2019 Transdisciplinary studies 6:Longevity Society and Life

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Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Instructor(s)
Yamaguchi Yuki  Kawana Shinji  Kimura Hiroshi  Murakami Satoshi  Wakabayashi Ken-Ichi  Kume Shoen  Nikaido Masato  Kajikawa Masaki 
Course component(s)
Lecture
Day/Period(Room No.)
Wed3-4(G511)  
Group
-
Course number
LAH.T406
Credits
1
Academic year
2019
Offered quarter
3Q
Syllabus updated
2019/11/26
Lecture notes updated
2019/9/12
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 organ trade be banned even under mutual consent?
• Should the government regulate research activities that could be diverted to biological weapons?
• Should mercy killing be legalized?
• Should we say yes to modifying germ cells using genome engineering technologies to cure genetic diseases?
• Should the government regulate "human enhancement" without any aim to treat illness and disability?
• Should data use and publication of personal genome be left to his/her discretion?

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 Various issues in modern healthcare 1 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 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 various issues in modern healthcare.
Class 4 Various issues in modern healthcare 2 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 Various issues in modern healthcare 3 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 Various issues in modern healthcare 4 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.

Textbook(s)

Not specified.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Not specified.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' course scores are based on the quality of your debate team (50 points in total), the quality as a chair and a time-keeper (8 points in total), and the quality of reaction papers you are asked to submit at the end of each class (7 points x 6). The quality of debate is judged based on whether you (i) gathered information and summarized the points of disputes prior to debates, (ii) made a logical and persuasive argument and rebuttal in debates, and (iii) were good at verbal and non-verbal communication.

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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