"Health has replaced salvation," wrote the 19th-century philosopher of medicine Josť Miguel Guardia. This course will examine the increasing importance that health, medicine, biotechnology, and health care systems have taken in contemporary societies. Dramatic changes in medicine allow us to prolong life and treat disease in previously unimaginable ways, even as these same changes open the door to new forms of exploitation, violence, racism, and oppression in the name of medicine itself. Our goal will be to grasp the ethical and philosophical significance of these contradictions. We will begin by examining some of the most prominent medical abuses of the 20th-century, including the Tuskegee syphilis trials and the lingering effects of eugenics and Social Darwinism. Then we will consider the mainstream response in U.S. ethics to these abuses--the creation and institutionalization of the discipline of bioethics--and the critics of this response. From there, we will reflect on the limits of the bioethics approach in light of the current global crises of health, life, and medicine. Readings will include selections from philosophical bioethics (including continental approaches, such as Canguilhem, Foucault, and Fanon), the history of medicine, the social sciences, and current journalism.