Faculty Lunch: How can we motivate young scientists to grapple with important, but unanswerable ethical questions?


Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


50 Church St. Room 308

Steven HymanSteven Hyman, Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, and Former Provost of Harvard University

Several years ago, Steve Hyman embarked upon a pedagogical experiment aimed at taking (mostly) science concentrators—including pre-meds—out of their intellectual comfort zone. He asked them to move beyond the details of experiments and to reason and write like humanists about some of the thorniest ethical questions stemming from contemporary neuroscience. Should we be editing people's traumatic memories? How do we think about moral agency in severely addicted people? What are the implications of implanted brain-computer interfaces for personhood? The resulting course, now known as Ethical Reasoning 45: Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency, confronts students with challenging new perspectives on science. The course confronts the teaching staff with equally challenging questions around the best ways to teach undergraduates previously inured to facts to think and write critically about the implications of science from new disciplinary perspectives. Prof. Hyman will share his own experiences and invite colleagues to think about how to develop effective assignments.

Notes from Prof. Hyman's lunch