University Town Ideas & Exposition Programme
IEM2201E “Ethics in Outer Space” Syllabus
Semester 2, Academic Year 2014-15
Lecturer: Dr Victor Cole
Office: University Town Writing Unit, ERC 02-16J
Telephone: 6516 3597; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Venturing into space, the most hostile of extreme environments, poses a host of complex and unusual challenges to human well-being. Through examination of the physiological, psychological and social factors that astronauts must contend with, students will engage with the ethical questions that confront governmental and private agencies when sending men and women into space. Before selecting specific ethical questions to explore in their research papers, students will also examine the motivations (scientific, commercial, political) behind different kinds of space mission and consider the moral obligations humankind may be under with regard to the exploration and potential exploitation of extraterrestrial environments.
Unit 1: Surveying a relevant literature
In Unit 1 you will compile an annotated bibliography to record and organize your sources in the early stages of the research process. The purpose of this assignment is to help you review existing literature on particular ethical aspects of human engagement with outer space in order to determine a line of inquiry/research problem. You are assisted in making the first step towards selecting an appropriate ethical issue by engaging with selected readings on four different dimensions of humankind’s engagement with outer space: (i) the motivations for venturing into space; (ii) the challenges posed to human well-being within a space environment (including those arising from mission exigencies); (iii) the impact on extraterrestrial environments; and (iv) the possibility of colonizing extraterrestrial environments. In the course of studying the prescribed readings, you will be exposed to the key approaches to ethical decision making: principlist, consequentialist, duty-based and virtue-based. You will also be shown how they might potentially make use of both imaginative material (e.g. fictional depictions of space scenarios in film, TV or literature) and factual material (e.g. astronaut accounts of spaceflight, NASA policies and popular science treatments of space exploration) in identifying an ethical issue upon which to focus your subsequent research.
Unit 2: Making a research proposal
Drawing on the resources you have developed in the first unit, you will write a brief research proposal describing the topic and scope of your proposed research project. The purpose of this exercise is to get you to commit to an approach, method, critique or set of ideas that you wish to explore in relation to the ethical issue you have chosen to address.
Unit 3: Producing a research paper
At this point in the semester, you have completed your annotated bibliography and research proposal. Building from these previous assignments, you will now undertake your own research project. The project will require you to develop a thesis with regard to how the issue you previously identified can best be addressed. You will make use of material from scientific or social scientific sources to establish the practical parameters of the ethical problem you will attempt to address. Subsequently, you will engage with a relevant scholarly literature (e.g. from bioethics, environmental philosophy, social theory or law) to enable you to formulate you own defensible ethical position.
This module will provide you with the opportunity to learn and apply five core strategies that underlie successful scholarly research and writing:
assessing the relevance and reliability of multiple sources;
understanding how theory and method inform and produce knowledge;
identifying and articulating exigent research questions;
synthesizing multiple sources to construct and support hypotheses; and
revising one’s own thesis, methodological orientation, evidence, and argumentation.
These strategies will be applied as you produce research-based writing on the topic of ethics in outer space, using appropriate tools of ethical analysis.
You can download all required readings from the IVLE workbin except for those marked with an asterisk in the syllabus document, which can be downloaded via the URLs indicated in the reading list. Some supplementary readings will also be made available in the workbin over the course of the semester.
Assignment 1 (annotated bibliography; 6-8 readings x 100-150 words per reading) 15%
Assignment 2 (research plan; 750-1,000 words) 25%
Assignment 3 (research paper; 2,500-3,000 words) 40%
Oral presentations on class readings and argument of research paper (50-50 weighting) 10%
Class participation* 10%
*Your participation is evaluated on attendance, preparedness, contributions to classroom discussions and online activities, and the timely delivery of drafts of your work.
Attendance and tardiness:
As this is a seminar-style class, regular attendance is expected, and will be taken at the beginning of each class period. You may take two unexcused absences freely during the semester without penalty. Any additional unexcused absences will reduce your final participation score by 25 marks (out of 100) per absence. Absences may be excused in certain cases (e.g., medical reasons, personal or family emergencies, participation in certain university activities), but, if possible, you should speak with me in advance to determine whether or not you can be formally excused in any given case. Arriving to class on time is also important. If you arrive more than 15 minutes late, then you will be considered absent for the day. If you have a regular conflict that prevents you from coming to class in a timely manner, please schedule a meeting with me so that we can discuss how it might be resolved.
Plagiarism is a serious offense, especially in a writing intensive module like IEM2201. Please be sure to appropriately reference any and all sources that you use in the preparation of written assignments. As these topics have already been covered in IEM1201, you are entirely responsible for knowing what counts as plagiarism. Any serious instance of plagiarism will be reported to the appropriate administrative and academic departments for review, and could have very severe consequences for your academic career. Please read the notes on plagiarism in the Appendix.
Work that is submitted past the stipulated due date and time will incur a fixed mark penalty per calendar day late. Electronic submission through the designated portal will generate an official record of the time of submission.
I am always happy to speak to you outside of class and am available for consultation in my office at the following times: Mondays 2-4pm and Thursdays 2-3pm. I can also see you by appointment.
Prescribed readings (in APA format):
Ainslie, D.C. (2004). Principlism. In Encyclopedia of bioethics (3rd ed.). New York: MacMillan.
Arnould, J. (2012). Space ethics. In Encyclopedia of applied ethics (2nd ed.). London: Academic.
Athanassoulis, N (n.d.). Virtue ethics. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from: http://www.iep.utm.edu/virtue/print
Baum, S.D. (2009). Cost-benefit analysis of space exploration: Some ethical considerations. Space Policy, 25, 75-80.
Billings, L. (2006). How shall we live in space? Culture, law and ethics in spacefaring society. Space Policy, 22, 249-255.
Burnor, R. & Raley, Y. (2011). Ethical choices: An introduction to moral philosophy with cases. New York: Oxford University Press (Chapter 9, “Deontological ethics” pp. 151-180).
Clynes, M.E. & Kline, N.S. (1960). Cyborgs and space. Astronautics, Sept. 1960, 26-7 & 74-6.
Cochrane, A. (n.d.). Environmental ethics. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/envi-eth/print
Fogg, M.J. (2000). The ethical dimensions of space settlement. Space Policy, 16, 205-211.
Gibson, T.M. (2006). The bioethics of enhancing human performance for spaceflight. Journal of Medical Ethics, 32, 129-132.
Harris, C.E. (2007). Applying moral theories. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth (Chapter 3, “Moral theories” pp. 38-62).
Mason, R.O. (2014). Lessons in organizational ethics from the Columbia disaster: Can a culture be lethal? Organizational Dynamics, 32(2), 128-142.
Marik, T. (2014) Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo crash: Full coverage and investigation. Space.com. Retrieved from: http://www.space.com/27629-virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-crash-full-coverage.html
McKie, R. (2014, December 7). Astronauts lift our spirits. But can we afford to send humans into space? The Observer. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/dec/0/can-we-afford-to-send-humans-into-space
Mogck, B.D. (2008). Writing to reason: a companion for philosophy students and instructors. Malden, MA: Blackwell (Chapter 1, “Writing a philosophy paper” pp. 3-15).
Rovetto, R. (2013). The essential role of human spaceflight. Space Policy, 29, 225-228.
van Baarsen, B. (2011). Humans in outer space: Existential fulfillment or frustration? Existential, psychological, social and ethical issues for crew on a long-term space mission beyond Earth orbit. In U. Landfester, N. Remuss, K. Schrogl, & J. Worms (Eds.), Humans in outer space: interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 222-238). Berlin: Springer.
Weinberg, S. (2013). Response: Against manned space flight programs. Space Policy, 29, 229-230.
Winfrey, J.C. (1998). Social issues: The ethics and economics of taxes and public programs. New York: Oxford University Press (Chapter 1, “A social ethics for social issues” pp. 1-24).
Zack, N. (2009). Ethics for disaster. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (Chapter 2, “Lifeboat ethics and disaster: Should we blow up the fat man? “ pp. 33-48).
Advocacy of space exploration
Aldrin, B. (2013). Mission to Mars: My vision for space exploration. National Geographic: Washington, D.C.
deGrasse Tyson, N. (2012). Space chronicles: Facing the ultimate frontier. W.W. Norton & Company: New York.
National Space Society (2012). Milestones to space settlement: An NSS roadmap. Retrieved from: http://www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap/NSSroadmap.pdf
Astronaut accounts of spaceflight
Collins, M. (1974). Carrying the fire: An astronaut’s journeys. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Lovell, J. (1994). Lost moon. New York: Houghton-Mifflin.
General resources on manned spaceflight
DeMonchaux, N. (2011). Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Landfester, U., Remuss, N., Schrogl, K., & Worms, J. (Eds.) (2011). Humans in outer space: interdisciplinary perspectives. Berlin: Springer.
Rogers, L. (2008). It’s only rocket science: An introduction in plain English. New York: Springer.
Scott, D.M. (2014). Marketing the moon: The selling of the Apollo lunar program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Seedhouse, E. (2008). Tourists in space: A practical guide. Berlin: Springer.
Shayler, D. (2009). Space rescue: ensuring the safety of manned spaceflight. Chichester: Springer.
Weir, A. (2014). The Martian: A novel. New York: Crown Publishers.
Williams, E. (2014). Moon: Nature and culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Space ethics and space law
Arnould, J. (2011). Icarus' second chance: the basis and perspectives of space ethics. Vienna: Springer.
Knutson, T. (2007). What is “informed consent” for space-flight participants in the soon-to-launch space tourism industry? Journal of Space Law, 33, 105-122.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2013). The common rule. Retrieved from http://hrirb.arc.nasa.gov/content/common-rule
Robinson, G.S. (2006). Transcending to a space civilization: The next three steps toward a defining constitution. Journal of Space Law, 32, 147-175.
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (2013). International space law. Retrieved from http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/index.html
Barratt, M. & Pool, S. (2008). Principles of clinical medicine for space flight. New York: Springer.
Clément, G. (2011). Fundamentals of Space Medicine (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.
Kanas, N. (2008). Space psychology and psychiatry (2nd ed.). El Segundo, CA: Microcosm Press.
Films of topical relevance
Boyle, D. (Director). (2007). Sunshine [Motion picture]. UK, USA: Fox Searchlight.
Blomkamp, N. (Director). (2013). Elysium [Motion picture]. USA: Sony.
Carpenter, J. (Director). (1974). Dark star [Motion picture]. USA: Jack H. Harris Productions.
Cuarón, A. (Director). (2013). Gravity [Motion picture]. USA: Warner.
De Palma, B. (Director). (2000). Mission to Mars [Motion picture]. USA: Touchstone
Haskin, B. (Director). (1964). Robinson Crusoe on Mars [Motion picture]. USA: Paramount.
Howard, R. (Director). (1995). Apollo 13 [Motion picture]. USA: Universal.
Jones, D. (Director). (2009). Moon [Motion picture]. UK: Liberty Films.
Kubrick, S. (Director). (1968). 2001: A space odyssey [Motion picture]. USA, UK: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Sington, D. (Director). (2007). In the shadow of the moon [Motion picture]. UK: Film 4.
Stanton, A. (Director). (2008). WALL.E [Motion picture]. USA: Pixar, Disney.
Trumbull, D. (Director). (1972). Silent running [Motion picture]. USA: Universal.
Television series of topical relevance
Discovery Channel: NASA's Greatest Missions - When we left Earth [Television series]. (2011). USA: Go Entertain.
Mihalka, G. (Director). (2008). Race to Mars [Television series]. Canada, France: Arte France, Galafilm Productions.
Websites of topical relevance
http://spaceshippers.com/ [A blog by astronauts based on the International Space Station]
Beauchamp, T.L. & Childress, J.F. (2013). Principles of biomedical ethics (7th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Bulger, J.W. (2007). Principlism. Teaching Ethics, 8(1), 81-100. Retrieved from: http://www.uvu.edu/ethics/seac/Bulger-Principlism.pdf
Campbell, A.V. (2013). Bioethics: the basics. London: Routledge.
Hope, T., Savulescu, J. & Hendrick, J. (2008). Medical ethics and law: The core curriculum (2nd rev. ed.) (pp. 22-33). Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone.
Macklin, R. (2003). Applying the four principles. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29, 275-280.
Scarre, G. (1996). Utilitarianism. London: Routledge.
Harsanyi, J.C. (1985). Rule utilitarianism, equality and justice. Social Philosophy and Policy, 2(2), 115-127.
Hare, R.M. (1981). Moral thinking: its levels, method, and point. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hooker, B. (2000). Ideal code, real world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moore, G.E. (1952). Ethics. London: Oxford University Press.
Nathanson, S. (n.d.). Act and rule utilitarianism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from: http://www.iep.utm.edu/util-a-r/print
Singer, P. (2011). Practical ethics (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bowie, N. (1999). A Kantian approach to business ethics. In R.E. Frederick (Ed.), A companion to business ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Davis, N. (1993). Contemporary deontology. In P. Singer (Ed.), A companion to ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.
O’Neill, O. (1993). Kantian ethics. In P. Singer (Ed.), A companion to ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Ross, W.D. (2002). The right and the good. P. Stratton-Lake (Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Environmental ethics / exploitation of space
DesJardins, J.R. (2012). Environmental ethics: An introduction to environmental philosophy (5th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth.
Rathgeber, W., Schrogl, K., & Williamson, R.A. (Eds.) (2010). The fair and responsible use of space: an international perspective. Vienna: Springer.
Sparrow, R. (1999). The ethics of terraforming. Environmental Ethics, 21, 227-245.
Crisp, R. & Slote, M. (Eds.) (1997). Virtue ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gardiner, P. (2003). A virtue ethics approach to moral dilemmas in medicine. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29, 297-302.
Hursthouse, R. (1995). Applying virtue ethics. In R. Hursthouse, G. Lawrence, & W. Quinn, (Eds.), Virtues and reasons: Philippa Foot and moral theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Oakley, J. (1996). Varieties of virtue ethics. Ratio, 9(2), 128-152.
Oakley, J. & Cocking, D. (2006) Virtue ethics and professional roles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Statman, D. (Ed.) (1997). Virtue ethics: A critical reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
General resources on ethics
Gensler, H.J. (2011). Ethics: A contemporary introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Viens, A.M. & Selgelid, M.J. (Eds.) (2012). Emergency ethics: Volume 1. Farnham: Ashgate.
Watson, J.C. & Arp, R. (2011). What’s good on TV? Understanding ethics through television. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wolff, J. (2011). Ethics and public policy: A philosophical inquiry. London: Routledge.
Useful articles on all aspects of moral philosophy can be found online at:
Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/)
Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy (http://www.iep.utm.edu/)
Lester, J.D. & Lester, J.D. Jr. (2012). Writing research papers: a complete guide (14th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Mogck, B.D. (2008). Writing to reason: a companion for philosophy students and instructors. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Statements and E-Resources on Plagiarism
It is important to note that plagiarism is an academic offence that is taken very seriously by the University, as stated in the NUS Code of Student Conduct (Clause 4) and the notice on plagiarism on the NUS website:
NUS Code of Student Conduct (Clause 4)
The University takes a strict view of cheating in any form, deceptive fabrication, plagiarism and violation of intellectual property and copyright laws. Any student who is found to have engaged in such misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the University.
Source: NUS Office of Student Affairs website (www.nus.edu.sg/osa/coc)
NUS Notice on the NUS Code of Conduct
NUS students are expected to maintain and uphold the highest standards of integrity and honesty at all times, as well as embrace community standards, diversity and mutual respect for one another, both within the University and the wider Singapore community.
The Code of Student Conduct (published by the Office of Student Affairs) is intended to guide students' conduct in both the academic and non-academic aspects of their University life by providing an overview of the behavior generally expected of them as a member of the University community.
One of the fundamental principles on which this Code is based is that of "Academic, Professional, and Personal Integrity".
In this respect, it is important to note that all students share the responsibility for upholding the academic standards and reputation of the University. Academic honesty is a prerequisite condition in the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge.
Academic dishonesty is any misrepresentation with the intent to deceive or failure to acknowledge the source or falsification of information or inaccuracy of statements or cheating at examinations/tests or inappropriate use of resources. There are many forms of academic dishonesty and plagiarism is one of them. Plagiarism is generally defined as ‘the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own' (The New Oxford Dictionary of English). The University does not condone plagiarism.
Students should adopt this rule - You have the obligation to make clear to the assessor which is your own work, and which is the work of others. Otherwise, your assessor is entitled to assume that everything being presented for assessment is being presented as entirely your own work. This is a minimum standard. In addition, the following guidelines will provide some assistance.
When using the ideas, phrases, paragraphs and data of others in work presented for assessment, such materials should be appropriately credited and acknowledged, so that it is clear that the materials being presented is that of another person and not the student's own.
The amount of detail required when referencing and acknowledging a source will vary according to the type of work and norms of the discipline. For instance,
Supervised examinations will require less detail in referencing and acknowledgement.
Papers written other than under examination conditions will require a full citation of all the sources utilised. While a particular style of citation is not prescribed, the citation should provide enough information for the reader to locate the sources cited.
Research materials (including texts, graphics and data) obtained from the internet or other electronic resources should be treated in the same way as research materials obtained from traditional sources.
Any student found to have committed or aided and abetted the offence of plagiarism may be subject to disciplinary action. In addition, the student may receive no grade for the relevant academic assignment, project, or thesis; and he/she may fail or be denied a grade for the relevant subject or module. Such a student caught plagiarizing would have to take that module for grade and not be allowed to exercise the S/U option for that module.
A student may not knowingly intend to plagiarise, but that should not be used as an excuse for plagiarism. Students should seek clarification from their instructors or supervisors if they are unsure whether or not they are plagiarising the work of another person.
Source: NUS Registrar’s Office website (http://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/adminpolicy/acceptance.html)
To ensure that students taking CELC courses understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, they are required to view the e-module entitled NUS Academic Culture module and read the articles listed below. Students will then have to take a quiz on plagiarism in the CELC module that they are taking.
Academic Culture Module
Click on the following link and view at least the two sections on “Plagiarism” and “Penalties”: http://emodule.nus.edu.sg/ac/launch.htm
Go to Academic Ethics > Plagiarism
This section answers the questions:
What is plagiarism?
How can plagiarism be avoided?
Go to Academic Ethics > Penalties
This section answers the questions
What happens when someone is caught for plagiarism?
Does being found guilty of plagiarism mean expulsion from the University?
Articles on Plagiarism
Click on the links below and read the three articles on plagiarism.
“Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It”
“Plagiarism and How to Avoid It”