III. Procreative Ethics

In this section of the course, we will look at interesting and somber questions regarding early human life — both new ways of creating it, and questions concerning destroying it.  We will investigate these issues under the headings of ‘Collaborative Reproduction’ and ‘Abortion’.

Although engaging in bioethics — or really, ethics generally — with other people always takes patience, respect, humility and empathy, perhaps the topics here are unique in the extent to which this is true.  The question of abortion, in particular, is emotional, political, and often addressed with rhetoric rather than reason.  We will not do that here.  Regardless of which side you fall on, the question of whether abortion is morally permissible is hard, and it matters.  In addition, your interlocutor — the student beside you, or a friend in your dorm room — might have struggled with infertility and wanted nothing more than to grow human life inside of her, or she may have gone through the difficult, sometimes traumatic process of deciding whether the early life inside of her should be ended.  Although we will be rigorous in our reasoning and will not shy away from difficult questions, we will also engage one another as fellow people whose lives and views deserve respect.  Cool?  Yes.

So with that out of the way, let’s begin our topic with — and I’m not just saying this — a really fantastic introductory lecture by Dr. Little.  You’ll want to pay attention to this one!


When you’re ready, you can go ahead and dive in using the links below.

1. Collaborative Reproduction

2. Abortion