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19165-01 - Lecture: Einführung in die angewandte Nano-Wissenschaftsethik 3 CP

Semester spring semester 2020
Course frequency Every spring sem.
Lecturers Roberto Andorno (, Assessor)
Content This seminar is designed as an introduction to ethics, with a focus on the ethical principles that are relevant to scientific research and, more specifically, to nanosciences and nanotechnologies. It aims to provide students with a set of criteria for handling ethical dilemmas, to facilitate the understanding of legal and human rights principles relating to science and technology, to explore the ethical issues raised by nanosciences and nanotechnologies, to raise awareness about Swiss and international guidelines on scientific integrity, and to offer a room for free discussion on cases of scientific misconduct.
The topics to be addressed during the seminar include:
1. Ethics as practical rationality. The good as goal of the moral action. The elements of the moral action. The importance of intention. Factors limiting moral responsibility. Overview of main ethical theories. Universalism and relativism.
2. Ethics and law. Interaction. Similarities and differences. The common good as goal of the legal system. Human dignity and human rights. The right to life. The right to health. The right to privacy. The right to science.
3. Sustainable development. Intergenerational justice: the duties to prevent harm to present and future generations, and to preserve the environment.
4. Assessing risk. The precautionary principle. History. Conditions for its application. Examples of precautionary measures.
5. Ethical issues in nanosciences and nanotechnologies (nanoethics). Dilemmas in nanomedicine: the potential toxicity of nanomaterials; the gap between diagnosis and therapy; privacy and confidentiality issues; the challenge of human enhancement.
6. Dual use dilemmas: the responsibility of scientists and society.
7. Scientific integrity. The role of science in society. Famous cases of scientific misconduct. Fabrication and falsification of data, plagiarism, conflicts of interest. Publication ethics. Swiss and international guidelines.
Bibliography I. General
• Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. Available at:
• Pieper, Annemarie, Einführung in die Ethik. 7th ed. Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2017.
• Seebauer, Edmund D., Barry, Robert L., Fundamentals of Ethics for Scientists and Engineers, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
• Macrina, Francis, Scientific Integrity. An Introductory Text with Cases, Washington: ASM Press, 2014.
II. Nanoethics
• EU Commission, A code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies, 2008. At:
• Gordijn, Bert and Cutter, Anthony Mark (eds.), In Pursuit of Nanoethics, Dordrecht: Springer, 2013.
• Ten Have, Henk (ed.), Nanotechnologies, Ethics and Politics, Paris, UNESCO, 2007.
III. Guidelines on scientific integrity
University of Basel
• Regulation regarding scientific integrity, 2018.
In German:
In English:
Swiss Academies of Sciences
• Integrity in scientific research. Principles and procedures, 2008. Integritaet.html
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
• Regulations on scientific misconduct, 2016.
European Science Foundation (ESF)
• European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, 2011.

Bibliography on specific topics will be recommended individually, upon student request.
Comments Ehemaliger Titel der Vorlesung: Einführung in die Angewandte Ethik für Studierende der Nanowissenschaften
The seminar is structured in seven sessions of 2.5 hours each taking place every two weeks:
-Mo. 17 Feb.
(not on Mo 2. March: Fastnacht)
-Mo 9. March
-Mo 16. March
-Mo 30. March
(not on Mo 13. April: Ostermontag)
-Mo 20. April
-Mo 4. May
-Mo 18. May
Sessions will combine lectures by the instructor, presentations by participants on particular topics of ethics/nanoethics or on cases of scientific misconduct, individual and small group practical exercises, and large group discussions.



Language of instruction English
Use of digital media No specific media used


Interval every two weeks
Date 17.02.2020 – 18.05.2020
Time Monday, 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Hörsaal 103
Date Time Room
Monday 17.02.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Hörsaal 103
Monday 02.03.2020 16.15-18.30 Fasnachtsferien
Monday 09.03.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Hörsaal 103
Monday 16.03.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Findet online statt
Monday 30.03.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Findet online statt
Monday 13.04.2020 16.15-18.30 Ostern
Monday 20.04.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Findet online statt
Monday 04.05.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Findet online statt
Monday 18.05.2020 16.15-18.30 Biozentrum, Findet online statt
Modules Basismodul (Teil A) (Transfakultäre Querschnittsprogramme im freien Kreditpunkte-Bereich)
Basismodul (Teil B) (Transfakultäre Querschnittsprogramme im freien Kreditpunkte-Bereich)
Doctorate Biomedical Ethics: Recommendations (PhD subject Biomedical Ethics)
Doctorate Medical and Health Ethics: Recommendations (PhD subject Medical and Health Ethics (Start of studies before 01.02.2015))
Electives Bachelor Nanosciences: Recommendations (Bachelor's Studies: Nanosciences)
Module: Biomaterials Science and Nanotechnology (Master's Studies: Biomedical Engineering)
Module: Image-Guided Therapy (Master's Studies: Biomedical Engineering)
Assessment format continuous assessment
Assessment details • Attendance
• Active participation in the discussion
• 20 minutes presentation

Grading pass/fail
Assessment registration/deregistration Reg./dereg.: course registr./cancel registr. via MOnA
Repeat examination no repeat examination
Scale Pass / Fail
Repeated registration as often as necessary
Responsible faculty Faculty of Science,
Offered by Institut für Bio- und Medizinethik