History and Philosophy Of Science | Experimenting on Humans
X100 | 4407 | Sean Valles


From vaccine testing to product testing, experiments on human
subjects have become a permanent part of 21st century society.  As a
result, scientists, legislators and the public are forced to deal
with some very difficult questions. How should doctors
obtain “informed consent” for unproven treatments?  Who is
responsible for the safety of human subjects?  When is animal
experimentation preferable to human experimentation?  This course is
designed to make these important 21st century questions accessible
to students of all backgrounds by providing an interdisciplinary
perspective that incorporates history, philosophy, law, and some
basic science.

The course will begin with short unit tracing the development of
experimentation on human and animal subjects before the 20th
century.  Following this historical introduction, the course will
focus on human experimentation in the 20th century.  We will read
many primary and secondary texts, watch movies, and hear from guest
lecturers in order to discuss the central issues and events of
modern human experimentation.  Topics covered will include: the role
of experimentation in medicine, self-experimentation among
scientists, science in Nazi Germany, eugenics, and recent
developments in bioethics.