Website for 1Q, 2019–2020; last updated on September 5, 2019
Professor: Charles H. Pence
Course Time: (see schedule below!)
Course Details: 5.0 credits, 30.0h
In this course, we will consider the responsibilities of scientific researchers working on technologies of “dual use” – that is, those which have both a military and a civilian purpose. This will naturally touch on themes in the ethics of warfare and research ethics, and we will extend these to consider social epistemology, collective responsibility, and questions about regulation and policy.
Our main text will be the recent book Dual Use Science and Technology, Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction by Seumas Miller, who will visit campus for a journée d’étude in the spring.
The one required reading which you must purchase is the book itself:
Miller, Seumas. 2018. Dual Use Science and Technology, Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
All of the remaining readings will be posted electronically on the course readings website. The password for this website will be distributed via e-mail before the start of the course and in the first class session.
Final Paper OR Two Short Papers (50%): Students are free to prepare one of two major final assignments. Either a full research paper (of around a dozen pages) – particularly if you are interested in working more in this area in the future – or two shorter research papers (of around five to seven pages each). You are free to write in English or in French, though if you write in French I will not be able to provide commentary on the style or quality of your academic writing (e.g., if you would like to use this paper for admission to graduate programs).
If you would like to write a larger paper, I am happy to construct this paper in stages, working with you on an outline and offering comments on a draft version. The hope is to produce high-quality papers, suitable for submission to a graduate journal or a conference.
Some paper topics will be discussed over the course of the semester, but it will ultimately be your responsibility to select a topic in line with your interests. Students who select a paper topic that they genuinely enjoy almost always earn higher grades. Spend time thinking (and talking to me!) about how to connect our material to your various philosophical interests.
Journée d’Étude Presentation (20%): Prof. Miller will be joining us in May to talk about his work, and we will plan around his visit a day of talks and presentations, including presentations from you. Each student will be expected to seriously contribute, whether offering a research paper or a commentary on another student’s talk. We’ll discuss this further over the course of the class.
Participation and Attendance (30%): Students are expected to attend every session of the seminar and participate in in-class discussion of our readings and materials. Given the size of the course, I am hoping to foster a hybrid of a lecture and seminar format – only very briefly lecturing to present the material, and opening up to discussion. Our discussions will be where you really learn most of our material. Philosophy is learned by doing, and always best as a conversation. Everyone is thus expected to study the material and come prepared to discuss it.
this list remains incomplete; watch this space