, Bioethics and the Catholic moral tradition, Veritas, Dublin,
  • Ferber, Sarah: 2013, Bioethics in Historical Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke,
  • Fisher, Anthony: 2011, Catholic Bioethics for a New Millennium, Cambridge University Press, New York,
  • Hawley, Georgina: 2014, Ethics in Clinical Practice: An Inter-Professional Approach, Taylor and Francis, Hoboke,
  • Kelly, David F., Magill, Gerard and Have, H. Ten: 2013, Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics, 2nd edn, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC,
  • Kuhse, Helga and Singer, Peter (eds): 2016, Bioethics: An Anthology, 3rd edn, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester,
  • Lysaught, M. Therese and McCarthy, Michael: 2018, Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice: The Praxis of US Health Care in a Globalized World, Liturgical Press Academic, Collegeville, Minnesota,
  • McDonagh, Enda and MacNamara, Vincent (eds.): 2013, An Irish Reader in Moral Theology: The Legacy of the Last Fifty Years: Volume 3: Medical and Bio-Ethics, The Columba Press, Dublin,
  • May, W. E.: 2013, Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life (3rd Edition), Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington,
  • Meilaender, G.: 2005, Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, W.B. Eerdmans, Cambridge,
  • Messer, Neil: 2013, Flourishing: Health, Disease, and Bioethics in Theological Perspective, William B. Eerdmans,
  • Moskop, John C.: 2016, Ethics and Health Care: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Murphy, Pádraig: 2017, Biotechnology, Education and Life Politics: Debating Genetic Futures from School to Society, Routledge, London,
  • Scott, P. Anne (ed.): 2017, Key Concepts and Issues in Nursing Ethics, Springer,
  • Shapshay, Sandra: 2009, Bioethics at the Movies, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
  • Singer, Peter, Grabel, Laura and Gruen, Lori: 2007, Stem Cell Research: The Ethical Issues, Blackwell, Oxford,
  • Singer, Peter A. and Viens, Adrien M. (eds.): 2008, The Cambridge Textbook of Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
  • Singer, Peter: 2016, Practical Ethics, 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, New York,
  • Steinbock, Bonnie (ed.): 2009, The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Talbot, Marianne: 2012, Bioethics: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
Other Resources

46690, E-Journal, 0, Bioethics, 46691, E-Journal, 0, Christian Bioethics, 46692, E-Journal, 0, Journal of Medicine & Philosophy, 46693, E-Journal, 0, BMC Medical Ethics, 46694, E-Journal, 0, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 46695, E-Journal, 0, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 46696, E-Journal, 0, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 49413, E-Journal, 0, Hastings Center Report, 49432, E-Journal, 0, Journal of Medical Ethics, 49415, E-Journal, 0, American Journal of Bioethics, 49416, E-Journal, 0, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy,
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