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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laura J. Harkewicz
BIS 293
Bothell Campus

Special Topics

Examines different subjects or problems from an interdisciplinary framework.

Class description

Is mutating a flu virus in the laboratory to develop a potential vaccine good science or a public health hazard? Does competition between scientists lead to better scientific outcomes or stimulate misconduct? Do scientists have an obligation to how their research is used or only to the work itself? In this course we will investigate these questions and many more. We will explore the ethics of science & scientific research - with an emphasis on the non-medical sciences. This course will provide a foundation for thinking about & recognizing the ethical dimensions of a variety of issues. We will become familiar with current ethical debates in a range of scientific fields. Topics will include: misconduct in research, conflicts of interest & scientific objectivity, publication & peer review, intellectual property, and ethical decision-making. Students will engage these issues with the help of philosophical tools, apply these tools to case studies, and be challenged to think broadly about the role of scientists in society as well as learn how to critically assess the ethical consequences of science for humankind.

Student learning goals

Students will learn key philosophical concepts related to responsible conduct of research.

Students will develop familiarity with current debates in, and case studies of, ethical issues in non-medical scientific research.

Students will acquire skills to describe and explain the rationale behind ethical positions.

Students will practice thinking philosophically about real-world ethical issues/challenges in scientific research.

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on the responsibilities that natural and social scientists, research subjects, and citizens jointly share for the wise direction and use of research.

Students will demonstrate mastery of the objectives noted above orally, in written form, and in constructive debate.

General method of instruction

Lecture, small and large group discussion.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites for this course. In order to succeed in this course, however, you must be capable of reading, comprehending, and writing about scholarly work in the social sciences and humanities.

Class assignments and grading

Reader response papers, oral position presentation, paper presentation, final exam.

See above and course website (TBA).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Laura J. Harkewicz
Date: 11/11/2013