CPT-93303 Ethics of Science and Technology (from the perspective of christian philosophy)


Studiepunten 3.00

Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. H Jochemsen
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. H Jochemsen
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. H Jochemsen

Language of instruction:



Science and technology are dominant powers in our society. Their development has led to an enormous body of knowledge and to tremendous technical possibilities. Our wealth depends on them. But science and technology also embody a certain approach to reality in which abstraction from concrete things and situations is central and control is pursued. This manifests itself clearly e.g. in biotechnology. That power of intervention should be subjected to norms to prevent that all that can be done will be done, irrespective of fundamental ethical principles and consequences.
In this course we will deal with developments and problems in modern industrialized agriculture and life sciences and with related ethical issues. Some of the issues mentioned in the 2009 Trend Analysis Biotechnology will be treated in more detail. Different ethical approaches will be presented as well as other approaches to agriculture, e.g. biological agriculture. From a Christian (reformational) perspective a way of an ethically responsible practice and use of science and technology will be indicated, of which a normative analysis of social practices will be an important element.

Learning outcomes:

After following and passing the exam of this course, the students:
- have a basic knowledge of ethics and ethical theories;
- understand ethical issues related to biotechnological developments;
- and are able to argue about them;
- understand some fundamental ethical and philosophical issues raised by modern life science technologies in our society;
- have a basic understanding of how Christian (reformational ) philosophy approaches these problems.


During contact hours lectures will be given on the subjects supported with audio visual aids. Power point presentations will be made available on MyPortal briefly before the lectures. There will be time for discussion.


Students can get the credits for this course by passing an exam in one of the following ways:
- oral exam on the contents of the lectures, including the hand outs and prescribed literature;
- writing an ethical essay on one of the biotechnological developments discussed or a presentation /discussion of a book in this field. This essay should at least contain 1200 words and explicitly draw on the contents of the course. (More detailed instructions on the written exam will be provided during lecturing period).


Parts from the Trend Analysis Biotechnology 2009 and E. Schuurman. Faith and hope in technology. Toronto: Clements publishing 2003