PHIL 217: Computer Ethics - Spring 2022
PHIL 217: Computer Ethics
Colin Patrick TTh 9:40 - 11:10 am
I am a philosopher by trade but have a strong interest in history, which I see as a deeply philosophical discipline, as it often helps us see that so much of what we’re familiar with in our world, and often take for granted as being a permanent and timeless aspect of human life and experience, has not always been so. This is especially so when considering the history of technology from a philosophical standpoint, something that has been a focus of my teaching and research since coming to Lewis and Clark in 2016.
The information, communication, and computer technologies that have emerged over the last few decades, in particular, have given rise to a number of profound shifts in – and serve to raise philosophical questions about – our reality, life, consciousness, and moral expectations. How much privacy should – or can – I expect in the digital age? How do smartphones affect my ability to pay attention and remember what I read and hear, and how have they affected human communication? Does social media connect us, or alienate us from one another and even from ourselves? Do AI algorithms and computerized automation correct for, or further entrench, human prejudices? How should we think about the “big four” tech companies that shape commerce, research, social life, and communication to such a huge extent today? These are among the questions we’ll be exploring in my section of PHIL 217: Computer Ethics in Spring 2022.