University of Lübeck / MA program Infection Biology / Summer term 2019

Module No. PS4610 A
Ethics in Sciences

Teaching faculty: Prof. Dr. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter

Venue: Institut für Medizingeschichte und Wissenschaftsforschung, Königstraße 42, Lübeck

26 April, 9.15 – 16.00 h
03 May, 9.15 – 16.00 h
14 June, 9.15 – 16.00 h
21 June, 9.15 – 16.00 h


Day 1: Are there characteristics of infectious diseases that raise special ethical issues? Considerations of injustice and fairness

Chapter 2 in Selgelid et al. 2006: „Are there characteristics of infectious diseases that raise special ethical issues?“

Gry Wester: When are health inequalities unfair? (Public Health Ethics 11 (2018): 346-355)

Pdf is provided. Please read these texts beforehand; we’ll discuss them and develop the “IB topics of interest” for our bioethics course

Basics of ethics and bioethics (with case discussions)

Distribution of topics for short talks and papers


Day 2: Human experimentation and global health

Please read and make your own notes to the Helsinki Declaration (pdf is provided)

Ethics of human experimentation and clinical research

Global health, climate change, environmental impacts of disease prevention

Readings for day 3


Day 3: Scientists’ role and responsibility

Dual use research, biosafety, bioterrorism

Animal experimentation: ethical, psychological and legal aspects; research with human embryos and embryonic stem cells; biopatenting: organisms, drugs, genes

Readings for day 4


Day 4: Vaccination and Enhancement

Where to draw a line between vaccination and human enhancement? Is there a duty to vaccinate?

Should we genetically improve human embryos to make them more resistant?

Restricting liberties to make humans healthier? - Moral limits of health politics

Conclusions: key issues for an ethics of infectious disease



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