Expanded Description: At our first meeting we will consider the strategies we use to decide what is right and what is wrong, and we will ask why some issues are considered worthy of moral attention and others not. In the following classes we will examine contemporary ethical issues: the rise of “big data” and several dimensions of the ethics of aging. We will use a combination of videos (accessible on-line) and readings, most of which will be made available electronically.

Week 1: How do we know what is right? A very brief introduction to how we make moral choices.

Michael Sandel, Justice: What’s the right thing to do?

    Available at: http://justiceharvard.org/themoralsideofmurder/

John Evans, “A Sociological Account of the Growth of Principlism”*

R. De Vries, “Regarding Bioethics.”*

Week 2: Who owns my data (and can I prevent them from using/selling it)? Privacy and discrimination in the age of big data.

Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction*

Minakshi Raj, et al.,Do people have an ethical obligation to share their health information? Comparing narratives of altruism and health information sharing in a nationally representative sample.”*       

Week 3: The ethics of aging (1): What is our responsibility to the next generation(s)? Are baby boomers irresponsible/immoral? Should I buy an electric vehicle?

Sean Illing, “How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America”*

M. Cooper, “A burden on future generations? How we learned to hate deficits and blame the baby boomers.”*

Week 4: The ethics of aging (2): How much health care is enough? Who has a claim on limited health resources? What’s wrong/right with assisted death? 

E.B. French et al., “End-Of-Life Medical Spending In Last Twelve Months Of Life Is Lower Than Previously Reported.”*

Forum: Brent M. Kious & Margaret (Peggy) Battin, “Physician Aid-in-Dying and Suicide Prevention in Psychiatry: A Moral Crisis?” + responses.*

* Access to reading will be provided electronically.