CC 300 A: Science, Technology, and Society

3 Credits 
MWF 1:30-2:20 pm – Professor Puffer

What are the origins, purposes, and limits of science and technology? Science and technology (including natural and social sciences, as well as engineering and medicine) have so shaped modern society that we live at a time unprecedented in its potential for human flourishing and its vulnerability to violence and suffering. Today, human beings can harness atomic and solar energy, edit the human genome, engineer new species, change the global climate, and manipulate society through social media. As he witnessed the rapid acceleration of society’s scientific and technological capacities half a century ago Martin Luther King, Jr. saw that moral and social progress were not keeping pace: “We have guided missiles and misguided men.” The interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, & Society emerged in response to this and similar challenges for the sake of both the common good and future generations. In this course students will be introduced to historical challenges, influential interdisciplinary studies, and complex ethical considerations that inform the field of Science, Technology, & Society. We will examine cases from diverse STEM fields in order to develop ethically-informed approaches to scientific research and cross-disciplinary applied projects. Readings, discussions, and assignments will invite students to broaden their understandings of vocation and professional responsibilities beyond the merely technical to moral domains encompassing multiple disciplinary perspectives, diverse values, and a range of views about what makes for a good and just society. *This course satisfies the College of Engineering’s GE312 (Ethical Decisions in Engineering) requirement.

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