Philosophy 120, Course Overview
E-focus, WI, and Diversification in Humanities

Before you enter this course, read carefully this overview, course evaluation, course assignments, course mechanics, and self-check activities.

Course Title: Science, Technology, and Values

Instructor: Professor Ronald C. Pine, Ph.D.

Course Credits: 3

Course Description:  An introductory course addressing the relationship between science, technology, and human values with a focus on contemporary ethical problems posed by developments in modern science. (3 credits)

General Education area: Diversification in Humanities

Note: This course is being offered as an Ethics-focused course and a Writing-Intensive course.  As of  Spring 05, UH-Manoa now accepts only 300+ courses for E-focus.  Hence, this course will satisfy a Manoa and HCC Diversification requirement, a Manoa and HCC WI requirement, an HCC E-focus requirement, but not a Manoa E-focus requirement.

Prerequisites:  English 100 and possess basic Internet skills.  As a WI course, English 100 (C grade or higher) in the UH system or an equivalent college level composition course is an absolute prerequisite.

Course Purpose:  This course will focus on the many ethical and value issues generated by science and technology.  The course also aims to have students appreciate the vastness of the Universe and the wonder of its parts, and the philosophical significance of this for improving the quality of human life through value clarification.

As the world culture becomes increasingly driven by developments in science and technology, and as our curriculum becomes increasingly driven by the goal of achieving technical competence in a field, there is also a complementary need for value clarification and assessment of the ethical implications of new technologies and developments in modern science. The goal will not be a complete understanding in detail of every scientific topic discussed. The course is not intended to replace introductory courses in Astronomy, Biology, and Physics. The goal is to impart a basic understanding of the scientific method and an appreciation for the scientific endeavor. It will present the world view of modern science and discuss the implications of this view for the human prospect. It is an attempt to present the Big Picture in terms of what we think we know, how we have developed this knowledge, how values affect the development of knowledge, and the ethical choices that confront us, such that we may better understand ourselves and appreciate what is truly human and valuable. Each student will be asked to participate critically in this endeavor through writing a series of short essays.

Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes:  Students will demonstrate in college level writing

Texts and Resources:

Science and the Human Prospect, by Ronald C. Pine
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Handouts and Internet resources on case studies and contemporary ethical issues.

Course Content:

  1. An introduction to the world view of modern science with emphasis on its relationship to ethical issues.
  3. Scientific method and the philosophy of science: a sample of problems and an introduction to cognitive and moral values and problems in professional ethics.
  5. Darwin's theory of evolution and an analysis of concrete moral questions: The moral value of genetic diversity, genetic engineering, cloning, stem-cell research.
  7. Historical origins of modern science, an analysis of scientific revolutions and world views, and ethical analysis of power relationships in research.
  9. An introduction to the field of Ethics, related terminology and methodology, deontological and teleological stances, instrumental naturalism, instrumental and intrinsic value questions.
  11. An analysis and deliberation on selected modern ethical issues generated by advances in technology.
Qualified students with disabilities will receive appropriate accommodations in this course. Students with disabilities may obtain information on available services online at  Specific inquires may be made by contacting Student ACCESS at 844-2392, by e-mail at, or by simply stopping by the office located in 2/409.

Schedule: Below is the 16-week schedule.  For summer and SOCAD, see the Ten-Week Schedule.
Week       Topic (s) 
Chapter 1: The World View of Modern Science -- Curiosity and Cognitive Values: Assignment 1
Chapter 2: Scientific Method and Cognitive Values: Assignment 2
Chapter 3: Evolution and Philosophical Issues: Assignment 3
Ethics: lectures, Internet resources, and selected ethical issues: Assignment 4
Ethical Issues Continued: Assignment 5
Chapter 4: The Ancient Greeks -- Cultural Roots of Science: Assignment 6
Draft of Paper
Chapter 5: The Copernican Revolution -- Cultural Roots of Science: Assignment 7
Chapter 6: Newtonianism -- Cultural Roots of Science continued: Assignment 8
Ethics and Research -- lectures and Internet Resources: Assignment 9
Chapter 9: Ethics and Values in a Darwinian Universe: Assignment 10
Chapter 10: The Human Prospect -- Meliorism and Nihilism: Assignment 11
Feedback and Discussion -- Reactions to Brave New World Prospects -- Assignment 12
Final Draft of Paper
Exam Preparation

Final Exam

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