CPT-10303 Ethics and Philosophy for Biologists


Studiepunten 3.00

Individual Paper1
Group work6
Course coordinator(s)dr. B Haverkamp
Lecturer(s)dr. ZH Robaey
dr. B Haverkamp
dr. B Bovenkerk
drs. LFP Pijnenburg
Examiner(s)dr. B Haverkamp
dr. B Bovenkerk

Language of instruction:



Note: This course cannot be combined in an individual program with CPT-10803 Philosophy of Science and Ethics and/or FNP-32806 Science and Expertise in Nature and Environment.
This course deals with biology as a science and with moral issues in society that are related to biology. Questions on these topics often don't have definite answers. The aim of this course is to explore such open questions in two domains of philosophy. We will deal with:
1. Philosophy of science. To understand biology as a science, we discuss the philosophical question of what science is. What does it mean to do scientific research today? What makes knowledge ‘scientific’? Interviews with researchers in biology will add concrete and topical input for thinking.
2. Ethics. Many developments in biology raise ethical questions. How should we treat nature and non-human animals? Do we have a moral duty to safeguard biodiversity? How to use genetic modification tools in a morally responsible way? What to think of biological explanations of moral behavior? Morality is both all-pervasive and elusive. Considering a diversity of ethical approaches helps to get a grip on these issues.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
1. analyze (moral) problems in the context of contemporary scientific research;
2. explain central concepts in the philosophy of science in relation to biology;
3. understand that the place and function of biology is to be understood in its societal context;
4. recognize logical fallacies and the structure of argumentation in texts;
5. apply ethical theories and concepts to a variety of moral issues related to biology;
6. critically reflect on their own values and explore how these may be adaptable to change.


Lectures with discussions, tutorials with discussions and debates, presentations (to be prepared in small groups) and exercises (a.o. essay writing).


The exam consists of three elements: a group assignment, a multiple choice test and an individual essay. 
Respective weights of these three elements (5 or higher can be compensated):|
- group assignment: 25%;
- (take-home) exam: 25%;
- essay: 50%.



Verplicht voor: BBIBiologyBSc5AF