An interdisciplinary speaker series on contemporary moral issues

Gene editing. Artificial intelligence. A changing climate. Intersections of technology, values and communities in our rapidly changing world raise important ethical questions. Join us for a series of lectures by nationally renowned researchers, thinkers and leaders who will explore contemporary issues, ethically speaking.

Schedule 2023-24

Rosalyn Berne

Non-human Animals and a New Ethics for Engineering

Dr. Rosalyn W. Berne • October 25, 2023 at 10 a.m. EDT

In-person UCF Main Campus, Physical Sciences Building, Rm 160 / 161

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Earth’s animal populations have declined by an average of 69% since 1970, partly due to unsustainable use of land, water, energy, and resulting climate change. Indeed, non-human animals have long been disregarded and devalued under the rationalist worldview at the foundation of engineering design and practice. By disconnecting our human identity from Earth’s non-human others, essentially treating them as technologies for our use, we humans have put ourselves at risk. The speaker will trace some of the ways in which animals have been relegated as fodder and as natural resources to be engineered for human purposes and suggest that a new engineering ethics is essential if we are to address the moral and material urgencies we are now facing.

Rosalyn W. Berne is the Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics; Chair of the Department of Engineering and Society in the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Director of the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (OEC). Dr. Berne explores the intersecting realms of emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and the links between the human and non-human worlds. She has published two academic books — Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning, and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology and Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction; numerous conference papers and journal articles; Waiting in the Silence: A sci-fi novel with an ethics focus; and two award winning books in the genre of body-mind-spirit: When the Horses Whisper, and Waking to Beauty. Dr. Berne served for two years as Director of the Center for Engineering Ethics at National Academy of Engineering, and presently serves on the Ethics Committee of the ASEE.

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Sponsors of Ethically Speaking

  • Center for Ethics, UCF
  • Colleges of Graduate Studies, UCF
  • College of Science, UCF
  • College of Community Innovation and Education, UCF
  • CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, UCF
  • College of Arts and Humanities, UCF
  • Office of Compliance, Ethics, and Risk, UCF
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering