Ethics Lab is Georgetown’s hub for creative ethics learning.
Our lab team partners with faculty across campus to infuse ethics into existing courses, to share successful bits of curricula from our ever-growing library of creative pedagogies, and to co-design flagship project-based courses that take advantage of the space, materials, mentorship and network of subject area and media experts.
We’ve also hosted intensive multipart workshops with research ethics experts from the FDA and NIH, summer sessions in bioethics for professionals, and are piloting a new series of professional development workshops aimed at middle and high-school teachers.
Courses Offered in Ethics Lab – Spring 2018
Decisions about reproduction/reproductive technologies, participation in research, treatment for mental health issues, use of genetic testing, care of older family members, choices for end-of-life care, and fulfilling obligations to others likely will arise in some form in each person’s life – whether for oneself or alongside loved ones or persons under one’s professional care. Through participation in this course, students will learn about and take part in ongoing bioethics discussions around classic and contemporary bioethics topics. Using framing and analysis tools from ethics and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics’ Ethics Lab, students will be better prepared to discuss and make decisions as healthcare consumers, biomedical research participants, or voting citizens. An overarching focus of the course will be to examine, critique and sometimes create text and media information that is available to the public about bioethics issues.
PHIL-110 Social Media & Democracy
The internet has radically changed the way people form beliefs, develop world views, and assess claims. Knowledge is in one sense more democratized, as traditional gatekeepers to news, science, and opinion have less power. Knowledge in another sense has become more elusive, as standards of evidence and vetting become vastly different; and theory building itself has changed. The 2016 election was influenced by the epistemology of the internet and the vulnerability of data: fake news, competing paradigms of evidence and expertise, Russian hacking of politically sensitive emails, and the effects of targeted newsfeeds. Given that most people access much of their information through digital means, the targeted flow of information threatens to divide our democracy. Is divided democracy inevitable or are there means for maintaining a robust democracy in the digital age? This course will examine questions of truth, democracy, and politics in the age of social media by drawing on contemporary case studies and philosophical tools from ethics, political philosophy, and epistemology.
PHIL-127-10, PHIL-127-20 Climate Change & Social Justice (core pathways)
This course examines climate change from the perspective of global justice. We will consider questions such as: How do global inequalities impact the way people are affected by climate change? How does this bear on the distribution of responsibility for addressing climate change? How does climate change connect to larger issues of global justice?
IDST-330 Ethics Lab: Design Studio
Design has historically been a practice of shaping artifacts—of giving form to buildings, cities, products, clothing, graphics, etc. But the role that design plays in society is changing. Designers are increasingly found in leadership positions, working to shape new services, strategies, systems, and social change. Design methods and modes of thinking are rapidly being embraced as a driving force for innovation in business, government, education, and other sectors of society. While at the same time, the disruptive pace of cultural change provokes increasingly complex moral issues, adding to the challenge not simply of what to design, but how. This course introduces a foundation of theory and practice that will help equip students to flourish as responsible change agents in this emerging landscape. By engaging frameworks of applied ethics theory and design together, students will build competency in a transdisciplinary process, and develop the dispositions, habits of mind, and ways of seeing necessary to routinely shape the world.
Course Prerequisites: One Ethics course, such as a Core course (e.g. PHIL 010 or any course from PHIL 100 to PHIL 149).
BADM-746 Ethics in the Digital Era
The digital world is increasingly changing the ways we interact with each other as citizens, friends, and consumers. This course investigates the ethical issues that emerge in our digital lives and seeks to give students tools for thinking through complex moral problems they may face as business leaders. We will analyze core values of privacy, consent, fairness, and legitimacy through case studies drawn from recent moral problems faced by the business giants of big data: Facebook, Google, and Uber. The goal of this course is to help prepare students to recognize, analyze, and grapple with ethical issues in the digital world.
This course is offered through the McDonough School of Business and will be run through Ethics Lab. We will use creative exercises drawn from the world of design to tackle complex moral problems. In addition to traditional reading and writing assignments, students will use tools such as empathy mapping, persona building, and engaged ethics design sprints to help them learn to identify and analyze complex moral problems in new ways. The final project will tackle a complex moral problem facing businesses in the digital age and will be built in stages of design sprints throughout the intensive course, to be presented in the final session of the ILE.
In prior semesters:
- Social Media and Democracy, Maggie Little and Elizabeth Edenberg, fall 2017
- Data Ethics, Maggie Little and Elizabeth Edenberg, spring and fall 2017
- Social Innovation in India, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, spring 2017
- The University as a Design Problem, Randall Bass and Arjun Dhillon, spring 2017
- Science & Society: Global Challenges, Francis Slakey, Allyson Anderson, and Arjun Dhillon, fall 2016
- The University as a Design Problem II, Randall Bass and Arjun Dhillon, fall 2016
- Foundations of Design, Arjun Dhillon, spring 2016
- The University as a Design Problem, Randall Bass and Ann Pendleton-Jullian, spring 2016
- Foundations of Design, Arjun Dhillon, spring 2016
- Studio collaborative: Shaping National Science Policy, Francis Slakey and David Goldston, spring 2016
- Studio collaborative: Introduction to Rhetoric, Matt Pavesich, spring 2016
- The University as a Design Problem II, Randall Bass, fall 2015
- Science & Society: Global Challenges, Francis Slakey, Allyson Anderson, and Arjun Dhillon, fall 2015
- Philosophy 145: Robots, Animals, Fetuses, Hailey Huget, summer 2015
- The University as a Design Problem, Randall Bass, spring 2015
- Studio collaborative: Introduction to Bioethics, Maggie Little and Arjun Dhillon, spring 2015
- Studio collaborative: Shaping National Science Policy, Francis Slakey and David Goldston, spring 2015
- Studio collaborative: Introduction to Rhetoric, Matt Pavesich, spring 2015
- Ignatius Seminar, John De Gioia, fall 2014
- Introduction to Bioethics, Maggie Little and Arjun Dhillon, spring 2014
- Bioethics: Medical Error, Maggie Little and Ann Pendleton-Jullian, fall 2013
- Bioethics and the Moral Imagination, Maggie Little and Randall Bass, spring 2012