This course philosophically investigates the impact of technologies on human beings and the various practices we engage in. Drawing on the traditions of philosophy of technology and post-phenomenology, the course asks: what is the role of technologies in the construction of human reality? Do technologies add to our quality of life? Where does the human stop and the technology begin? Are some technologies “better” or “worse” than others? What is “new” in the gadgets we are accustomed to calling new technologies? How are science and technology related? Is art possible without technology? Are computer games “less real” than football or badminton?
The philosophical questions covered by lectures and in-class discussions based on assigned readings will be rooted on the level of everyday through self-reflective experiments involving technological deprivation and diary-keeping which will be followed up by in-class presentations and/or short papers. The philosophical thinking about technology in this class will ultimately culminate in the final papers.
This course aims at presenting the student with a variety of philosophical viewpoints regarding technology in the contexts of science, art, and everyday life, allowing each student A) to arrive at their own reasoned standpoint regarding the role of technology in the contexts of both contemporary life and their own discipline-specific practices and B) express this standpoint both orally and in writing.
This will be achieved through 1) lectures, demonstrations and screenings which present case studies of individual technologies and their use-contexts, paying special attention to the ways in which technologies are embedded in practices of scientific research, artistic creation, communication and entertainment, 2) exercises that practically examine the relationships between humans, technologies and the world and 3) discussions that aim at critical assessment of contemporary claims about technology, both utopias and dystopias (such as instances of “hype” and “media panic”)