2016 Transdisciplinary studies 6:Longevity Society and Life

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Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Instructor(s)
Yamaguchi Yuki  Komada Masayuki  Murakami Satoshi  Hongoh Yuichi  Ichinose Hiroshi  Itoh Takehiko  Yumiyama Tatsuya 
Course component(s)
Lecture
Day/Period(Room No.)
Wed3-4(アイソトープ棟4階, 講義室)  
Group
-
Course number
LAH.T406
Credits
1
Academic year
2016
Offered quarter
3Q
Syllabus updated
2016/4/27
Lecture notes updated
2016/9/12
Language used
Japanese
Access Index

Course description and aims

This course is designed and delivered to cultivate the following abilities, attributes, and perspectives which are appropriate and required for those students who study at one of the top leading comprehensive universities of science and technology in Japan.
By the completion of this course, the students will have
1) the ability to recognize and explain the nature and broadening scope of certain fields and/or disciplines in science and engineering,
2) the ability to examine the ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications/Influences) of those fields and/or disciplines and what role they should play in society and for society,
3) the attitude to seek the broad and transdisciplinary perspectives on science and engineering, and
4) the ability to develop an attitude to examine one's own field of study with a multi-dimensional framework.

This course is designed, developed, and offered jointly by the respective School and the Institute for Liberal Arts.


Technological innovations in medical life sciences have made possible, at least at the laboratory level, various things that were mere imagination 30 years ago. However, legal, ethical, and social issues associated with these innovations have not been fully discussed. This course provides students the opportunity to learn, think, and debate various issues as follows:
• Should we say yes to modifying our germ cells using genome engineering technologies?
• Should mercy killing be legalized?
• Should research activities that could be diverted to biological weapons be regulated by the government?
• How should research on human cloning be dealt with?
• Should organ trade be banned even under mutual consent?
• How should we balance protection and utilization of personal genomic information?

Students should attend class 1, as they will be divided into debate teams. This course has a maximum capacity of students; all the students may not be able to register for the course.

The aims of this course are (1) to have a better understanding of ethical issues in modern medical life sciences and (2) to improve logical thinking and communication skills through a series of debates.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. have a better understanding of ethical issues introduced in the course and summarize the points of dispute.
2. make a logical and persuasive argument and rebuttal from both sides on ethical issues introduced in the course.

Keywords

debate, life science, ethics of life

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
- - -

Class flow

As with all the other courses in this category (400 Transdisciplinary Course), this course is offered in the "Active Learning" mode which requires students to take an active role in their own learning. Therefore, it is required to submit a summary report at the end of each session. (In case you are not able to attend a class, you should inform the instructor of your reason for absence in advance.) Class attendance is required and taken into account for grades.

In class 1, course outline and the rule and practice of debate will be explained. Students will be divided into teams, and debate schedule will be determined. In the subsequent classes, student teams will conduct debates on various subjects. For instance, dual-use technologies may be chosen as a subject, and the debate case may be "Research activities that could be diverted to the development of biological weapons should be regulated by the government." Since debate cases and debate schedule will be announced in class 1, student teams can, and should, investigate the issues and prepare for debate in advance.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Course outline. The rule and practice of debate. Team formation. Determination of debate schedule for the subsequent classes. Students should understand the rule and practice of debate and prepare for debate in the subsequent classes.
Class 2 Ethical issues in genetic research Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on ethical issues in genetic research.
Class 3 Various issues in modern healthcare Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on various issues in modern healthcare.
Class 4 Ethical issues associated with the use of microorganisms Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on ethical issues associated with the use of microorganisms.
Class 5 Ethical issues associated with reproductive medicine Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on ethical issues associated with reproductive medicine.
Class 6 Ethical issues associated with brain science Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on ethical issues associated with brain science.
Class 7 Ethical issues associated with personal genomic information Students should be able to summarize points of dispute and make a logical and persuasive argument from both sides on ethical issues associated with personal genomic information.
Class 8 Integrated issues Students should be able to make a logical and persuasive argument from comprehensive perspectives on ethical issues introduced in the course.

Textbook(s)

Not specified.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Not specified.

Assessment criteria and methods

For the credits of this course, as with all the other courses in this category (400 Transdisciplinary Course), students have to submit an original paper which addresses "the nature and scope" of the given field/discipline and its "social role." An important part of assessment is made on the quality of the paper. Details of the requirements of the paper will be explained in the first class meeting.

Students' course scores are based on whether they (1) gathered information and summarized the points of disputes prior to debates, (2) made a logical and persuasive argument and rebuttal in debates, and (3) were attentive for the rest of the class time.

Related courses

  • ZBA.A408 : Ethical, Legal and Social Issues on Biological Research

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

None required.

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