PHIL 217

PHIL 217: Biology, Society, and Values
Instructor: Edwin Etieyibo

Course Description

Why have the sciences, especially the biological and biomedical sciences, such a privileged status in society? What interplay with social values has supported this? What conflicts with social values explain the rise of social distrust in these sciences? How do these sciences shape our views of our own bodies and our own lives? 

In this course, you will learn to reflect systematically and critically on the biological and biomedical sciences’ influence on other social institutions and, conversely, on the way these sciences are influenced by social norms and values. You will learn to identify, assess, and take a stand with regard to central issues that arise in the context of the privileged status of the biological and biomedical sciences and the scientific grip on human lives.

Issues discussed in the course include: roles of the biological and biomedical sciences in the ‘normalization’ of bodies, construction of disabilities, perceptions of sanity/insanity, and eugenics.

This course is an elective for the Science, Technology, and Society program (STS). It is also one of the “Natural Science” options for Elementary Education students and for students in Secondary Education with General Science or Biological Sciences as a major or minor teaching subject. It is also a great course for students majoring in the Biological Sciences or in Psychology.

There are no prerequisites for this course. No text book is required, all assigned readings will be made available on eClass.

To learn more about the course, watch this short video.

To enroll, log in to beartracks, click on “Fall Term 2021” and search for “PHIL 217”