PHEB608 Moral Problems in Medicine


The course begins with consideration of major problems, categories, arguments and paradigms in contemporary ethics. On this basis follows presentation of particular questions in contemporary medicine. Some of them – what is morally permissible in medical research, what are the criteria for just distribution of public resources, what are the guaranties for equal access to medical care – are problems of the health care systems as a whole. These problems have much in common with the social ethics. Another kind of questions originate from developments in medicine. Question of this kind are the problems of manipulation of human embryos, organ transplantation, brain death, assisted suicide, palliative care.

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Prof. Hristo Todorov, PhD

Course Description:


Successful graduates of the course students:

1) know:

• what is the place of moral problems in medicine;

• for what reasons and how emerge such problems.

2) can:

• formulate criteria for resolution of moral conflicts in medicine;

• understand the special moral obligations of medical personnel.

Students have knowledge and /or skills: basic knowledge in political philosophy.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. Ethics. Concept of morality.
  2. Good and Evil.
  3. Freedom of Will.
  4. Justification of morality.
  5. What is Utilitarianism?
  6. Written assignment.
  7. Principles of biomedical ethics.
  8. Tom Beauchamp, James Childress: “Principles of Biomedical Ethics”.
  9. Autonomy and justice as principles biomedical ethics.
  10. Patient rights.
  11. Moral problems in reproductive medicine.
  12. Brain death, moral problems in organ transplantation.
  13. Moral problems in Human enhancement.
  14. Moral problems in clinical research.
  15. Albert Johnson: “The Birth of Bioethics”.


Beauchamp, T., Childress: “Principles of Biomedical Ethics”, Oxford University Press 2012.

Blum, Lawrence: “Moral Perception and Particularity”, Cambridge University Press 1994.

Dworkin, Gerald: “Theory and Practice of Autonomy”, Cambridge University Press 1988.

Engelhardt, Jr., Tristram, H.: “The Foundations of Bioethics”, New York 1996.

Fisher, John Martin/ Ravizza, Mark: “Responsibility and Inevitability” – Ethics 101 (1991).

Foot, Philippa: Virtues and Vices, Oxford 1978.

Frankfurt, Harry: “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person” – The Journal of Philosophy 68 (1971).

Geach, Peter T.: “Good and Evil” – Analysis 17 (1956).

Habermas, Jurgen: “The Future of Human Nature”, Blackwell Publ. 2003.

Johnsen, Albert: “The Birth of Bioethics”, Oxford University Press 1998.

Johnsen, Albert: “A Short History of Medical Ethics”, Oxford University Press 2008.

McFall, Lynn: “Integrity” – Ethics 98 (1987).

Nagel, Thomas: “Hobbes’s Concept of Obligation” – The Philosophical Review 68 (1959).

Nagel, Thomas: “The Possibility of Altruism” – Princeton University Press 1970.

Sandel, Michael: “Public Philosophy”, Harvard University Press 2005.

Sandel, Michael: “The Case against Perfection”, Belknap Press 2009.

Scanlon, Thomas: “What We Owe to Each Other”, Press of Harvard University 2000.

Wildes, Kevin W.: “Moral Acquaintances. Methodology in Bioethics”, Notre Dame 2000.