The Role of Ethics in STEM Education: A Course Proposal

Wright, Matthew Bennett
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In modern society, ethics and science have become increasingly intertwined. From stem cell research to artificial intelligence, many of the most controversial ethical and philosophical dilemmas facing society are tied to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As such, it is important for scientists to be involved in current ethical discussion. However, the vast majority of STEM experts lack formal training in the styles of thinking and modes of communication required to be an effective contributor to philosophical conversation. Many universities do not require an ethics course for science majors, and some do not offer any courses designed to broaden science students’ modes of ethical thinking. Undergraduate institutions have an opportunity to train a new generation of scientists that will be able to shape philosophical discussion. This thesis addresses the need for ethics education in STEM programs, and proposes a course that would broaden students’ thinking, pique their interest, and teach important ethical theories.