Ethical Issues and Human Ageing

crosslisted DP9633C and DS9633C

Rev. Dr Laurence McNamara CM
Not offered in 2020
Australians are living longer and our society is an ageing society. This unit will explore a range of ethical issues arising from the ageing of the individual person as well as that of an ageing society. Among the issues to be considered will be:
  • Transitions: into retirement; downsizing; high care;
  • Tensions: between health and lifestyle; living with limits, disability, and dementia; questions of identity, sexuality, and ethnicity;
  • Contexts: involving family, relationships and friends; society; church;
  • Meanings: experiences of life, death, grief; pain and suffering; choices about care at the end of life
The thinking of Catholic moral theology will be the basis from which an analysis of the issues will proceed.  




intensive mode: 9.00am — 3.30pm


  • four 1,500-word analysis papers 4 x 25%


  • Holstein, Martha B., Jennifer A. Parks, Mark H. Waymack, eds. Ethics, Ageing, and Society: The Critical Turn. New York: Springer, 2011.
  • Jecker, Nancy S., ed. Aging and Ethics: Philosophical Problems in Gerontology. Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics and Society. Clifton, NJ: Humana, 1992.
  • Jeffery, Peter. Going Against the Stream: Ethical Aspects of Ageing and Care. Leominster: Gracewing, 2001.
  • Moody, Harry R. Aging: Concepts and Controversies. 2nd ed. Sociology for a New Century. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge, 1998.
  • Moses, Sarah M. Ethics and the Elderly: The Challenge of Long-Term Care. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015.
  • Post, Stephen G. The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.