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Ethics of Contemporary Challenges

Code: 106234 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504235 Science, Technology and Humanities OB 2 2


Francesc Xavier Roque Rodriguez

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.

External teachers

Carmen Madorrán Ayerra
José María Carrascosa Baena


There are none.

Objectives and Contextualisation

At the end of the course students should achieve the following objectives:
• Identify, analyze and critically evaluate problems derived from the scientific and technological activity as well as its relevant moral, ecological and social issues.
• Communicate in an effective way, both oral and written, the result of the analysis of the ecological, ethical and social dimensions of science and Technology (of both its research and develovpent, and its applications).
• Know the main moral challenges associated to research, the use and the consequences of science and technology in our contemporary societies.


  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values.
  • Apply knowledge of ethics to science in society and gauge the impact of technological change on people and the human condition.
  • Develop and evaluate interdisciplinary projects that combine scientific, technological and humanistic knowledge and encourage citizens' involvement in matters related to science and technology in society.
  • Explain the basic concepts related to life, its origin and evolution, especially those referring to health and illness throughout history.
  • Innovate in the methods and processes of this area of knowledge in response to the needs and wishes of society.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Work collaboratively in teams.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Assess possible alternatives to animal experimentation.
  2. Critically evaluate different ethical challenges in today's world.
  3. Develop projects on the ethics of contemporary science and technology.
  4. Identify the functions of research ethics committees.
  5. Intervene in debates on ethical dilemmas associated with scientific developments.
  6. Know the basic principles of risk management.
  7. Know the biophysical limits of planet Earth.
  8. Know the concept of transhumanism.
  9. Know the directives on personal data protection.
  10. Know the principles of environmental (principle of precaution, etc.).
  11. Present reports on ethical dilemmas associated with specific scientific developments.
  12. Produce papers as part of a group.


1. Fundamentals: environmental ethics and Third Culture
2. Bioethical Issues
3. Needs, capabilities and basic goods (in a finite planet)
4. Moral and political challenges of transhumanism
5. Moral challenges of scientific-technological research (robotics and AI)
6. Moral challenges of biomedical research (genomic edition, transhumanism)


Text discussion seminars.
Team work and oral presentations.
Individual written essay.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Learning exercises 16 0.64 7, 6, 10, 9, 3, 12, 5, 11, 2
Lectures 33 1.32 8, 7, 6, 10, 9, 4, 2, 1
Type: Supervised      
Essay supervision 4.25 0.17 8, 7, 10, 11, 2, 1
Type: Autonomous      
Bibliographic research 20 0.8 8, 7, 10, 3, 1
Personal study 33 1.32 8, 7, 10
Work on presentation 6.25 0.25 3, 12, 5, 11
Writing of essay 35 1.4 8, 7, 11, 2


Oral presentation of team work and assessable ppt.
Individual written essay on assigned topic.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Single assessment
This subject does not incorporate single assessment.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essay 30% 0 0 8, 7, 11, 2
Exam 30% 2 0.08 8, 7, 6, 10, 9, 4, 11, 2, 1
Participation 10% 0 0 12
Presentation 30% 0.5 0.02 3, 12, 5, 11


Diamond, J. Crisis. Como reaccionan los países en los momentos decisivos. Barcelona: Debate, 2019.
Harari,Y. N. 21 lecciones para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Debate, 2018.
Martinez Alier, J. 2004. El ecologismo de los pobres. Conflictos ambientales y lenguajes de valoración. Barcelona: Icaria, 2004.
Martinez Alier, J.; Wagensberg, J. Solo tenemos un planeta. Sobre la armonía de los humanos con la naturaleza. Barcelona: Icaria, 2017.
Molles, M. 2006. Ecología. Conceptos y aplicaciones. Nueva York: McGraw-Hill-Interamericana, 2006.
Anders, Günther; Eichmann, Klaus. Nosotros, los hijos de Eichmann: carta abierta a Klaus Eichmann. Barcelona: Paidós, 2001.
Baggini, Julian. Breve historia de la verdad. Barcelona: Ático de los Libros, 2018.
Fernández Buey, Francisco. Para la Tercera Cultura. Barcelona: El Viejo Topo, 2012.
Garcés, Marina. Nueva Ilustración radical. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2017. Versión en catalán: Nova Il·lustració radical, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2017
Winner, Langdon. La ballena y el reactor: una búsqueda de los límites en la era de la alta tecnología. Barcelona: Gedisa,1987.
Jasanoff, Sheila. The Ethics of Invention. New York: Norton & Co, 2016.
Parens Erik; Johnston, Josephine, eds. Human flourishing in the age of gene editing. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
Hockfield, Susan. The Age of Living Machine. London: Norton & Co, 2019.
National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research U.S.A. El Informe Belmont. https://www.bioeticaweb.com/el-informe-belmont-principios-y-guasas-acticas-para-la-protecciasn-de-los-sujetos-humanos-de-investigaciasn-18-abril-1979/

Additional references
Blackburn, Simon. La verdad–guía de perplejos. Barcelona: Crítica, 2005.
Castoriadis, Cornelius. Sujeto y verdad en el mundo histórico-social. Seminarios 1986-1987. La creación humana, I. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica de Argentina, 2004.
Castoriadis, Cornelius; Cohn-Bendit, Daniel. De la ecología a la autonomía. Barcelona: Mascarón, 1982.
Castro, Carlos de. Reencontrando a Gaia. Málaga: Eds. del Genal, 2019.
Illich, Ivan. La convivencialidad. Barcelona: Virus, 2012.
Mumford, Lewis. El pentágono del poder. El mito de la máquina (vol. 2). Logroño: Pepitas de Calabaza, 2011.
Naredo, José Manuel. Raíces económicas del deterioro ecológico y social. Madrid: Siglo XXI, 2006.
Riechmann, Jorge. Ética extramuros. Madrid: Ediciones UAM, 2016.
Riechmann, Jorge; Tickner, Joel y otros. El principio de precaución. Barcelona: Icaria, 2002.
Welsch, Wolfgang. Hombre y mundo. Filosofía en perspectiva evolucionista. Valencia: Pre-Textos, 2014.


None required.