Modern science promises to make our lives better—offering us more health, wealth, convenience, and safety. At the same time, science gives us tremendous new capacities to remake the physical world, or even to destroy it. And the new knowledge that science opens up can radically change our understanding of the universe and our own place in it. All this new power and knowledge represents a profound political challenge: How are we to wisely govern science so that we can enjoy its blessings while minimizing its potential harms? This course will introduce students to some of the philosophical and practical questions at the intersection of science and politics.
- Excerpts from philosophers (including Bacon, Descartes, and Hume)
- Excerpts from scientists (including Galileo, Newton, and Darwin)
- Excerpts from statesmen (Jefferson, Churchill, and Eisenhower)
- Excerpts from writers of fiction (Tolstoy, Melville, and Hawthorne)
- Information relevant to two case studies for focused discussion (one from bioethics, one from computer science)
Meet the Instructor
Adam Keiper is a contributing editor to National Affairs and The American Interest, and a consulting editor for Issues in Science and Technology, the magazine of the National Academy of Sciences. For more than a decade, he was the editor of The New Atlantis, a quarterly journal about science, technology, and society that he co-founded in 2003; he remains a senior editor at The New Atlantis. He was the editor of the Weekly Standard’s Books & Arts section from mid-2017 until the magazine’s closure in December 2018. He has worked closely with hundreds of writers, including Nobel, Pulitzer, and Templeton Prize winners and bestselling authors, on projects ranging from short articles to books. His own research, writing, and public speaking is usually at the intersection of science and politics—touching on such subjects as space exploration, nanotechnology, and brain implants. In 2016, he testified before Congress on automation and employment. He has a B.A. in political science from American University.
Kate Havard Rozansky