Teaching Philosophy


published on April 28, 2022

Anna GotlibOrcid-ID, Ruth GroenhoutOrcid-ID

Fractured Epistemologies
Bioethics Pedagogy Meets Science Denialism

The COVID-19 pandemic and its conflict with science denialism raises the question of how philosophers teaching bioethics should respond to debates concerning truth, scientific evidence, and medical treatment raised by their students. We suggest that philosophical responses to the spread of serious disinformation in the health care context can be effectively explored in bioethics courses through discussions of informed consent, patient autonomy, the nature of scientific evidence, and moral responsibly for one’s views in ways that are especially important in the current pandemic era. Addressing these issues offers important epistemological grounding for students who will soon be making biomedical judgments and policies, as well as students who, like the rest of us, will be on the receiving end of those decisions. We argue that helping all of our students to understand the epistemological structures, and the moral consequences, of biomedicine and its detractors is a vital part of the professor’s responsibility.