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PHI 112 — The Philosophy of Technology and Our Technological Future

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 17—Mar 21
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 30
Units: 2
Tuition: $460
Instructor(s): Forrest Hartman
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Jan 17—Mar 21
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 30
2 Units
Forrest Hartman
Technology informs and shapes every aspect of modern life. Already having reconfigured social life, technology is also redefining, through biotechnologies and artificial intelligence, what it means to be human. The urgent task of the philosophy of technology is to awaken awareness and provide perspective on the technology that is already well under way so that we may be in a position to evaluate the claims of both the techno-pessimists and the techno-optimists. Should we embrace technology unquestionably and enjoy its benefits, or should we be wary of the ways in which it is taking over our lives?

The philosophy of technology is an inquiry into the nature and impact of technology as a social, cultural, and historical phenomenon that raises fundamental questions that we will examine closely in this course. What is technology? Is it merely an innocent, malleable tool, the application of scientific knowledge for beneficial, humane ends and therefore something neutral over which we have control? Or is it a drive to power, the end of which is to conquer nature and to exploit people? We will address these critical questions during this ten-week course. Along the way, we will read a variety of essays in an anthology, Readings in the Philosophy of Technology, edited by David M. Kaplan, including Martin Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology,” considered by many as the most influential essay in the field. Students will come away with resources for addressing how we are to adjust to our technological future.

Forrest Hartman, Senior Adjunct Professor in Critical Studies, California College of the Arts

Forrest Hartman’s research interests are based in the history of ideas and cultural studies, especially the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. He received a PhD in rhetoric/philosophy from UC Berkeley and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) David M. Kaplan, Readings in the Philosophy of Technology, 2nd Edition (ISBN 978 - 0742564015)