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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Clinical Bioethics - Life Decisions -

Ms. Kozue Iizuka
3rd year Student at the School of Human Sciences

If someone that you love was told that they have only half a year left to live, or if you knew that your unborn child had a disability, what would you think and feel at the end of your suffering, and what kinds of decisions would you make? Modern people are prone to shutting our eyes to these kinds of "life decisions". However, any human being has the possibility of being confronted with the kinds of situations which were raised above. Furthermore, since death comes to us all, it is not possible for us to ignore these kinds of decisions. In the Clinical Bioethics class which I will now introduce, consideration is given to a variety of logical problems associated with life itself.

In the class, Professor Tsuchida first provides an easy to understand explanation including basic knowledge and background of the issues. After the explanation, students view a short narrative that is based upon the professor's lecture. These narratives have a special feature. None of the stories have an ending prepared. The narratives end with extremely serious problems left unsolved, and we are unable to know what kind of decision was finally made at the end of the narrative. In other words, we ourselves must make the decision. Each time, we are made to think very deeply about the contents of the narrative, and the classroom is filled with a hushed silence when viewing is finished. Perhaps each one of us is absorbed in our own deep feelings.

There is no such thing as a correct answer in bioethics. Professor Tsuchida has said that this academic discipline does not seek answers, but obtains its meaning from people contemplating to arrive at better ways of thinking. I believe that this contemplation is one of the appeals of this academic discipline.

Presently, in a time when medical technology is rapidly advancing, views on life and death are becoming increasing vague. However, there is no way that we can escape from making these life decisions. Participation in this class presents an opportunity to directly confront the issues of life and death.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)