376-1661-00L  Ethics of Life Sciences and Biotechnology

SemesterHerbstsemester 2022
DozierendeA. Blasimme, E. Vayena
Periodizitätjährlich wiederkehrende Veranstaltung
KommentarNumber of participants limited to 100

KurzbeschreibungThis semester course enables students to recognize, anticipate and address ethical issues in the domain of health sciences and their technological application. The students will acquire the necessary theoretical and analytic resources to develop critical thinking skills in the field of applied ethics and will practice how to use such resources to address concrete ethical issues in health sciences
LernzielThis course is tailored to students who want to become familiar with the analysis of ethical issues in all the different domains of life sciences and biotechnology. The course aims at equipping students with the necessary knowledge and analytic skills to understand, discuss and address the ethical aspects of science and technology in the domain of human health. The specific learning objectives of this course are:

A. Identify ethical issues in in life sciences and biotechnology.
B. Analyze and critically discuss ethical issues in life sciences and biotechnology.
C. Become aware of relevant legal and public policy frameworks.
D. Distinguish different ethical approaches and argumentative strategies in applied ethics.
E. Recognize how ethical issues relate to different accounts of technology and innovation.
F. Develop a personal and critical attitude towards the ethical aspects of life sciences and their technological application.
G. Autonomously anticipate ethical issues.
H. Propose and communicate solutions to ethical challenges and dilemmas.
InhaltThe course starts off with an introductory lecture on ethics as a discipline and an overview of the most relevant approaches in the domain of applied ethics. The students will also be introduced to current theoretical accounts of technology and will start to appreciate the relevance of ethics especially with respect to new and emerging technologies. Usable analytic tools will also be provided, thus enabling the students to engage with the discipline in a practical way from the very onset of the semester.
The course will continue with thematic sessions covering a broad variety of topics all of which are relevant to the different study tracks offered by the department. In particular, the course will cover the following domains: digital health technologies and medical AI; food, nutrition and healthy longevity; biomedical engineering; genetics; neuroscience and Neurotechnologies; medical robotics; disability and rehabilitation; environmental ethics. The course will also include sessions on cross-cutting ethically relevant aspects of health sciences and technologies, namely: access to innovation, translational research, and the relation between science and public policy.
All the topics of the course will be illustrated and interactively discussed through many case studies, offering the students the opportunity to prepare and present them, and to use them in individual as well as group exercises. Throughout the course, the students will have multiple opportunities to experiment with ethical argumentation and to practice their evolving skills.