Spring 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Brown, Matt
Discipline and Number
PHIL 4310 Section 001
MW Time 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Course Title
Philosophy of Technology

Description of Course:

Never before in human history has technology been such a pervasive part of our lives. But what does it mean? How should we think about the cultural, ethical, and political effects of technology?

The goal of this course is to learn to think critically about the nature and value of technology. This requires healthy skepticism about two common views about technology:

(1) techno-boosterism—the view that technology is always a force for good, that it will solve all of our problems
(2) ludditism—doom-and-gloom technology bashing.

Instead, we will learn frameworks for thoughtful analysis of particular technologies and technology in general. We will explore questions such as: What is technology? How is it related to science? Is it a good thing for society? What are the responsibilities of its creators? What role does technology play in human nature? How is modern technology changing what it means to be human? Where are we headed?

Required Texts:


* Dusek, Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction
* Kaplan, Readings in Philosophy of Technology, 2nd edition


* Scharff & Dusek, Philosophy of Technology: The Technological Condition
* Technology and Values: Essential Readings, ed. Craig Hanks
* Shrader-Frechette, Technology and Values

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Class participation, research paper (~6-8 pages), group project and presentation on socially responsible technology, midterm and final exam (in class, short answer & essay).

This course satisfies requirements for the ATEC major, for Philosophy, History, or MaSH minors, for upper level Philosophy/Intellectual History credit and upper level Humanities or History electives.

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