POLITICAL SCIENCE 322 -- POLITICS AND THE LIFE SCIENCES 

Fall 2008                                                                                            

Andrea Bonnicksen, Zulauf 401, 753-7059, albcorn@niu.edu

Office hours: T 1:00 – 1:50;  T 3:30 – 4:30; Th 3:30 – 4:30

 

INTRODUCTION                                         

During this semester we will examine developments in medicine that pose challenges for bioethics and biopolicy. The class is designed to give an appreciation of the range of issues in biomedicine, some of which may touch you and your families at various points in your lives, such as participation in medical research projects, involving children in decisions about their medical care, and preparation of advance directives. It is also designed to promote curiosity about and receptivity to differing viewpoints and the values that underlie them. It will reveal systematic ways of approaching issues, with reference to principles in bioethics of autonomy, beneficence, and justice, and it will encourage critical thinking about the merits of arguments presented as opposing viewpoints.

 

REQUIRED READINGS 

Carol Levine, Clashing Views on Controversial Bioethical Issues. Dubuque, IA:

            McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2008. 12th Edition.

Gregory E. Pence, The Elements of Bioethics. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007.

Items posted on electronic reserves are indicated as ER on the syllabus. Information

            about getting access to these readings will be given in the first week of class.

 

GRADES

Grades will be based on two exams, an ongoing journal of six entries, and class involvement, as follows:


Midterm exam                         25%     45 points

Final exam                               25%     45 points

Journal                                     30%     54 points

Class involvement                   20%     36 points

 

TOTAL                                 100%   180 points

 

Final grades will be allocated as follows:

162  180 = A; 144 – 161 = B; 126 – 143 = C; 108 – 125 = D; below 108 = F

 

Exams (50%)

The exams will be given October 14 and December 9. They will be short answer and multipart essay. Study questions will be given before each exam. Make-up exams will be given only for documented serious illness or a death in the family and only if you contact me AHEAD of the exam (753-7059 -- leave a message if necessary).

 

Journals (30%)

Journal writing is used to encourage the exploration of ideas and to create an incentive to keep up with and think about the reading. Six times during the semester (about every two weeks) you will submit a typed journal entry related to a topic that we cover during the period between the entries. The scope of the entry is up to you, but it is better to write a carefully thought out essay on a fairly narrow subject than to write a breezy essay that shifts from one idea to another. You should strive for a central message or theme in your essay and ground your ideas in the required readings.  If a topic has particular personal relevance for you, you are encouraged to write about it and to compare/contrast your experiences with material in the readings.

 

Journal entries are to be at least 2 typed double-spaced pages (no double-double spacing between paragraphs). Late entries will not be accepted, nor will e-mailed entries. Please bring hard copies to class or, if you cannot be in class that day, slide the entries under my door in Zulauf 401. Grammar and spelling count. I will look to the following in grading individual essays. The journal grade will be based on the average of the individual essays:

 

            Is the essay thoughtful and carefully written?

            Is the essay grounded in some way in the readings (i.e., do you specifically refer

            to parts of the readings as a basis for your comments)?

            Does your position or personality emerge in the readings (i.e., are you engaged in

            the essay)?

            Does the essay make effective use of examples and analogies to illustrate points?

            Do you have a unifying message or theme?  

            Is your essay at least two typed pages long?

 

Class involvement (20%)

The participation grade will be determined by discussion in class and submission of periodic short optional assignments. You are expected to read the material before it is covered in class and knowingly to participate in discussions based on the readings. Participation grades will be decided as follows:

 

A = regular and informed participation with demonstration of having done the readings

B = occasional and thoughtful participation with demonstration of having done the readings 

C = occasional participation without clear demonstration of having done the readings

D = minimum to no participation

F = rare attendance or participation

 

Attendance is not required, but participation is more likely for those who attend regularly. Also, those who attend will learn about periodic short optional assignments. Students are expected to read the material before each topic is covered in class. I will introduce the topic and the discussion will then revolve around the readings. Those who are more talkative are asked to raise their hands to be recognized before speaking so that all students may be given the opportunity to contribute. In addition, it is important for all to feel comfortable participating, and respect should be shown for the variety of views expressed.

 

CALENDAR

September 9                Journal 1 due

September 25              Journal 2 due

October 9                    Journal 3 due

October 14                  Midterm exam            

October 28                  Journal 4 due

November 11                          Journal 5 due

November 20              Journal 6 due

December 9                 Final exam

 

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS

 

I. CONCEPTS AND FRAMEWORKS I (AUGUST 26, 28)

 

Levine xvii-xxviii (“Medicine and Moral Arguments”)

Pence 1-20 (“Lying to Patients and Ethical Relativism”)

Pence 21-51 (“Kant and Whether Alcoholism is a Disease”)

 

II. MEDICAL DECISION MAKING (SEPTEMBER 2, 4, 9)

 

Informed Consent and Medical Ethics

1. Levine 2-13 (Arnold and Lidz, “Clinical Aspects of Consent in Health Care”)

            2. Levine 14-20 (O’Neill, “Gaining Autonomy and Losing Trust?”)

 

Truth-Telling and the Patient’s Culture

            1. Levine 21-32 (Blackhall et al., “Bioethics in a Different Tongue”)

2. Levine 33-41 (Kuczewski and McCruden, “Informed Consent”)

 

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals

            1. Levine 42-48 (Holmer, “Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising

            Builds Bridges Between Patients and Physicians”)

            2. Levine 49-56 (Hollon, “Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Prescription Drugs”)

            3. Woloshin and Schwartz, “Giving Legs to Restless Legs: A Case Study of

            How the Media Helps Make People Sick.” PLoS Medicine Vol. 3, No. 4, e170

            doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030170. ER.    

 

III. ORGAN DONATION (SEPTEMBER 11, 16)

 

Living Organ Donors

1. Pence 52-80 (“Kant’s Critique of Adult Organ Donation”)

2. Truog, “Consent for Organ Donation – Balancing Conflicting Ethical

Obligations.” New England Journal of Medicine 358(12):1209-11 (March 20,

2008). ER

 

Payment for Organ Donation

            1. Levine  295-301 (Radcliffe-Richards, “Should There Be a Free Market in Body

            Parts?”)

            2. Levine 302-10 (Institute of Medicine, “Organ Donation”)

 

IV. END OF LIFE DECISION MAKING (SEPTEMBER 18 – OCTOBER 9)

 

Making Decisions for Persons in a Persistent Vegetative State

1. Pence 137-71 (“Terri Schiavo: When Does Personhood End?”)

            2.  “Statement of Illinois Law on Advance Directives and DNR Orders.”

 http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/books/advin.htm  (scan)

 

Physician Assisted Suicide

            1. Levine 88-97 (Angell, “The Supreme Court and Physician-Assisted Suicide—

            The Ultimate Right”)

            2. Levine 98-107 (Foley, “Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-

            Assisted Suicide”)

3. Quill, “Death and Dignity: A Case of Individualized Decision Making.” New

England Journal of Medicine 324(10):691-694 (March 7, 1991). ER

            4. Eddy, “A Conversation with My Mother.” New England Journal of Medicine

            272(3):179-181. ER

 

Medical Ethics in Disaster Conditions

            1. Levine 79-82 (Donnell, “A Bright Line”)

            2. Levine 83-87 (Marshall, “Oh, the Water”)

            3. Okie, “Dr. Pou and the Hurricane – Implications for Patient Care During

            Disasters.” New England Journal of Medicine 358(1):1-5 (January 3, 2008). ER

 

Demands for ‘Futile’ Treatment 

            1. Levine 108-14 (Miles, “Informed Demand for ‘Non-Beneficial’ Medical

            Treatment”)

            2. Levine 115-20 (Ackerman, “The Significance of a Wish”)

3. American Medical Association. “E-2 Medical Futility in End-of-Life Care.”

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/8390.html ER

            4. Pence 233-62 (“Is There a Duty to Die?”)

 

MIDTERM EXAM OCTOBER 14

 

V. BIOETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY     (OCTOBER 16, 21, 23, 28, 30)

 

Military Needs and Medical Ethics

1. “Dialysis for a Prisoner of War.” Hastings Center Report 34(6):11-12

(November-December 2004). ER

2. Howe, “Dilemmas in Military Medical Ethics Since 9/11.” Kennedy Institute of

Ethics Journal 13(2):175-88 (June 2003).  ER

 

 Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports and Scholarship 

            1. Levine 285-88 (Murray, “Drugs, Sports, and Ethics”)

            2. Levine 289-94 (Savulescu, “Why We Should Allow Performance Enhancing

            Drugs in Sport”)

            3. Sahakian and Morein-Zamir, “Professor’s Little Helper.” Nature 450:1157-59

            (December 27, 2007). ER

 

Variations in Assisted Reproduction

            1. Pence 109-36 (“Emotivism and Banning Some Conceptions”)

 

Tying Federally Funded Health Care to Following Doctors’ Orders

            1. Levine 258-65 (West Virginia, “Medicaid Redesign”)

            2. Levine 266-69 (Bishop and Brodkey, “Personal Responsibility”)

            3. Blacksher, “Carrots and Sticks to Promote Healthy Behaviors: A Policy

            Update.” Hastings Center Report 38(3):13-16 (May/June 2008). ER

 

VI.   BIOTECHNOLOGY AND ENHANCEMENT (NOVEMBER 4, 6, 11)

 

 Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

1. Levine 198-203 (President’s Council on Bioethics, “Monitoring Stem Cell

Research”)

            2. Levine 204-10 (Groopman, “Forward, Medicine!”)

            3. http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp (scan)

            4. Additional reading to be announced

 

Genetic Enhancement

            1. Levine 211-18 (Sandel, “The Case Against Perfection”)

            2. Levine 219-23 (Trachtman, “A Man Is a Man”)

            3. Hanna, “Genetic Enhancement.” www.genome.gov/10004767 ER

             

VII.  HUMAN AND ANIMAL RESEARCH (NOVEMBER 13, 18)

 

Protecting Specific Groups in Medical Research

            1. Pence 203-32 (“Can Research Be Just on People with Schizophrenia?”)

 

Animal Experimentation

            1. Levine 226-35 (Loeb, “Human vs. Animal Rights: In Defense of Animal

            Research”)

            2. Levine 236-43 (Regan, “Ill-Gotten Gains”)

 

VIII. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (NOVEMBER 20, 25)

1. Readings to be announced

 

 

 

IX. CHILDREN AND BIOETHICS (DECEMBER 2, 4)

 

 Adolescents and Life-Death Decisions

1. Levine 164-78 (Weir and Peters, “Affirming the Decisions Adolescents

Make About Life and Death”)

            2. Levine 173-78 (Ross, “Health Care Decisionmaking by Children”)

 

Parental Refusal of Treatment on Religious Grounds

            1. Pence 263-79 (“Treating Jehovah’s Witnesses Respectfully”)

            2. Levine 179-86 (Massachusetts Citizens for Children, “Death By Religious

            Exemption”)

            3. Levine 187-95 (Sheldon, “Ethical Issues in the Forced Transfusion of

            Jehovah’s Witness Children”)

            4. “Old Enough,” Hastings Center Report 37(6):15-16 (Nov./Dec. 2007). ER

 

FINAL EXAM  DECEMBER 9

 

General websites for bioethics that may be of interest:

http://bioethics.od.nih.gov

http://faculty.smu.edu/tmayo/bioweb.htm

www.bioethics.gov

http://blog.bioethics.net

www.genome.gov

 

Manners:

You are asked to arrive on time. Late arrivals are very disruptive. If you have an appointment that requires you to leave early, let me know ahead of time and then sit in a chair near the door. Please turn off cell phones before class begins. Do not leave and then return after receiving a phone call.

 

Other information:

Plagiarism. -- According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalogue “[s]tudents are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging” the sources. Students who are guilty of cheating or copying may receive a failing grade for the assignment and possibly for the course. For the purposes of this class, it is important to place quotation marks around direct quotations and give the source. It is also important to give the source for information and ideas that are not your own. For example, if you quote from Pence (author of one of the textbooks), you would put his name and page number after the quote (Pence, 153). If you are generally discussing virtue ethics and are using Pence, p. 14-15, you would also attribute the source of your information to Pence at the end of the sentence (Pence, pp. 14-15). In short, whenever you use information from another source, you should attribute it even if it is not a direct quote. The reader of your journal entries must be able to replicate your research by finding your sources.

 

CAAR.-- NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may need accommodation should contact the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building during the first two weeks of the semester.

 

Paper awards.-- The Department of Political Science annually recognizes outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses (all majors are welcome to compete). Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Submit three papers from any undergraduate political science class to a department secretary in Zulauf 315 by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without. Only papers written in the previous calendar year (2008) can be considered for the 2009 award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the 2008 competition even if the author has graduated.