Spring 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
The ever-accelerating growth of science and technology present possibilities both exciting and frightening, among them a myriad of ways that we can and might technologically extend and enhance our abilities and ourselves. Cyborgs are no longer the stuff of science fiction, but are now the realm of human reality and short-term possibility. We face issues of modifying our bodies and minds through prosthetics, implants, drugs; we are faced with questions about genetic testing, prenatal screening, and perhaps designer babies. Can we push towards human perfection? Should we even try? In this course, we will focus on ethical and philosophical understanding, reflection, and evaluations of scientific research and technological innovation related to human enhancement.
This course is integrated with the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology's Spring Lecture Series: Exploring Human Enhancement. Students will be required to attend three Wednesday evening lectures. They will also have the opportunity for focused meetings with the speakers, and will present their work at the Center for Values' first annual symposium.
* Weston, A Practical Companion to Ethics
* Kitcher, The Lives to Come
* Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
* Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs
* Gattaca (movie)
* Godfrey-Smith, Theory and Reality
* Dusek, Intro to Philosophy of Technology
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
* Attending Center for Values lectures (on Wednesday evening, 3 times during the semester).
* Periodic blog posts.
* A research paper on the topic of the seminar.
* A poster-presentation at the Human Enhancement Symposium (April 8-9).
* Class attendance and participation.