Philosophy of Technology

Winter 2018
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

queer studies, philosophy, poetics

Anyone paying attention will have noticed a steady stream of news stories, from sensational to speculative, on topics such as artificial intelligence, human enhancement, robot ethics, sexbots, geoengineering, the dramatic social and psychological effects of new media, and so on. What conceptual tools exist to evaluate the claims about, and discuss the potentials and perils of, emergent technologies? The aim of this reading-intensive philosophy program program is to see in what way thinking about technology affects, informs or distorts our ethics, politics, and aesthetics.

The program will operate as a series of larger and smaller study groups. At the most general level, we will explore whether it is possible to give a broad characterization of the technological phenomenon as such (technology as tool, extension, enframing, cybernetics, or acceleration, for example). We will proceed to examine whether and how the theory and practice of the mechanical arts varies between cultures and traditions (the question of ethnotechnics or cosmotechnics). We will work on clarifying and deploying a full set of concepts around technology, including techniques, machines, apparatuses, networks, and cyborgs. Finally, student research and presentations will explore a series of more punctual topics related to recent events.

Class time will be focused on lecture, close reading, and discussion; students will also form interest- or affinity-based salon groups and discuss on their own, reporting back in class. Assignments will include regular text annotations and two critical essays, with support in and out of class on research and essay writing. Readings will include books and essays by Martin Heidegger, Yuk Hui, Luciana Parisi, Reza Negarestani, and Nick Bostrom.

Fields of study: 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: philosophy and media.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

2017-10-23New winter opportunity added.