SpeakersProf Brian Rappert, Dept of Sociology, University of Exeter
University of Exeter,Egenis, Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Title: ‘Pacing Science and Technology’ with Circles, Wedges, and Lines: Evaluating Efforts to Prevent the Destructive Use of the Life Sciences
This Egenis seminar presentation will consider the complications associated with evaluating emerging science policy initiatives. It will do so by offering an analysis of the prospective difficulties of delivering a presentation with the following title and abstract: “Codes of Conduct” Against concerns about the social, political, and ethical issues associated with science and technology, many organizations and governments have suggested scientists and engineers should adopt what are generally referred to as ‘codes of conduct’. While the term ‘code of conduct’ refers to a range of options, in general, these measures attempt to establish expectations regarding proper thinking and behaviour. Although codes of various complexions are hardly new, they are often portrayed as highly desirable today because they are said offer means of professional (self-)regulation adept enough to keep pace with S&T developments.Building on extensive previous work into the question of whether codes of conduct can and have worked as a means of ethical regulation, this presentation will seek to reframe traditional approaches to their utility. Beyond treating codes as a means of regulating individuals, consideration will be given to how the discussion of codes itself acts to foster shared interpretative resources and problem definitions among organizations. With this reframing of utility, the bases for the assessment of codes changes and does the role of the analysts. This argument will be substantiated in large part through making reference to the ‘real time’ experiences of the presenter over the last five years in attempts to devise a code of conduct to mitigate concerns about the relation between life science research and the deliberate spread of disease.