Philosophy for our times

1000+ debates from the world's leading thinkers

more
21 04 21.Medicine out of its depth 1

Medicine Out of Its Depth

Janet Radcliffe-Richards

Are technologies advances leaving traditional medical ethics behind? Oxford Professor of Practical Philosophy Janet Radcliffe-Richards explores new ways forward for modern bioethics.

Instructor
  • Radcliffe Richards
    Janet Radcliffe-Richards

    Janet Radcliffe-Richards is a British philosopher specialising in bioethics and feminism.

Categories

About the Course

About the Course

 

We assume that doctors are experts in medical matters. Yet whilst there's no doubt that medicine has advanced hugely in its technology and functional understanding of the body, most doctors are woefully out of their depth. As Professor Radcliffe-Richards explains, deciding on a patient's treatment doesn't just require knowing cause and effect, but also being able to make subtle, yet crucial, value judgements. And why should we think that doctors would be particularly good at that?

Who should get to decide what counts as medical ethics? Why has advancing technology actually made it more difficult to tell when somebody is dead? How should we think through the moral implications of selling organs? When do we need a doctor and when is it time to call in a moral philosopher? And how has the ethical treatment of patients changed through history?

Oxford Professor of Practical Philosophy Janet Radcliffe-Richards takes us on a deep dive into the murky moral underworld of modern medicine.

 

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • What exactly doctors are experts in (and what they are not)
  • How medical practices have evolved, from Hippocrates to now
  • The incentives that prevent doctors from making good value judgements
  • How to rigorously respond to apparent ethical dilemmas
  • What actually happens at medical conferences
  • How to tell when somebody has died (almost)

 

As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

About the Instructor

  • Janet Radcliffe-Richards

    Janet Radcliffe-Richards is a British philosopher specialising in bioethics and feminism. She is the Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and is the author of several books including The Sceptical Feminist and The Ethics of Transplants.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: Ethics in Medicine
    Are today's doctors philosophically ill-equipped? What does this mean for the fate of their patients?
  • Part Two: Bodies and Body Parts
    Now our parts are useful to others as well as ourselves, how should we think about our bodies?
  • Part Three: Life and Death
    Medical science can no longer answer the question of when someone is dead. How should we deal with it?