Background and Resources

Subtopic 1: Ethics and Values

Activity 1.1

Activity 1.2

Activity 1.3

Subtopic 2: Bioethical Problems Identification

Activity 2.1

Activity 2.2

Activity 2.3

Subtopic 3: Methods and Strategies for Decision-Making

Activity 3.1

Activity 3.2

Activity 3.3

Module Summary

Developer Bio

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Critical Concensus

Concensus literally means agreement, but how that agreement comes about is often left to be expressed in terms that indicate it to be more a negotiated settlement, than mutual understanding. The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the idea that consensus comes about at the end of a critical process whereby the aim is to conceive the best answer, or solution possible. This view is one that is consistent with both the practical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and the definition of argument found in the writings of American philosopher Charles Peirce. From the perspective of Peirce, there is no difference between conceiving the details of an argument and reaching concensus.

Activity 3.3

This activity is seen as a way to introduce students to the idea of consensus building on issues where there is sharp division as to what is right and not-right in an ethical sense.


Students will take the issue of ADAP and consider it from the four critical principles of right found in Activity 1.3 under the subtopic Ethics and Values. These include autonomy, non-maleficience (not harmful), benificience (beneficial, less risky), and justiceThe class will be divided into four groups, with each group charged with evaluating the various opposing points of view on this issue according to one of these principles. For example, one group will look at the positions from the perspective of autonomy, one in terms of non-maleficience, etc. Points at which consensus may be built will be identified along with those which suggest no common ethical ground. Each group will then present their findings to the entire class for discussion.