Skip to main content

Instructor: Samuel Dishaw. This course meets TR 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. in CW 105.

Most of our interactions with one another are now mediated by technology. We get our news on social media, buy goods online, and find love on dating apps. In doing so, we rely on technology to do things for us: to select what articles we should read, to predict what we might want to buy, or which relationships would make us happy. Our central aim in this course will be to examine the ethical and political implications of relying on technology in this way. We will interrogate how technology changes our relation to what is valuable, and amplifies forms of power that some get to wield over others.

Throughout the course, we will cover some of the central topics in the ethics of technology: discrimination and algorithmic fairness; opaque algorithms and the right to explanation; big data and privacy; fake news and free speech; and the role of big tech in modern democracies.

We will use the tools of moral and political philosophy to diagnose problematic implications of the way technology shapes central areas of human life. But we will also use these same tools to examine potential solutions to these problems which might be implemented as a matter of public policy. Our guiding question will be one about a positive ideal: what is justice in a world in which our relations are mediated by technology?


Have registration questions? Our PPE Administrators can helpPlease email them at for assistance.