Course code Filz5012

Credit points 2


Total Hours in Course80

Number of hours for lectures16

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes16

Independent study hours48

Date of course confirmation01.02.2017

Responsible UnitInstitute of Social Sciences and Humanities

Course developer

author Sociālo un humanitāro zinātņu institūts

Gunārs Brāzma

Dr. phil.

Prior knowledge

Filz1004, Ethics

Course abstract

Master students acquire knowledge of the ethical problems related to the development of biotechnology and biomedicine, knowledge of the approaches and problems of environmental ethics, and knowledge of the philosophical aspects of life sciences. The course promotes skills in analysing issues of practical ethics and analysing concrete cases. In addition to lectures the course includes studies of texts on the problems of practical ethics, discussions in seminars and presentations of students’ papers.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

1. Knowledge of the ethical problems related to the development of biotechnology and biomedicine, knowledge of the problems of environmental ethics, knowledge of the philosophical aspects of life sciences – final test.
2. Skills in formulating topical problems of bioethics and environmental ethics, analysing them, comparing views, suggesting solutions – student’s paper and presentation.
3. Competences to solve problems responsibly in the sphere of bioethics and environmental ethics, to evaluate knowledge and skills, to integrate them in further professional activity – discussions in seminars.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Bioethics and environmental ethics as the branches of practical ethics. Approaches of theoretical ethics: ethics based on absolute norms, utilitarianism, I. Kant’s ethics, virtue ethics. Interconnectedness of these approaches with practical ethics – 2h.
2. Ethical aspects of genetic modification. Food ethics.
3. Animals and ethics.
4. Theoretical approaches in environmental ethics.
5. Problems of environmental ethics.
6. Ethical problems related to the period of human prenatal development.
7. Human genetics and ethics.
8. Theoretical and practical problems related to defining of disease and normality.
9. Ethical problems related to the end of human life.
10. Life sciences and philosophical understanding of human beings. Neuroethics.
11. Research ethics.
12. Presentations of students’ papers. Final written test.

Requirements for awarding credit points

Scientific literature chosen by a lecturer must be studied and discussed during the seminars. Student’s paper must be elaborated and presented. Final test in the end of the course.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

1. The studies of scientific literature chosen by a lecturer for preparation of seminars’ topics. Seminars’ topics are the same as mentioned in the course plan (see above).
2. The student’s paper (at least 8 pages) and its presentation about the topic chosen by a student and accepted by a lecturer. The paper must be submitted in electronic and printed forms.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The grading of the study course is assessed as the arithmetic mean from three equally important components: 1) the assessment of seminars’ discussions based on the studies of scientific literature, 2) the assessment of student’s paper and its presentation, 3) the assessment of the final written test.

Compulsory reading

1. Praktiskā filosofija. Jelgava: LLU, 2008. 549 lpp.
2. Brāzma G. Bioētika: cilvēka dzīvības radīšana un pārtraukšana. Jelgava: LLU, 2010. 128 lpp.
3. Zinātnes filozofija. G. Brāzma ... [u.c.]; Latvijas Lauksaimniecības universitāte. Sociālo zinātņu fakultāte. Filozofijas katedra. Jelgava: LLU, 2011. 174 lpp.
4. Talbot M. Bioethics: an introduction. Cambridge; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012. 464 p.

Further reading

1. Goldeikrs B. Sliktā zinātne. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2016. 351 lpp.
2. Contemporary Debates in Bioethics. Ed. by Caplan A., Arp R. Wiley Blackwell, 2014. 521 p.
3. Environmental Ethics: what really matters, what really works. Ed. by Schmitz D., and Willott E. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Periodicals and other sources

1. Žurnāls Rīgas laiks. ISSN 1407-1622. Žurnāls „Rīgas laiks”. [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 03.03.2017.]. Pieejams: 2. Žurnāls Scientific American. ISSN 0036-8733. 3. | Where the World Finds Bioethics [tiešsaiste] [skatīts 03.03.2017.]. Pieejams: