Philosophy | Introductory Topics in Philosophy
P270 | 3240 | Watling


Topic: Philosophy of Technology

We typically associate the term 'technology' with the invention of
computers, robots, aircraft, audio systems, and other electronic
devices and gadgets, but if we look beyond our own culture at the turn
of the millennium, we find technology extending far beyond such
inventions. In fact, we find it permeating all cultures, all Ages, and
saturating individual worlds to such an extent that one could aptly say
that a culture's technology will largely define that culture.

In this course, we will discover that the technology of a period can
change, among other things: (i) how its people think and what they
think about; (ii) how they view their own and others' cultures, the
environment, and other lifeforms; (iii) how they do things (work,
learn, communicate, travel, develop and maintain relationships...) and
what things they do; and (iv) how they view themselves, i.e., what they
take human nature to be. The thread which weaves through all of these
is that each new discovery/invention has the potential to influence the
shared beliefs and desires, or mindset, of a whole people. In this
course, we will examine this potential, consider concrete examples of
its fruition, and look at the influence of current American technology
on the mindset of its, the American, people.

As much as possible, this course will be taught and studied in
conformity with the technology available to each period under study. In
addition, we will be using historical (sometimes historical fictional)
works/media rather than texts. In other words, to the extent that it's
possible given our immersion in our own technology, we will experience
directly (rather than just read about) how people of earlier cultures
learned.