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York University
Natural Science
NATS 1760
Rebecca Jubis

Durant, Elwick SC/NATS 1760(A) Science, Technology & Society 2013 NATS 1760(A): SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY 2013 York University Division of Natural Science Faculty of Science and Engineering Instructor: Prof. Darrin Durant Dr. James Elwick E-mail: [email protected] [email protected] Website: Main Office: Rm. 218, Bethune College Our Offices: Prof. Durant is in Rm. 313, Bethune College Dr. Elwick is in Rm. 311, Bethune College NATS 1760(A) (Science, Technology & Society) fulfills your general science, general education, credit. This particular course does NOT attempt to fill your head with facts and figures, in a vain attempt to train you up into some technical competence; as if general education in science and technology is about being able to mimic the expert. Instead its goal is to give you some analytic tools and theoretical insights into the nature of science and technology as social practices. You will be taught about science and technology, about expert claims, and about the way in which technical claims to knowing facts intersect with political and social arguments about such claims to knowledge. The course is structured around several inter-locking themes and questions: - The theme of the tension between expertise and democracy. - What roles can and should experts and lay publics play in controversies where political and ethical claims intersect with appeals to factual matters? - Why is ‘knowing the facts’ not enough to truly understand debates involving factual claims? But also, why is ‘understanding the big picture’ also not enough? - The theme of risk. - What is risk? Why, in a time of seeming abundance, are people so worried about different "risks" - a worry we will refer to as "risk consciousness"? How do we respond to and manage the rise in this risk consciousness? - The theme of doubt and certainty. - Should we be wary of "merchants of doubt", who attack science wherever they perceive a lack of certainty? Or should we be wary of those wh
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