• Description:

    Cross-listed w/10:652:301:01

    (F. Barchi) It is a truism that contemporary society is undergoing transformation driven by what can seem to be vertiginous changes not only in technology and in the dominant economic models, but in the culture that responds to both. What is less discussed, but no less clear is that these developments present profound challenges for our ability to think critically about fundamental issues involving our changing human enterprises and the ethical choices they lead us to confront. Specifically, the changes in the scientific enterprise can appear to be so rapid that they are bound to outrun our ability to think critically about what is right and what is wrong, and more generally, what outcomes we should value as individuals and as members of a society.

    This course provides an opportunity for students with a basic understanding of biomedical and biobehavioral ethics and their role in shaping health policy to explore four key emerging issues – ‘hot topics’- in these fields:

    • The quest for health and perfection: Gene editing, gene drives, and the age of personalized medicine
    • Moral dimensions of climate change
    • ‘What’ or ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ does it matter? Robots, robotics, and the era of artificial intelligence
    • ‘None of your business?’: Privacy and the public good in an era of big data

    Each of these topics will be explored in a ‘deep dive’ during the semester, drawing on scholarly academic work, mainstream coverage of related current events, reports, records of public hearings, and popular videos. As part of this course, students will prepare an in-depth case analysis for each topic and participate in assigned in-class debates.

  • Credits: 3
  • Sample Syllabus
  • Syllabus Disclaimer: The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (e.g. Canvas) on the first day of class.