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Lectures on Science and Ethics December 9, 2008

Posted by ebrister in Announcements.
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What Is an Ethical Scientist?

Dr. Jeffrey Kovac (Chemistry, University of Tennessee)   

Thursday, December 11th, 4-5:30 p.m., Bldg. 06, Room A205

Almost all decisions made by scientists have an ethical dimension. In both the practice of science and the education of students it is essential that scientists understand the moral complexity of real-world situations, apply the relevant moral standards, and have the moral courage to make difficult choices, or the foundation of trust essential to the scientific enterprise will erode. In this presentation I will develop the fundamental concepts of scientific ethics and show how they apply to both the practice of science and the relationship between science and society.

Science, Ethics and War: A Pacifist’s Perspective


Dr. Jeffrey Kovac (Chemistry, University of Tennessee)

Friday, December 12th, 10 – 11:30 a.m., Science Building, Room A300

In this talk I will consider the ethical aspects of the question: should a scientist engage in war-related research, particularly use-inspired or applied research directed at the development of the means for the better waging of war. Because scientists are simultaneously professionals, citizens of a particular country, and human beings, they are subject to conflicting moral and practical demands. These demands are analyzed in the context of the three major views concerning the morality of war, realism, just war theory and pacifism, the requirements of professional codes of ethics and the common morality. Since modern total warfare, which is facilitated by the work of scientists and engineers, results in the killing of innocents, I conclude that most, if not all, war-related research should be considered at least as morally suspect and probably as morally prohibited.