Digital Ethics
Philosophy and Computer Science

Professor Diane Michelfelder 

  • What are the privacy issues surrounding the use of contact-tracing apps? 
  • What are the implications of content moderation on Facebook and other social media platforms? 

Why should I take this course? Apart from the fact that you’ll have tons of fun, this course syncs nicely with the purposes of a liberal arts education, particularly with the value of critical inquiry. Because digital objects are a familiar part of our lives, they tend to recede into the background of our awareness. We forget to ask tough questions about how our use of digital objects impacts us and our own well-being. Our attention tends to stop at the exciting services Internet-enabled digital devices (think Alexa or Fitbit) provide us, so that we don’t think much about what’s going on behind the scenes and how many actors are gathering information about us. If you believe that there’s still something to Socrates’ message that  “the unexamined life is not worth living,” this course is for you.

Selected texts/readings: 

“A Defense of the Rights of Artificial Intelligence” by Eric Schwitzgebel and Mara Garza
“Will Big Data Algorithms Dismantle the Foundations of Liberalism?” by Daniel First

Do philosophy: This course gives you the opportunity to do philosophy yourself, including bettering your skills at close reading, imaginative and critical thinking, at participation in philosophical discussion, and in argumentative writing within the context of philosophical inquiry.

October 29 2020

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