Diana Schaub and Carter Snead

Hertog Foundation | 2012

The steady advances in the field of biotechnology have opened a new frontier of ethical and political questions. Without doubt, gratitude is the most appropriate response for the many developments in biotechnology that have done much to alleviate human suffering. At the same time, however, we find ourselves on the threshold of an unprecedented power to shape the character of human life itself—a “brave new world” that brings with it a number of fundamental questions that warrant serious and sustained examination. Indeed, many have argued that the explicit and implicit questions of value raised by the biotechnology revolution constitute the most far-reaching set of challenges for our time, currently at the center of American politics.

In this seminar, students will examine classic texts in the history of political thought that bear on biotechnology and politics. They will also read contemporary authors who address the underlying ethical issues imbedded in the biotechnological revolution. They will grapple with questions about what it means to be human, as well as the relationship among the competing authorities of science, politics and religion in the modern world.

Image courtesy Pixabay