Copernicus, Darwin, and the Human Genome Project|
Spring 2009 not offered
Much of art and philosophy is inspired by the question: What does it mean to be human? The project of science has provided rational explanations of human identity that threaten our self-perception as special beings - beginning with the Copernican revolution and discoveries about our unspecial place in the universe. In this course, we will discuss two other major paradigm shifts in human self-understanding arising from modern biological science. The first is the theory of evolution and the implications on our perception of the line between human and animal. The second is the Human Genome Project and the implications on our perception of the line between human and machine. As part of both discussions, we will consider how society negotiates with science as depicted in politics and popular art, ethical issues pertaining to the advancement of scientific (e.g., reproductive, genetic) technologies, and plausible resolutions to the tension between science and society that arise from a detailed understanding of the scientific method. Little or no background knowledge in science/biology will be assumed; however, this course will be conceptually challenging and cover a diverse set of complex topics.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (MB&B)
Approximately 1-3 articles/short essays per week as preparation for discussion topics (mandatory). Text book on reserve as needed for reinforcement of lecture topics (not mandatory).
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Two 5-page papers, mid-term test, final exam.
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