Prerequisites: Member of Honors College
Adventures in the wilderness come in many forms: climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, whitewater rafting, backcountry skiing, scuba diving, and more. But how do we choose acceptable levels of risk when planning such encounters? How do we mitigate the risks we choose? And what decisions do we make when our priorities turn from fun to survival? Moreover, what motives and attitudes guide our own approaches to adventure in the first place? This course will examine the philosophical, ethical, and medical components of adventures in wilderness environments. Students will encounter fundamental ethical dilemmas in wilderness medicine and recreation through a variety of real-life case studies. To deepen students' background knowledge of these concepts, we will explore some of the technical aspects and philosophy on risk and risk-mitigation in outdoor adventures, with outstanding episodes and case studies examined as highlights of these concepts. In addition, the course will also ensure students understand basic concepts in wilderness medicine and survival in extreme environments, with a focus on trauma and musculoskeletal injury, heat injury, dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, altitude sickness, avalanche danger, dive medicine, and psychological considerations in survival situations. Philosophical and bioethical considerations will be woven throughout the length of the course, with special focus on basic ethical theory and concepts of autonomy, paternalism, and justice, the epistemology of risk management, and more.