Medical Ethics: A Natural Law Perspective

June 23-29, 2019
Duke University, North Carolina

This seminar will examine the most important ethical questions that arise in the everyday practice of medicine. The framework of its analysis will be the theory of natural law that developed from the synthesis of ancient Greek thought (including the Hippocratic corpus) with Judaism and then Christianity. This framework will be contrasted with principalism and consequentialism as participants consider what sort of practice medicine is, whether it has a rational end or goal, and how medicine and the goods that medicine seeks fit within the broader scope of human goods.

Issues to be covered include the nature of the doctor-patient relationship; the limits of medicine; the meaning of autonomy; the place of conscience in the physician’s work; the difference between an intended effect and a side effect; proportionality; human dignity; sexuality and reproduction; the beginning of life; disability; end-of-life care; and death. The seminar will consider an array of common clinical ethical cases and discuss what medicine, and ethics, require in those scenarios. In the end, participants will develop intellectual tools that have for hundreds of years helped physicians discern how to practice medicine well (to be a good physician) in the face of medicine’s moral and clinical complexities.

Christopher O. Tollefsen, University of South Carolina
Farr A. Curlin, MD, Duke University

This seminar is open to entering and current medical students.

Additional Information and Application Instructions
For additional details, including application instructions, please visit this website.

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