This course will focus on a distinctively Thomistic approach to bioethics and the resources that Aquinas’s natural law theory and metaphysics may provide in addressing some of the most important contemporary bioethics issues.The first part of the course will focus on the foundations and principles of Thomistic ethical theory through a selection of Thomistic primary texts as well as secondary sources such as Ralph McInerny's Ethica Thomistica and Jason Eberl's Thomistic Principles and Bioethics.In the second part of the course we will turn to a careful examination of several of the most important and difficult controversies in contemporary Catholic Bioethics: the moral status of zygotes, embryos, fetuses, and anencephalic infants, embryonic stem cell research, ANT-OAR, vital conflicts, embryo adoption and transfer, artificial wombs, life-saving interventions, genethics, designer children, human enhancement, neuroethics, issues at the end of human life, the ordinary/extraordinary means distinction, artificial hydration and nutrition, euthanasia, organ donation, complicity in evil, conscientious objection, and health care law and policy.
Dr. Timothy J. Furlan is currently Burnett Family Distinguished Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethical Leadership at the University of St Thomas in Houston, TX. He previously studied the classical liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College before going on to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago (M.A.), the Universite de Paris IV (Sorbonne) and Trinity College Dublin (Ph.D). During this doctoral studies he also held visiting fellowships in Fribourg (Swiss Confederation Scholar), Munich, and Athens.
More recently, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School, editor of the Harvard Bioethics Journal, and received his masters degree in bioethics (summa cum laude) from Harvard Medical School in 2019.
He was previously a visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Xavier University and Boston College where he taught a wide range of courses and led study trips to Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, Ireland, Paris, and along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.