Ethics in Science




Thursday, April 25, 2019:

Reading Response essay #3 (on Cantor's Dilemma) comes due Thur., May 2. Be sure to look at the general guidelines for these essays, plus the specific questions your essay is supposed to answer (in this case, prompt #3). Even though this essay has a case study response feel to it, in this case you should write it in good essay form rather than leaning heavily on bulleted lists.

Your essay needs to touch explicitly on the following:

--Cantor's interests (i.e., the goals he is pursuing, the values he's identifying with) as a scientist

--Jerry's interests as Cantor's mentee (someone being trained by Cantor to join the scientific community)

--How you think Cantor should have responded to/what you think he should have done about the anonymous note described on p. 93 of the book -- and how this response would address both Cantor's interests and Jerry's interests

Thursday, March 21, 2019:

Some guidance for the second Reading Response essay, due Thur., March 28, (general guidelines ; specific questions your essay is supposed to answer -- #2, on the Traweek readings, specifically "Border Crossings," which you'll find in the online course reader in Canvas):

The focus here is on the question within the AMY group of how, if at all, to present the "top quark" data. Some members of the group were hesitant to present it. Other members of the group thought it was hugely important to present it. Eventually, the group arrived at a strategy for presenting the data that seemed like a good compromise.

You need to explain this incident in terms of how the various factions of the group felt themselves to be "out of place" in different ways -- either in the context of the physics community in Japan, or in the context of the international community of high energy physicists. How were the members of the group who wanted to present the data out of place (and how would presenting the data address that)? How were the members of the group who did not want to present the data out of place (and how would not presenting the data address that)? How, ultimately, did the strategy that they used rely on the bachigai features of the AMY group to get the job done?

And, more generally, what do you think this episode shows about relations between physicists, both within Japan and within the larger community of physics?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019:

*The first reading response essay comes due in class (i.e., bring in a hard-copy to hand in) on Tuesday, March 5. (Note that this is extended from the original due date of Thursday, February 28.) You'll be answering some questions about the Asquith reading in our online course reader. You can find the prompt for the essay here (it's #1). You can find general guidelines for the reading response essays here.

Note that the prompt asks you to focus on a particular issue of methodology about which the Western and Japanese primatologists Asquith is writing about disagree -- namely, whether it is good scientific practice to "provision" (i.e., feed) the monkeys researchers are studying in the wild. In your paper, you'll want to make sure you do the following:

1. Describe the views of the Western primatologists and theJapanese primatologists on the question of "provisioning".

2. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the two methodological approaches (i.e., what's the benefit of provisioning? what's the benefit of not provisioning?)

3. Say something about how this methodological disagreement embodies different ideas about what is most important when you're trying to build a reliable body of knowledge about the world. [Note that you may actually end up taking care of this when you describe the advantages and disadvantages of provisioning or not, depending on how much detail you go into there.]

Sunday, January 20, 2019:
*If you would like to add this course, please come to the first class meeting (Thur. Jan. 24, 1:30-2:45 pm in BBC 222).

*There is a course reader available online (via Canvas). If you prefer a dead-tree version of the reader, it will be available for purchase (as print-on-demand, which means you pay for it and your copy will be ready within about two business days) at Maple Press (330 S. Tenth St., next to Sammy G's Pizza; phone: 408-297-1001). The cost of the dead-tree reader is about $35 (including tax). They accept cash and checks, but not credit cards.

*In addition to the course reader, there are two required texts for the course (available for purchase at Spartan Book Store or various online sources). More information about the course texts can be found here.



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