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    Explores ethical issues within, and arising from, science and technology. Covers basic ethics in science, and the moral and social implications of life science for human life, particularly its earliest stages.

    Bioethics and the Life Sciences gives students an opportunity to examine the ethical implications of life sciences and biotechnology. Increasingly, scientists are called to justify their practices, such as human and animal experimentation, genetic modification, use of dead human bodies, and publication of controversial work. Without a good understanding of the ethical issues arising within life science and biotechnology, scientists and non-scientists alike will not be well-equipped to participate in the public debate about bioscience and biotechnology and how they affect wider society.

    About this paper

    Paper title Bioethics and the Life Sciences
    Subject Bioethics
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    One BITC or PHIL paper, or 72 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science

    This paper is suitable for second-year and third-year students from any academic background.


    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr Mike King

    Lecturers: Dr Mike King

    Emeritus Professor Gareth Jones

    Associate Professor Neil Picking

    Associate Professor Phillip Wilcox


    Shamoo, Adil E., and David B. Resnik. 2022. Responsible Conduct of Research, 4th ed. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    The paper will encourage students to:

    • Be able to identify key ethical concepts
    • Identify moral claims and distinguish them from other sorts of claims
    • Identify reasons given in support of particular moral claims
    • Compare and contrast alternative analyses of topics
    • Identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative analyses of topics
    • Review key approaches and literature relating to bioethics of the biosciences, including topics concerning the beginning of life
    • Use reasoned argument to present preferred analysis/approach
    • Begin to recognise implications of ethical reasoning for scientific practice


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 9-13, 15-22
    Wednesday 13:00-14:50 9-13, 15-22
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