This is the second edition of this training, conducted by the Institut Curie and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) as part of the “SPIF Doc” 2016 call for tenders, combining philosophical reflection, historical studies and discussions on the ethical issues of scientific knowledge. It has become indispensable to all those who will work tomorrow in research or, more generally, in all the professions related to it. It will enable them not only to improve their research approach but also to develop a civic conscience on these issues, and to be better prepared for dialogue with the Society.

This module, aiming to better understand the nature of scientific knowledge, to appreciate their place in our societies, and to discern ethical issues related to both the development of this knowledge and its application, took place from November 10, 2017 to June 8, 2018.

From Ethics of Robotics to Ethics of Robots



What should the ethics be for robotics? Dominique Lambert starts his lecture by summarizing the legal and ethical problems facing human society with the development of autonomous systems. After having given a definition for robots and robotics, Lambert continues with the description of the different types of interactions between humans and machines. He then evokes essays and laws on robotics and recalls some of the philosophical points of view on responsibility. As a conclusion, Lambert proposes an ethical guideline for the future development of robotics.

Differences between humans and (other) animals and ethical consequences

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Are human beings like any other animals? This is the question Georges Chapouthier answers by showing the thin limits between animality and humanity. Chapouthier starts his lecture by summarizing the human point of view on animals throughout history, and then recalls the similarities between human beings and animals, culture-wise and intelligence-wise. To prove his point, he gives numerous examples of elephants, monkeys, dolphins and birds that demonstrate their culture and intelligence. Chapouthier ends his presentation by listing the characteristics that make human beings different from animals among which are the concept of duration, the use of imagination, and the importance of neoteny.

Researchers’ Roles in Responsible Conduct of Research



Why and how do scientists have to be responsible? Michele Garfinkel starts her lecture by presenting the scientific organization she is working for, EMBO. She first describes the “Science Policy Programme” developed at EMBO that examines concerns emerging from advances in scientific research, and then explains that the program helps strengthen research integrity by underlining conflicts of interest. Garfinkel defines what a conflict of interest is before giving examples of such conflicts. She finishes her lecture by talking about the scientific publishing system at EMBO, developing a few examples about accepted or refused scientific papers, and describing new approaches to improve scientific responsibilities.

From a Latourian perspective to feminist epistemology: Using social studies of science to build stronger research & fruitful science & society interactions



How can sociology and anthropology help science to improve? This is the question Livio Riboli-Sasco discusses in his lecture. He starts by explaining Merton’s scientific values of universalism, communism, disinterestedness and organized skepticism. He also underlines the cultural rituals of research in laboratories. He then shows how scientists’ social backgrounds influence the research they do and the results they find. This observation leads him to stress the need for diversity of perspectives in science. At the end of his lecture, Livio Riboli-Sasco develops examples of how to include laypersons in scientific research. He advocates for a slower process of research and asks for more time to consult with society.

The new life of scientific drawing

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How can drawing make science easier to understand? Renaud Chabrier starts the lecture with an overview on the relationship between science and drawing throughout history. He exposes a variety of examples including Lorenzetti’s painting, Da Vinci’s drawings and Bosch’s sketches. Matthieu Piel then sums up the main steps of his research on cell migration. He expounds on the “Migrate with cells” project he has developed with Renaud Chabrier. He also talks about his collaboration with Ana-Maria Lennon-Duménil and the movie he has made for the American Society for Cell Biology. The lecture ends with a presentation of Globule, an illustrated book that makes cell biology accessible to the general public.