PHIL 304: Colloquium in Applied Ethics
Jeff Ramsey x3425
Department of Philosophy firstname.lastname@example.org
Dewey 12 Office Hours: M 10-12, TR 10:30-11:30
and by appt.
This course poses the following questions:
--What do we expect from scientific knowledge when it is used for policy?
--What can we expect from scientific knowledge when it is used for policy?
--What should we expect from scientific knowledge when it is used for policy?
This course is primarily an examination of the model used when policy makers, government officials, and scientists advocate scientific evidence and theories as relevant to a policy dispute. The course has two overlapping sections. First, we will examine the prevailing model of how scientific theories and evidence are used in policy matters. As we examine this model, we will survey its methodological and ethical strengths and weaknesses. Also, we will ask whether alternative models might be better. Second, we will examine how these issues play out in live matters of policy. As we learn the standard model, we will examine how scientists and policy makers judge that chemicals are hazardous to humans and/or the environment. Then, we will examine the controversies about agricultural biotechnology and global warming.
The perspective urged in this course is that scientific information is necessary to formulate many public policies, but it is not sufficient by itself. For example, we will examine how value decisions are inherent in the estimation of risk and the acceptance of data. Given this, it follows that the information alone is not sufficient. The point is not to ridicule science but rather to illustrate the idea that belief, even scientific belief, comes in degrees and levels. We must not ignore science, but we must not expect too much from it either.
This is not a course about “science policy.” That is, it is not a course about “how to grow good science” or a course devoted centrally to an examination of the people and institutions who make policy.
Required texts available at Grecourt:
1) Joseph Rodricks, Calculated Risks.
2) Packet of readings, available at Copy Cat Print Shop, 32 Pleasant St. (586-1332)
(hereafter referred to as P)
3) D. MacLean (ed), Values at Risk (hereafter referred to as V)
4) T. Glickman and M. Gough (eds), Readings in Risk (hereafter referred to as GG)
Suggested text available at Grecourt:
1) L. Newton and C. Dillingham, Watersheds 3: Classic Cases in Environmental Ethics.
Grading will be determined according to the following:
class presentations and discussion 30%
bibliography and draft 10%
final paper 40%
1. The mid-term will be a take-home essay exam.
2. Beginning Oct. 4, you will be responsible for presenting argument summaries and questions about the papers. In teams of 2, you will outline the arguments presented in the readings for that day and develop a set of questions that you think are raised by the papers singly or in concert with each other.
3. The paper is to be 12-20 pages in length and should examine some specific issue in health or environmental risk assessment. For instance, the paper might be an examination of some specific chemical and its effects on humans and/or the environment. The paper should incorporate class materials. You will present your paper in class during the last week of classes.
A preliminary bibliography for the paper is due no later than Tuesday, Nov. 20th. A draft of the paper is due no later than Tuesday, Dec. 4th. The final paper is due no later than 5 pm, Thursday, Dec. 20th.
Sept 6 Introduction
THE BASICS: THE STANDARD MODEL
11 Rodricks, Chs. 1-3
13 Rodricks, Chs. 4-5
18 Rodricks, Ch. 6
20 Rodricks, Ch. 7
25 Rodricks, Ch. 8-9
27 Rodricks, Chs. 10-12
Oct 2 NRC, Risk Assessment and Science and Judgment excerpts
4 Ruckelshaus (GG) and Weinberg (P)
9 NO CLASS – Autumn Recess
11 Silbergeld (P) and Jasanoff (P)
16 Nowotny (P) and Funtowicz and Ravetz (P)
18 P. Thompson (P) and Clark and Majone (P)
23 Starr (GG) and Hacking (V)
25 MID-TERM – Take home examination
30 Kelman and replies (GG) and Leonard and Zuckhauser (V)
Nov 1 NO CLASS – Otelia Cromwell Day
6 MacLean, “Risk and Consent” (Ch. 1 of V) and Sen (V)
8 MacLean, “Social Values” (Ch. 4 of V) and Gibbard (V)
Necessary background reading if you don’t know the biological basics:
B. Davis, “The Background” (on reserve)
13 Steinbrecher, “From Green to Gene Revolution” (P)
Krimsky, “Biotechnology Assessment” (P)
15 Kenny, “The Debate over the Deliberate Release of Genetically Engineered Organisms”
Hatch and Kuchler, “Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology”
Nov 20 Levidow, “Agricultural Biotechnology as Clean Surgical Strike”
Hollander, “Moral Responsibility . . .”
22 THANKSGIVING BREAK – NO CLASS
CASE STUDY 2: GLOBAL WARMING
Necessary background reading if you don’t know the physical basics:
Schneider, Global Warming, pp. 13-23 (on reserve)
27 Leggett, "The Worst Case" (P)
Singer, "Warming Theories Need Warning Label" (P)
Kellogg, “Response to Skeptics” (P)
29 Nordhaus, “Decision Analysis . . .” (P)
Jamison, “Ethics, Public Policy and Global Warming” (P)
Dec 4 Brunner, "Defining the Policy Problem" (P)
Skolnikoff, “Policy Gridlock . . .” (P)
6 Pielke, “Usable Information for Policy” (P)
Shackley and Wynne, “Integrating knowledges for climate change” (P)
11 STUDENT PAPER PRESENTATIONS
13 STUDENT PAPER PRESENTATIONS