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The University of Southampton
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UOSM2026 Ethics in Science, Engineering and Technology: Jekyll and Hyde

Module Overview

Building on the theme of Jekyll and Hyde, wherein a scientific discovery can be seen as having both beneficial (Dr. Jekyll) and detrimental aspects (Mr. Hyde), this module the general area of the ethics and social responsibility of scientific discovery will be explored throughout this module. The module will start with the Jekyll and Hyde story (students will be expected to have read the book) and will then continue through the presentation of a series of topical case studies. Delivery will take the form of lectures, seminars, presentations by guest speakers, and formal debates by students taking the module.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • have an understanding of the role of ethics in the pursuit of scientific discovery
  • be able to critically analyse the social, economic, and environmental factors that influence the ethical dimensions of scientific research
  • be able to present and defend a position regarding the ethics of a scientific discovery or an intended new area of scientific research verbally and in a written format.

Syllabus

Themes may include the following: • Jekyll and Hyde – a discussion of science and ethics in the Victorian era • Ethical theories – a presentation of the normative concepts and theories of ethics • The obligations of scientists – a discussion of the scientific method and what constitutes scientific misconduct • Science, pseudoscience, and the media- What is science? How do you know the difference between good and bad science? How does the media influence our understanding of these points? • Funding of science – a discussion of how society influences which science gets done and how the source of the funding may in turn influence the scientist. • Science as social policy – a discussion of how science influences society. • Dual use of science – a discussion of the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of scientific research • Agency – a discussion of who is responsible for the eventual outcomes of science • Gender and science –

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will consist of lectures, key-note speakers and group work that will improve students’ learning and their analytical skills. The module is innovative in its delivery through the cross-faculty involvement of lecturing staff from the Faculties of Natural and Environmental Sciences and Humanities, and through the participation of external speakers.

TypeHours
Lecture22
Assessment tasks36
Assessment tasks70
Seminar22
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Robert Louis Stevenson. Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

A. Briggle and C. Mitcham (2012). Ethics and Science: an introduction. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Briefing document 50%
Debate participation and documents 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%
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