Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

William J Winslade

Other faculty

Adjunct Professor

Contact

Biography

What happens in the courtroom, in the state legislature and in Congress affects what happens at the bedside, within families and between patients and their doctors. Philosopher, attorney and psychoanalyst Bill Winslade knows that. Holding dual appointments at the Institute for the Medical Humanities and the University of Houston's Health Law and Policy Institute, he uses the insights offered by the humanities to illuminate the issues that arise as our society tries to craft a health care system that balances access with available resources, technological progress with human values.

“One role of the medical humanities is to mediate among all of the different interest groups to make better laws, establish better public policy and protect the rights of individuals,” Winslade says. In addition to teaching graduate, medical and law students and serving on UTMB's Ethics Consultation Service, he collaborates with political leaders, government agencies and grassroots organizations to propose and evaluate new and better ways of preventing injury and illness and providing better care.

One area that has caught Winslade's attention is traumatic brain injury. Brain damage resulting from traffic accidents, falls, sports injuries and violence is the fourth greatest cause of death in the developed world; and the annual cost of treating and maintaining those disabled by such trauma runs in the billions in the United States alone. With the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, Winslade organized an international conference on permanently unconscious patients in Bellagio, Italy, in 1994. Hearing participants from Europe, Asia and North America discuss their countries' treatment policies strengthened Winslade's conviction that resources need to be shifted from patients who can't be helped to those who can: brain-trauma victims who, with proper rehabilitation, have a chance of recovering at least some ability to care for themselves and to interact with others.

“In this country, we're willing to spend money on rescuing people from the brink of death and even keeping them alive,” Winslade points out. “What we're not so great at is investing in restoring them to independence.”

Winslade argued this case persuasively in his third book, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury, published in 1998 by Yale University Press. And he went further, maintaining that society has an obligation to enact policies that curtail this waste of human life and potential. In his book and in frequent guest columns for newspapers including the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times, he recommends banning boxing (“the only sport in which the goal is to inflict brain injury on your opponent”), enacting bicycle and motorcycle helmet laws for adults as well as children, raising the driving age to at least 19 and requiring annual driving tests of everyone 65 and over.

His suggestions aren't always popular, but years of serving as an expert witness in court cases have taught Winslade to hold his ground.

“The overall goal of taking the medical humanities out beyond the ivy-covered walls is to educate the public on matters important to their health,” he explains. “We are experts who should be witnesses to the community. Our job is to help people find new ways of seeing, new ways of relating—to each other and to the challenges we all face.”

T C 357 • Law/Neuroethics/Brain Policies

43430 • Fall 2014
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CRD 007A
show description

Instructor: William Winslade, Adjunct Professor, Plan II Honors Program

 

Description:

Law, Ethics, and Brain Policy will cover legal and ethical aspects of brain injury (mental disorders, competency, and criminal responsibility), brain treatments (stem cell, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy), brain imaging (permanently unconscious patients and minimally conscious, lie detection), brain research, brain death policies, and the emerging field of neuroethics and law.

 

Texts/Readings:

  • William Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury: Devastation, Hope, and Healing 
  • Additional readings to be provide by the instructor

 

Requirements:

One 5 pp essay: 20%

One 20 pp research paper: 80%

 

T C 357 • Law/Neuroethics/Brain Policies

43495 • Fall 2013
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CRD 007A
show description

The course will cover legal and ethical aspects of brain injury (mental disorders, competency, and criminal responsibility), brain treatments (stem cell, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy), brain imaging (permanently unconscious patients and minimally conscious, lie detection), brain research, brain death policies, and the emerging field of neuroethics and law.

Texts/Readings:

  • William Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury:Devastation, Hope, and Healing 
  • Additional readings to be provide by the instructor

Requirements

One 5 pp essay:                    20%

One 20 pp research paper:    80%

 

About the Professor:

William J. Winslade teaches in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch and in the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.  He has a Ph.D. in philosophy (Northwestern), a J.D. (UCLA School of Law), and a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis (Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute). In addition to scholarship in bioethics and law, he writes books and op-ed articles for general readers.  He also serves as a medical ethics consultant for attorneys, hospitals, and patients. His hobbies include golf, basketball, running, and hiking. He also enjoys international travel, card games, and puns.

T C 357 • Law/Neuroethics/Brain Policies

43015 • Fall 2012
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CRD 007A
show description

The course will cover legal and ethical aspects of brain injury (mental disorders, competency, and criminal responsibility), brain treatments (stem cell, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy), brain imaging (permanently unconscious patients and minimally conscious, lie detection), brain research, brain death policies, and the emerging field of neuroethics and law.

Texts/Readings:

  • William Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury: Devastation, Hope, and Healing 
  • Additional readings to be provide by the instructor

Requirements

One 5 pp essay:                    20%

One 20 pp research paper:    80%

 

About the Professor

William J. Winslade teaches in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch and in the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.  He has a Ph.D. in philosophy (Northwestern), a J.D. (UCLA School of Law), and a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis (Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute). In addition to scholarship in bioethics and law, he writes books and op-ed articles for general readers.  He also serves as a medical ethics consultant for attorneys, hospitals, and patients. His hobbies include golf, basketball, running, and hiking. He also enjoys international travel, card games, and puns.

 

T C 357 • Medical Ethics In Real World

42895 • Fall 2011
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CRD 007A
show description

This seminar will combine discussion of theoretical issues in medical ethics (such as informed consent, treatment refusal, abortion, confidentiality, assisted suicide and euthanasia, and organ transplantation) with practical problems and actual cases drawn from the consulting experience of the professor and published cases in bioethics and legal literature. Contemporary bioethics, although only about forty years old, has grown and expanded rapidly. The seminar will begin with a discussion of the "birth of bioethics" in the 1960s and quickly move to current controversies. Each class will involve discussions of medical ethics issues in the light of key ethical principles, medical facts, legal rulings, and actual cases.

Readings

John Arras and Bonnie Steinbock, Ethical Issues in Modern MedicineWilliam J. Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury: Devastation, Hope, and HealingSupplementary handouts provided by the professor.

Requirements:

The course contains a substantial writing component. Each student will prepare a research paper (12-15 pages) on one of the major issues; the paper will be presented in the seminar. Each student will write one short (5 pages) analytic essay on a key concept in medical ethics or analyze a case illustrating the key concept.

About the Professor

William J. Winslade teaches in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch and in the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.  He has a Ph.D. in philosophy (Northwestern), a J.D. (UCLA School of Law), and a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis (Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute). In addition to scholarship in bioethics and law, he writes books and op-ed articles for general readers.  He also serves as a medical ethics consultant for attorneys, hospitals, and patients. His hobbies include golf, basketball, running, and hiking. He also enjoys international travel, card games, and puns.

T C 357 • Law, Ethics, And Brain Policy

42860 • Fall 2010
Meets M 1200pm-300pm CRD 007A
show description

Description:

Law, Ethics, and Brain Policy will cover legal and ethical aspects of brain injury (mental disorders, competency, and criminal responsibility), brain treatments (stem cell, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy), brain imaging (permanently unconscious patients and minimally conscious, lie detection), brain research, brain death policies, and the emerging field of neuroethics and law.

Texts/Readings:
William Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury: Devastation, Hope, and Healing
Additional Readings to be provided by the instructor

Requirements:
One 5 pp essay:  20%
One 20 pp research paper:  80%

About the Professor:
William J. Winslade teaches in the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch and in the Health Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.  He has a Ph.D. in philosophy (Northwestern), a J.D. (UCLA School of Law), and a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis (Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute). In addition to scholarship in bioethics and law, he writes books and op-ed articles for general readers.  He also serves as a medical ethics consultant for attorneys, hospitals, and patients. His hobbies include golf, basketball, running, and hiking. He also enjoys international travel, card games, and puns.

T C 357 • Law, Ethics, & Brain Policy-W

43800 • Fall 2009
Meets M 1200-300pm CRD 007B
show description

Syllabus
Law, Ethics and Brain Policy
TC 357
___________________________________________
 
Instructor:   William J. Winslade, Ph.D., J.D., Ph.D.
James Wade Rockwell Professor of Philosophy of Medicine, UTMB
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, UT Austin  
E-mail:  wwinslad@utmb.edu
  Phone:  832-545-6663
  
Office Hours:  By appointment
 
Course Overview:
 
August 31  Battered Brains (documentary);
   Read William J. Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury:  
Devastation, Hope, and Healing.
 
 September 7  Labor Day (no class)
 
 September 14  Read John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind, pp. 1-109, 
Chapter 1:  “What’s Wrong with the Philosophy of the Mind;”
 Chapter 2:  “The Recent History of Materialism:  The Same 
Mistake Over and Over;”
     Chapter 2 Appendix:  “Is There a Problem about Folk 
Psychology;”
     Chapter 3:  “Breaking the Hold:  Silicon Brains, Conscious 
Robots, and Other Minds;”
     Chapter 4:  “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature.”
 
September 21  Read John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind, pp. 111-126, 
Chapter 5:  “Reductionism and the Irreducibility of 
Consciousness.”
 
September 28   Read John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind, pp. 151-126, 
Chapter 7:  “The Unconscious and Its Relation to 
Consciousness;”
Chapter 8:  “Consciousness, Intentionality, and the 
Background;”
Chapter 9:  “The Critique of Cognitive Reason.”
 
 October 5  Read Judy Illes, ed., Neuroethics:  Defining the Issues in Theory, 
Practice, and Policy, pp. v-xvi; 3-86,
Foreword by Colin Blakemore; Foreword by Arthur L. 
Caplan; and Preface;

Chapter 1:  “Moral Decision-Making and the Brain;”
     Chapter 2:  “A Case Study in Neuroethics:  the Nature of  
Moral Judgment;”
     Chapter 3:  “Moral and Legal Responsibility and the New 
Neuroscience;”
     Chapter 4:  “Brains, Lies, and Psychological Explanations;”
     Chapter 5:  “Being in the World:  Neuroscience and the 
Ethical Agent;”
Chapter 6:  “Creativity, Gratitude, and the Enhancement 
Debate.”
 
October 12  Read Judy Illes, ed., Neuroethics:  Defining the Issues in Theory, 
Practice, and Policy, pp. 87-148,
     Chapter 7:  “Ethical Dilemmas in Neurodegenerative 
Disease:  Respecting Patients at the Twilight of 
Agency;”
Chapter 8:  “From Genome to Brainome:  Charting the 
Lessons Learned;”
Chapter 9:  “Protecting Human Subjects in Brain Research:  
a Pragmatic Perspective;”
Chapter 10:  “Facts, Fictions, and the Future of 
Neuroethics.” 
 
October 19   Read Judy Illes, ed., Neuroethics:  Defining the Issues in Theory, 
Practice, and Policy, pp. 149-241,
Chapter 11:  “A Picture is Worth 1000 Words:  But which 
1000;”
Chapter 12:  “When Genes and Brains Unite:  Ethical 
Implications of Genomic Neuroimaging;”
Chapter 13:  “Engineering the Brain;”
Chapter 14:  “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and the 
Human Brain:  an Ethical Evaluation;”
Chapter 15:  “Functional Neurosurgical Intervention:  
Neuroethics in the Operating Room;”
Chapter 16:  “Clinicians, Patients, and the Brain.”
 October 26   Read Judy Illes, ed., Neuroethics:  Defining the Issues in Theory, 
Practice, and Policy, pp. 245-320,
Chapter 17:  “The Social Effects of Advances in 
Neuroscience:  Legal Problems, Legal Perspectives;”
Chapter 18:  “Neuroethics in Education;”
Chapter 19:  “Poverty, privilege, and brain development:  
Empirical Findings and Ethical Implications;”
Chapter 20:  “Religious Responses to Neuroscientific 
Questions;”
Chapter 21:  “The Mind in the Movies:  a Neuroethical 
Analysis of the Portrayal of the Mind in Popular 
Media.”
 
November 2   Student Presentations
 
November 9   Student Presentations
 
 
November 16   Student Presentations
 
 
November 23   Student Presentations
 
 
November 30   Student Presentations
 
 
Requirements:
 
1. Book review from a list of recommended books on the brain (30% of the grade).
2. Seminar paper and oral presentation (60% of the grade).
3. Class participation (10% of the grade).
4. No final examination.
 
Required Texts:  
 
1. William J. Winslade, Confronting Traumatic Brain Injury:  Devastation, Hope, and
Healing;
2. John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind;
3. Judy Illes, ed., Neuroethics:  Defining the Issues in Theory, Practice, and Policy;
4. Supplemental readings to be provided.
 
 
Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the
Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities,
471-6259.

bottom border