The power and promise of modern science and technology is increasingly allowing human beings to do—even to be—whatever we want. But is it morally right to do whatever we have the power to do? As we gain ever greater control over nature, what will guide our choices individually and collectively? This is the central ethical dilemma determining what the human future will look like, or even whether there will be a human future at all. In this seminar course, we will explore the intellectual roots and defining challenges of our technological age, and then examine some distinctly Jewish responses to the meaning of our new scientific powers over nature and human nature.
Dr. Charles T. Rubin
Charles T. Rubin teaches political philosophy at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. Recent publications focus on converging technologies, and those who believe they should be used to redesign humanity, a topic he discusses in Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress (Encounter/New Atlantis Books, 2014). Dr. Rubin is also author of The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (1994) and editor of Conservation Reconsidered: Nature, Virtue and American Liberal Democracy (2000). In 2017-18 he was a visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, working on a book exploring what classic stories about human-created monsters tell us about the coming age of biotechnology. Other work in the field of literature and politics includes studies of Henry Adams, Flannery O’Connor (with his wife Leslie G. Rubin), H.G. Wells, and contemporary author Neal Stephenson.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.