ALS 341: BioIndustry Ethics & Society
Course Number: ALS 341
Course Name: BioIndustry Ethics & Society
No. Units: 1.5
Faculty/Instructor(s): Jeffrey D. Smith
As leaders of tomorrow's bioscience industry, KGI graduates will be at the forefront in the development of new diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices - and will be confronted with ethical issues concerning the research, development, marketing and sale of related products. Stakeholders in the companies our students will lead - including clinical trial participants, patients, partners, employees, investors, activist groups, and the media - will be paying close attention to the ethical behavior of those companies and their leaders. Conflicts will continue to exist, between those who support freewheeling scientific exploration, and those who fear the consequences of unfettered scientific inquiry. Undoubtedly, the debate surrounding the moral dimension of bioscience will continue, and increase. It will be increasingly important for bioscience leaders to consider the ethical ramifications of their work.
A variety of readings assigned by the instructor and/or guest speakers will be made available on the course website.
In this 7-week course, we will cover a number of ethical and broader social issues related to bioindustry, with the goal of familiarizing students with up-to-date thinking on these issues. One core theme throughout the course will be the ethical and social challenges raised by the burgeoning science of genetics-treatments for genetic diseases, medical device development, agricultural biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals marketing. We will also pursue themes related to other biomedical developments and for preparing students to be socially and ethically cognizant bioscience researchers.
Upon completion of this course, each student will be able to:
- Define "ethics";
- Understand the main features of key normative ethical theories and moral principles;
- Connect those theories and principles to the two primary component areas of "BioIndustry Ethics"- bioethics and business ethics;
- Recognize ethical dilemmas raised by the practice and study of bioscience;
- Make arguments and counterarguments about select moral dilemmas faced by the bioscience industry and its leaders;
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of his or her ethical arguments, and those of his/her classmates;
- Distinguish personal from societal values;
- Demonstrate an increased ability to think critically about select moral dilemmas, and make persuasive ethics arguments;
- Communicate and discuss moral values respectfully and with an open mind, and acknowledge the views of those whom they disagree;
- Engage in more profound and effective self-reflection and critical assessment of personal and group beliefs and values; and
- Answer privately the self-inquiry: Am I an ethical person? Am I an ethical student? Am I confident that I will demonstrate, and advocate for, high ethical standards during my career as a bioscience leader?
Class participation 10%
Take-home midterm 40%
Take-home final 40%