New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

(Bio)Ethics in Science Education

Josef Kuře, Masaryk University (Department of Medical Ethics) (Czech Republic)


The historically unprecedented advanced development of science and technology corresponds to the general ambitions and dreams of human beings on one hand; on the other hand the enormous scientific progress, in life sciences in particular (e.g. synthetic biology, bioenhancement), brings severe concerns and raises new ethical questions. It is not only the attempt to avoid misconduct in scientific research what provides reasons for research ethics (education). While the ethical standards for human subject research have been established in the second half of the 20th century and largely applied in (bio)medical research, ethics education has not been widely implemented in science education; ethics training for science students is still rather an exemption then a rule. The paper argues that ethics reflection, possibly in a larger context of philosophy of science and of social philosophy, is an integral part of science and therefore also integral part of science education. So an appropriate ethics reflection should become an obvious and general part of science education. Not only training in “hard” science is necessary but also training in “soft” science is more and more needed - both as form of Code of Scientific Conduct awareness and as form  of personal development (development of skills needed for ethical reflection of any human activity, including science as a mode of human activity). Science is conducted in society and for society hence timely ethics education for (young) scientists and science students should be an integral part of science curricula

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