Fall 2016 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Amato, Lawrence
Discipline and Number
PHIL 4310 Section 501
MW Time 5:30 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Philosophy of Technology

Description of Course:

We love technology. We rely on it to assist us in our everyday lives. We trust it to provide us with basic utilities, to educate us, to entertain us, to solve our problems, to keep us connected, to unlock the mysteries of the universe. But what is technology? From the hammer to the phone, the bridge to the satellite, the windmill to the power plant: we find technology so interwoven with our lives that we don’t often even recognize it as technology. We often forget that everything we make is a form of technology. From simple tools to advanced instruments, from methodologies to complex systems, we find ourselves always already surrounded by and in some sort of relationship with technology. A relationship that, like technology itself, we do not often think critically about, unless it is to glorify or demonize it.

In an effort to overcome apathetic attitudes and simplistic reductions, this course will take up variations of the following questions: What is technology? What is our relationship to technology? How does technology contribute to our liberation from societal forces and material constraints? How does it not? In what ways does technology invisibly influence our behavior and manner of thinking?

To help us answer these questions we will chiefly consider a wide range of philosophical texts and cultural criticism, as well as a selection of literature and film.

Required Texts:


Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Message board participation
Protocol presentation

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