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Nature, science and the human knowledge, power and freedom to act for better or for worse: this is the domain of bioethics.

As humanity's understanding of the natural world's organic elements and living systems increases, our range of possible choices of action within organic nature also increases.

Recent developments in genetic engineering, food production, and medicine have prompted huge, international public controversies, protests and inquiries by governments into our relation with and our effects on the biological world. Thus the role of the bioethicist is large in scope, and is gaining in relevance and importance for today's world.

The role of the bioethicist is not limited to ensuring that the choices and actions selected from the range of possibilities are the right ones based upon acceptable social values and scientific knowledge.

The bioethicist also defines such values, and the means or methods by which such definitions are determined in light of reputable science, as well as defending the claims made regarding these.

As human life itself relies on the biological world for its own survival the necessity of having women and men trained in the issues surrounding bioethics is paramount, perhaps for the first time in the history of human civilization.

The anchor course for this stream is Philosophy 2553, a course in the contemporary issues series which explores bioethics.