Biotechnology, Altering Nature, and Being Human


What is the course about?

GDAR1805/GDSC1805 integrates knowledge in molecular biology and philosophy (including the religious perspectives). New biotechnology is a key part of the biological revolution in the 21st century, which makes news headlines from time to time. It includes assisted reproduction, genetic therapy, genetic engineering, cloning, and stem cell manipulation. It can modify our food and our environment, alter ourselves and our offspring. It offers high hopes and arouses deep fears at the same time. This course is divided into 3 parts:

  • Part I: Biology – understanding the molecular biology behind the latest biotechnological advances (e.g., molecular cloning, stem cell, the Human Genome Project, regenerative medicine).

  • Part II: From Biology to Philosophy – understanding the notions of “nature,” “altering nature,” improving nature,” and “unnatural” from both the biological and philosophical perspectives.

  • Part III: Philosophical Anthropology – exploring how we can set the moral guidelines so that, via biotechnological intervention of nature, human beings will neither play God nor play slave of nature, but just being human. This course begins with basic literacy in molecular biology and ends with the philosophical puzzle, “what is humanity?”

Course Code Offering Department(s) Areas of Learning Units & Hours
GDAR1805 BIOL ARTS (3,2,1)
Download the course syllabus


IGEThis is an interdisciplinary GE (IGE) course.
  1. One IGE course is listed for more than 1 area of learning. You can decide which area of learning you would like the course to fulfill, by enrolling in the course with the corresponding course code.

Notes for all GE courses

  • You can take a maximum of 6 additional units of GE courses from any categories as electives.