About the Seminar :

In conjunction with the Science Matters panel discussions, small group seminars (20 per group) explore the topic from a broader point of view. In facilitated, round-table discussions, those who wish to pursue the topic in greater depth grapple with the underlying issues with the aid of a classic text. The seminar meets twice during the day’s event. A morning seminar prepares the audience for the subsequent panel discussion by stimulating critical thinking about those fundamental questions that underlie the panel’s topic. The seminars reconvene directly following the panel discussion to confront the essential problem of relating the insights of the morning session and the thorny problems which the panel has set forth.

For The Science and Ethics of Reproductive Cloning participants read sections of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, a masterpiece of Western thought, in which Aristotle leads us to consider the foundations of our respect and appreciation for human life. The seminar’s specific task was, first, to interpret Aristotle’s meaning, to ask if we agree and then, insofar as we do, to bring this ethical test to bear on the complexities of the topic considered in the panel discussion. The selected readings first lay a foundation by defining what is the ‘good’ we prize in life and how we recognize a moral act. The second half of the reading shows how this common striving for the good fulfills our lives, and leads to that happiness which makes human life so prized.

As cloning technologies advance, so do the hopes and fears of people around the world—imagining that the reality of human cloning may be closer than we think. While many favor research on therapeutic cloning for treating human disease and illness, reproductive cloning for producing offspring has been far more controversial. The panelists, from a variety of viewpoints, will speak to the topic as experts in his/her own field. Where they make expert judgments, we are called upon to make what Aristotle calls an ethical judgment in terms of broader human values. Is reproductive cloning a moral act, one which services ‘the good’ for individuals and for society? Is this act compatible with the duties of friendship? Will it lead, ultimately, to human happiness? The seminar gives us a fresh perspective on these fundamental questions of genetic science and technology.

Space in the seminars is very limited and advanced registration is required. Admission is Free for Members and $10 for non-Members. People registering for this seminar were asked to read the selected passages from Nichomachean Ethics before attending.

About the Art & Science Studio Program:

The Art & Science Studio has been established at the California Science Center to investigate the relationships between art and science by creating a meaningful dialogue between scientists, artists and YOU. We use web-based programs, special exhibits and public seminars to get the conversation flowing.

In the Art and Science seminars, readings of classic works or viewings of works of art form the base for the seminar conversations, but the discussions also touch on broader issues such as the way we learn and the value of words in communicating complex ideas. By creating a dialogue between participants with diverse backgrounds, the seminars help to bring about insights into science, art and the humanities.

Visit www.ArtAndScienceStudio.org for more information, or to participate in our online journal.

Close window