Ethics Matters in Science: Research Questions as Moral Questions
The seminar begins with three framework-setting sessions in which we'll work through the anchoring text for the course, Resnik's Ethics of Science, and complementary readings on the nature of ethics issues that arise in the sciences, the viability of the ideal that science should be “value free,” and ways of conceptualizing research integrity that takes seriously the social, normative contexts in which the sciences are practiced. The anchor for discussion in the sessions that follow will be three normative concepts that cross-cut research contexts--ideals of integrity, norms of consent, and an ethic of stewardship--and a high profile case (the H5N1 debate) that brings into sharp focus the broader social impacts and the global economic and ecological risks that come with the dramatically expanded capabilities of contemporary biological research (H5N1 debate).
Three public panel discussions sponsored by the Biological Futures project will address issues central to this seminar:
These sessions are scheduled on Mondays, 12:00 - 1:30, in the Simpson Center (CMU 202) . Attendance is recommended for seminar participants, and the panel proceedings will be available by podcast immediately after each session. The operating assumption in this seminar is that the background knowledge and perspectives you bring from your dif ferent fields of training and practice will be mutually illuminating; do please draw on your field-specific expertise in discussion and in as a basis for the assignments. The readings are intended to provide resources for discussing and analyzing ethics issues that arise in practice--hopefully some of them within your own areas of research interest--and the assignments are meant to provide a context in which to articulate responses to these issues in a nuanced, and ethically satisfying way.