Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Human Bioethics


Associate Professor Justin Oakley



  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit examines key philosophical issues and concepts in contemporary applied ethics, focusing on more advanced philosophical discussions in this area. The unit considers issues and concepts in ethical debates about the beginning and the end of life, such as the status of human life, persons, and potential persons, along with acts and omissions, the doctrine of double effect, and personal identity questions raised by advance directives. The unit also investigates conceptual and ethical issues raised by debates about genetic interventions and access to assisted reproduction, such as the nature and moral significance of eugenics, disability, and wrongful life, and notions of parenthood.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. familiarity with key philosophical issues and concepts in contemporary applied ethics
  2. skills enabling them to critically analyse contemporary debates in applied ethics which depend on such issues and concepts
  3. the ability to make informed judgments about those ethical and conceptual issues.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. As this is a third-year level unit, it is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two second-year level units in Bioethics or Philosophy.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: