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P367


Addressing existential threats through a transformative education: towards a conversation between STS and ethics approaches 
Convenors:
Gülizar Karahan Balya (Middle East Technical University)
Aristotle Tympas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Manolis Simos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Halil Turan (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)
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Chairs:
Aristotle Tympas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Halil Turan (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)
Discussants:
Arsev Umur Aydinoglu (Middle East Technical University)
Gülizar Karahan Balya (Middle East Technical University)
Manolis Simos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

The traditional moral theory approach does not suffice to address the existential threats of technological civilization. Ethics education regarding S&T has to be radically transformed. This panel attempts to discuss transformative methods and practices for ethics education in STS curricula.

Long Abstract:

The environmental degradation, advances in biomedicalization, and rampant digitalization pose existential threats that are constitutively coextensive with technological civilization. The notion of ‘existential’ encapsulates three aspects of this contemporary danger. First, the gravitas; as existential, these threats do not have to do with parts of our well-being, but with our being simpliciter. Second, the scope; they do not concern a particular group of people, but rather humanity as a whole. Hence, third, the urgency; the need for a reaction in a transformative way has already become more than imminent.

The traditional moral theory approach does not seem to suffice for addressing these challenges. Although this approach does not seem to support scientism, technosolutionism, and technological determinism explicitly, it seems to adhere to the metaphysical underpinnings of these theses. Moreover, it is an abstract, top-down, principle-based approach and comes either too early—regarding questions like ‘the scientist’s responsibility’—or too late—regarding questions of use. In contrast, STS approaches suggest a morally informed, bottom-up, social diagnosis of science and technology in the making, attempting to open the black-box of specific technologies, and investigate the power relations at play among different actants.

In light of the above, ethics education regarding S&T has to be radically transformed. This panel attempts to critically address the existing practices of ethics education in STS curricula and present transformative methods and practices for encouraging students to internalize ethical thinking. The panel topics that could possibly be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

-How STS approach can inform the teaching of ethics by philosophers

-How the two approaches can be combined to foster a more effective ethics education (effectiveness here understood in terms of creating morally responsible individuals)

-How new, nonanthropocentric approaches can be incorporated

-How could STS education itself be transformed in light of such a combination.

Accepted papers: