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300384 VO What is Life? (2012W)

Conceptual foundations of biology

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie

Montag, 08.10.2012, 17:15

Seminarraum, Department für Theoretische Biologie, UZA 1, Ebene 2, Spange 4

Details

Sprache: Englisch

Prüfungstermine

Lehrende

Termine

Zur Zeit sind keine Termine bekannt.

Information

Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

This course is an introduction to conceptual and ethical issues in the life sciences, suitable for philosophy and for biology students, among others. The course is divided into four parts, each addressing a core conceptual issue in the life sciences and their ethical and social ramifications. We begin by investigating what is perhaps the most fundamental question in biology, namely ‘What is life and how did it originate?’ We will discuss controversies surrounding the origin of life, as well as attempts to define life and how these definitions impact on life and death decisions. We then proceed by investigating the kinds of explanations biologists provide. This second part of the course will cover mechanistic thinking in the life sciences, and the implications of current norms of mechanistic explanation for health care policy. In the third part of the course we will discuss various issues related to the genetic revolution, from debates surrounding the concept of the gene, to the ethics of genetic testing, gene therapy, and eugenics. A distinctive feature of living organisms is that they evolved. Consequently, the last part of the course covers the processes that shape evolution and the sometimes controversial application of the principles of evolution to understanding human behaviour.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Prüfungsstoff

The course is a combination of lecture, discussion, debate, and group projects.
A selection of highly influential historical and contemporary writings from both biology and philosophy will be used to explore the four proposed topics. Students will give presentations on at least one of the readings that will be used to introduce the four sections and turn it in a one page paper (depending on the number of students).
Attendance and active participation is important for this class. Students are invited and encouraged to draw upon their own knowledge of biology and its history in class discussions. At the end of the course, two debate teams will debate arguments for and against a case study in evolutionary psychology.

Literatur


Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

WZB, B-WZB

Letzte Änderung: Mo 07.09.2020 15:43