Biolaw, New Technologies and Society

Course leader: Dr Erick Valdés

Home institution: Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Colombia


Course pre-requisite(s): None

Course Overview

Specificity and singularity of bioethical and biojuridical problems, arisen by virtue of biotechnological advancements, call for specific norms, well defined deliberative criteria, and theoretical and procedural guidelines (principles) to give content to biomedical action and, in that fashion, to carry it out with hope but also with precaution. On the one hand, bioethics is not only a new theoretical perspective to deliberate on complex moral scenarios arisen by virtue of biomedical and biotechnological empowerment but also and very especially it implies a set of procedural rules to guide decision-making in a completely new ethical arena. However, bioethics has not been exempt from criticism and its principles' epistemological and methodological scope is still profusely discussed. Thus, in the first part of the course, students will learn the main elements of the origins, foundations and problems of bioethics as well as will be able to deliberate, in a critical and impartial way, on controversial bioethical issues still unresolved. On the other, biolaw provides deliberative and normative criteria to address the problem of which biomedicine’s limits and scopes should be. The second part of the course aims to critically analyze the epistemological and methodological development of European Biolaw, by proposing a new definition for the discipline as well as extending and enhancing deliberative criteria for the solution of biolegal problems. Finally, we will justify a new biojuridical approach of new problems arisen in biomedical field as well as to recognize new ethical-juridical categories to identify new subjective individual rights related to genetic and biomedical practices which we will call “biorights”.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Course, the student will be able to: • Understand and apply in the academic and professional spheres the main epistemological and methodological facets of Biolaw. • Distinguish clearly the differences between bioethics and biolaw, as well as to understand the fields of development and normative dimensions of both disciplines. • Be aware of the latest advances in contemporary bioscience and genetics and be able to apply a new legal model for their understanding. • To generate research and extension of quality in the biojuridic field, of international impact and projection. • Project a strategic and future vision to independently continue the study, deepening and interdisciplinary projection of biolaw. • Promote and lead reflection on the main ethical, legal, biomedical, social, political and cultural elements that shape the main interests of the public space in this matter. • Impact on the identification and joint construction of new codes of social understanding and coexistence that optimize and develop the communicative and critical reason of the citizens regarding biosciences. • Act creatively before the problems related to the application of new genetic techniques on human individuals, and to be able of providing solutions and answers to the urgent ethical and legal problems that bioscientific empowerment poses to Europe and the entire world.

Course Content

Part One: Bioethics Bioethics and Biolaw Origins of Bioethics The Belmont Report Reasoning on Biomedical Issues Principlism and Morality Principles of Biomedical Ethics: Respect for Autonomy and Non Maleficence Principles of Biomedical Ethics: Beneficence and Justice

Part Two: Biolaw The Idea of European Biolaw: Basic Principles Justification of European Biolaw Biolaw: Conceptions, Sources and Principles Biolaw and Human Rights Criminal Regulation of Genetic Manipulation in Europe Embryo Status Genetic Edition (CRISPR-Cas9) Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Procreative Beneficence

Instructional Method

Lectures Analysis of Practical Scenarios Practical Workshops

Required Course Materials

Only one book (copies will be provided): Erick Valdés (ed.). Biolaw for the Twenty. First Century. Building Answers for New Questions.


The only mean of evaluation will be two group presentations. One on the first part of the course, and the other on the second part.