Bio ethics and quality of life

Sara Goering. photo courtesy of The University of Washington.

“Medicine in Actions: A Bio-Ethics Speaker Series” will host another speaker this Friday, January 27. The event will be held at 3:00 in Peck Hall room 0405.

The series is hosted by the Philosophy Department and is funded by a grant from the Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The series is designed to take a look at issues at the crossroads of ethics, biology, and medicine. The series was put together by Alison Reiheld, assistant professor of philosophy. Reiheld believes that bio ethics is an important topic that span every aspect of life.

“Bio ethics broadly includes not just only human medicine, buy also animal experimentation, the genetic modification of food plants–should we create organisms that contain genes from multiple species, both animal and plant or different animal species like goldfish that fluoresce because they have squid proteins in them,” said Reiheld.  “This [series] is specifically the subsection of bio-ethics that is pertaining to clinical medicine.  There is a lot more even in medical ethics than that, but we’re looking for this idea that the part of ethics that’s is useful and important in your profession extends beyond the classroom.”

Reiheld hopes that the series will invite students from across the various fields of study at SIUE to participate in a discussion that should impress them with the need to consider ethics throughout their future careers.

The speaker for Friday will be Sara Goering, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. The title of the presentation is “Disability and Quality of Life Judgements: Exploring the Disability Paradox.”

According to information from Reiheld, Goering will address the following issues:

  • Are mainstream bioethicists (and health care professionals) right to consider it obvious that life with a disability is necessarily worse than life without one?
  • Does a disability always significantly detract from quality of life?
  • What are we to make of the many people with serious and persistent disabilities who claim they have a high quality of life?
  • How should we interpret the claim of disabled persons that they are much more interested in justice and equal opportunities than in “cures”?

Dr. Goering will consider these questions in order to explore the so-called “disability paradox”, to consider how to make sense of these contradictory claims, and to highlight the importance of including people with disabilities in theorizing and policy making related to disability, according to Reiheld.

Because the series is designed to be cross-disciplinary, Reiheld said she encourages all faculty to invite their students to attend the talk. The series is also designed to create a dialogue. Goering will present for the first half of the time period and has designed a program that will engage students in a discussion.

The event will be held Friday, January 27th, from 3:00-4:40 p.m. in Peck Hall room 0405.

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