Research on biosciences and biotechnologies has evolved hugely over the past decades. Biosciences and their novel applications have an enormous impact on today’s society, shaping our understanding of life, death, sickness, health and environmental sustainability. Stem-cell therapies, nanotechnology and the rise of other medical technologies make us re-examine our world-view and the very concepts of life. Likewise, the environmental crisis compels us to reconsider our relationship to nature.
Bioethics or the philosophical study of the ethical controversies created by such advances in biology and medicine is the focus of this Helsinki Summer School course. Bioethicists attempt to answer the ethical questions that arise in the relationships between life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, philosophy and theology.
Introduction to Bioethics leads the students to the history, theories and various approaches in what began as a bioethics movement and is now an academic discipline.
The course is also an introduction to medical, environmental and technological ethics as well as to ethical questions related to novel biotechnologies. The students will also study biolaw and its developments.
The course is designed for BA, MA and doctoral students. It is intended for students who can tie in bioethics with their primary field of study, such as philosophy, theology, ethics, medicine, biosciences, law or adjacent fields.
The course consists of lectures, case-based workshops, readings and a study journal to be completed during the course. Prior to the course, all students are asked to write an orientation paper (two to three pages) based on assigned texts.
The University of Helsinki has become a prominent centre for the study of bioethics, medical ethics and biolaw. Professor Jaana Hallamaa (social ethics) and Professor Raimo Lahti (biolaw) have led a research project on Towards a Sustainable Stem Cell Research Culture, funded by the Academy of Finland. The project has several postdoctoral researchers and PhD candidates, many of whom will be teaching the course together with Professors Hallamaa and Lahti and University Lecturer Pekka Louhiala, an internationally recognised scholar of medical ethics.
Please direct any questions concerning the content of this course to the Coordinator.
Any questions concerning the general arrangements (accommodation, scholarship, etc.) should be addressed to the Summer School’s office at summer-school(at)helsinki.fi
The closest accommodation option is Eurohostel, 15 min. from the course location on foot.
Learn what last year's students said about this course.
University of Helsinki, City Center Campus
This course is designed for BA, MA and doctoral students. It is intended for students who can tie in bioethics with their primary field of study such as philosophy, theology, ethics, medicine, biosciences, law or adjacent fields.