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CHB3100 - Bioethics, the human body and the international marketplace

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Linda Barclay


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


In this unit we discuss the ethical issues that arise with the commercialisation of the human body, in particular focusing on concepts of exploitation, commodification and coercion. Our central question is whether we have reasons to try and prohibit the commercialisation of the body or whether a regulated market in human body parts can promote ethically defensible outcomes. Specifically, we discuss gene patents, payments to research participants, research conducted in developing countries, organ and tissue sales, the selling of gametes and the implications for parenthood.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. familiarity with the major ethical concepts and arguments used in discussions of the commercialisation of the human body
  2. skills enabling them to critically analyse key ethical and policy issues related to these growing practices
  3. the ability to make informed judgements about those ethical and policy issues.


Exercise (500 words): 10%
Essay (2000 words): 40%
Exam (2 hours) : 50%
Students completing the unit at third-year level will be required to demonstrate independent research ability. To meet this requirement students must be able to exploit relevant resources which have not been mentioned in the subject handbook and lectures in completing their assignments, in particular the major essay.

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week


A first-year sequence including at least one of: CHB1010, CHB1020, PHL1010



Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at:

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