Biosciences Technology and Society
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- 27 Feb 2023
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- Investigate the ways in which biological sciences embody social values and inform individual and societal decisions.
- Critically reflect on readings in the area to grapple with issues concerning concerning biology, society, and values.
- Analyse the social dimensions of biological theories, practices and technologies.
- Critique the ways that science both reflects and impacts the societies we live in.
- Implement active learning strategies to act as self directed learners.
- • Science, sex and gender.
- • Science and race.
- • Eugenics.
- • Concepts of disease, mental illness, disability.
- • Ethics and genetic screening.
- • Ethics of neuroenhancement.
- • Transhumanism.
Past La Trobe University students who have previously completed PHI2BTS (Biosciences Technology and Society) are ineligible to enrol in this subject.
No additional requirements
This subject focuses on ethical and philosophical issues that arise in the biological sciences, including the medical and health sciences, and the technologies they employ. Scientific disciplines, the biosciences are committed to objectivity and neutrality, but also interact with categories that are socially coded such as race, gender, and disability. Concepts such as health and disease can be understood as natural, biomedical concepts, but also as evaluative concepts that play social roles; and biological conceptions of intelligence, mental illness or disability can be even more contentious. Further, technological advances give us new ways to change human beings, some of which are seen as improvements or enhancements. In examining a series of topics, including race science, eugenics, intelligence, disease, disability, and bioenhancement, you will learn how to critically examine the role of social processes and values in the biosciences, and of the biosciences in society.
- Short responses (5 x 250 words, for a total of 1250 words). Students will submit 5 short responses to set weekly questions relating to that week's material. Students can choose to respond in any 5 of the 12 weeks of semester. (35%)
- Op ed (750 words). Students will write a short piece in the style of an 'op ed' or opinion piece examining an ethical or social issue related to the material from weeks 1-4. Students will have a choice of topics assigned by the instructor. (20%)
- Long essay (1750 words). Students will write a research essay on the material from weeks 5-12. At least three topics will be assigned by the instructor; each student will choose one of these to write on. (45%)
Current study term: 26 Feb 23 to 26 May 23
Textbook information is pending.