Center for Inquiry


For general information about our online classes,
plesae visit the CFI Institute Online.


Science and Ethics: Crossroads and Conundrums
CFI Institute Online Seminar
(SEC 238-0413)
April 1 – April 30, 2013

Instructor: David Koepsell, JD, PhD

In this course we will look at two facets of the fields broadly defined as "science" and "ethics." First, what relation does science have to ethics, if any? Is there a way to reconcile them, as some philosophers have tried, by attempting a scientific approach to ethical theory, or are they, like religion and science, "non-overlapping magesteria?" Second, we will also look at how ethics and science have intersected and interacted in modern "applied" ethics, specifically bioethics, but also in other fields broadly described by the term "research ethics." In preparation for the course, students are recommended to purchase and read Science and Ethics by Paul Kurtz and David Koepsell (Prometheus, 2007).


Your Instructor:

koepsellDavid Koepsell, JD, PhD, was executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism from 2003-2008. Since then, he has been an assistant professor of philosophy at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he teaches ethics and engineering as well as research ethics to masters and PhD students. He holds a law degree (1995) and PhD in Philosophy (1997) from the University at Buffalo, and has authored and edited numerous books, as well as popular and scholarly articles, and has spoken to audiences worldwide on issues relating to civil rights, secularism, science and technology, ethics, humanism, and ontology. He has provided commentary on these topics in a variety of media outlets including: MSNBC, Fox News Channel, The Guardian, NPR, and the Associated Press, among others. His complete CV can be found at


About CFI Institute Online seminars:

CFI 200-level seminar courses are taught at an intellectual level equivalent to an introductory college course. We expect students to participate in the class discussion at their own chosen pace, and there are no other writing requirements and no grading. These classes are entirely online — everything for the course except the book is provided on a CFI website. You will read the course lectures, follow links to other webpages, ask your questions, and participate in class discussion with the instructors and other students on our website.

There is no specific time that you must be online. There is no "live" part to these courses, and you cannot miss anything even if you can only get online at 6am or 11pm — you can log in and participate anytime, day or night, 24/7. Completion of eight courses at the Expertise 200-level is rewarded with the Institute's Certificate of Expertise.

Online courses are now jointly advertised by the Center for Inquiry and the American Humanist Association, and both organizations encourage their members and affiliates to consider taking them. Online courses are the most visible sign that CFI and the AHA have entered a cooperative relationship on some educational programming. That cooperation is facilitated by Dr. John R. Shook, who now serves as education coordinator for both CFI and AHA.

This is a one-month online seminar course, running from April 1, 2013 through April 30, 2013.

Seminar Fees:
$70 for general registration; $60 for Friends of the Center; and $30 for students (valid educational institution email address required.)

 Ready to sign up? Register online here.


Explore our other educational opportunities at the CFI Education page
Questions? Email a CFI Institute representative
or phone (202) 629-2403 ext. 200.
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