Postgraduate Course: Public Health Ethics (LAWS11469)
|School||School of Law
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Public health ethics presents us with various kinds of ethical questions and tensions. What kind of good is public health? How do we address population-based health and social inequalities? What kind of measures can be ethically justified in the context of a public health emergency? Can individual liberty be curtailed for the sake of preventing harm, or for the sake of fairness?
Public health is committed to promoting and securing health at the population level, often in the context of limited resources. This entails establishing interventions and policies that require justification and therefore can be subject to ethical scrutiny. Public health measures endorse values and interests that can, at times be at odds with each other, or with other deeply held values in society. Advancing the health of a population also requires the intervention of state and institutional actors, just as it requires collective action. It is an endeavour which results in decision-making and action at various institutional levels and social spheres, giving rise to interesting and at times, difficult ethical questions.
This course explores public health ethics through the lens of social justice (distributive justice, relational justice, structural and epistemic injustice). It does so in conversation with other key concerns of public health (e.g.: efficiency, welfare maximisation, individual liberty) and key concepts (e.g. equality, responsibility, vulnerability, collective action, solidarity).
The foundational concepts and key framings will be explored through their application to current public health topics (e.g. infectious diseases, global health emergencies, smoking, nutrition, vaccination, sexual health).
Students will have the opportunity to apply the skills of ethical reasoning to a variety of current topics and policies through discussion, writing and case studies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Summative Assessment Information:
- 2,500 word essay (60%)
- Contribution to class discussions and to online case discussion forum (40%)
||Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.
Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.
Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.
Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the principal concepts, theories, and methods of ethical reasoning and argumentation related to various public health topics.
- Identify, conceptualise and analyse ethical problems and issues arising in public health, public health policies and interventions.
- Communicate ethical ideas and positions, appropriately and effectively, using a variety of methods, and to a range of audiences, taking into account the complex and sensitive nature of many public health topics.
|There will be no set text for this course, but reading lists are likely to include:|
Anna Mastroianni, Jeffery P. Kahn, Nancy E. Kass, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics, (OUP, 2010).
Angus Dawson, ed., Public Health Ethics (CUP, 2011).
Faden, Ruth, Justin Bernstein, and Sirine Shebaya, "Public Health Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
Madison Powers and Ruth Faden, Structural Injustice: Power, Advantage and Human Rights (OUP 2019).
Madison Powers and Ruth Faden, Social Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy, (OUP, 2006).
John Coggon, Keith Syrett, A. M. Viens, Public Health Law: Ethics, Governance, and Regulation (Routledge, 2016)
Lawrence O. Gostin, Global Health Law (HUP, 2014).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Knowledge and Understanding:
Demonstrate critical understanding of the principal concepts, theories, and methods of ethical reasoning and argumentation related to various public health topics.
Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry:
Identify, conceptualise and analyse ethical problems and issues arising in public health, public health policies and
Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations characterised by dilemmas and diverse interests, values, policies and institutions.
Skills and Abilities in Communication:
Communicate ethical ideas and positions, appropriately and effectively, using a variety of methods, and to a range of audiences, taking into account the complex and sensitive nature of many public health topics.
|Keywords||LLM,Medical Law,Ethics,Level 11,Postgraduate,Law,Public Health
|Course organiser||Dr Agomoni Ganguli Mitra
|Course secretary||Miss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386