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Course module: 191612550
191612550
Philosophical Anthropology and Technology
Course infoSchedule
Course module191612550
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. J.G. Zwier
E-mailj.g.zwier@utwente.nl
Lecturer(s)
Lecturer
prof.dr. C. Aydin
Contactperson for the course
dr. J.G. Zwier
Lecturer
dr. J.G. Zwier
Academic year2020
Starting block
2A
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
Aims
This course is open only to students enrolled in the Master PSTS .In case you, being a student from another master’s programme, want to participate in this course, please contact the PSTS staff: y.c.h.dethouars@utwente.nl or m.e.tijhuis@utwente.nl
 

This course connects to the final qualifications K1, K2, K5, S1-4 of the programme, according to the following learning objectives:
 
At the end of the course the student has knowledge of and insight in:
  • the history of philosophical anthropology
  • classical views of philosophical anthropology and technology
  • important approaches (both classical and contemporary) to technology
  • theories that explain the influence of technology on human nature
  • the discussion between bio conservatives and transhumanists
  • different types of technical mediation and extension

Students will also have acquired and improved the following skills
 
  • Reading skills: Understanding different academic ‘genres’
  • Writing skills: Summarizing texts; developing outline, position and line of argument; providing peer reviews; writing academic papers
  • Oral communication skills: Presenting an outline; formulating questions about a presentation
  • Research skills: Position one’s work in the context of the existing literature; formulating research question
 
At the end of the course the student is able to:
  • analyse and reproduce major topics, theories, developments and approaches in philosophical anthropology and their relevance for technology.
  • discuss the merits and shortcomings of theories and ideas related to philosophical anthropology and technology and to compare and contrast different positions with each other.
  • discuss his views with fellow students, write interpretative essays and present his views orally in class
  • show satisfactory competence in writing a philosophical paper.
Content
Course description:

Philosophical anthropology is the discipline that critically reflects upon questions concerning human nature and the human condition. It addresses questions such as: What is a human being? What is (personal) identity? Which cultural and/or natural features constitute human nature? How is the human being different from (other) animals? These questions have been investigated within different frameworks, such as classical Ontology and Epistemology, Idealism and Phenomenology. In the twentieth century authors like Heidegger, Anders and Ellul have warned us for the negative and destructive influence of technology on our life. Authors like Plessner and Gehlen have, implicitly or explicitly, argued that technology plays an important role in the constitution of human nature and identity. According to them humans have always shaped and extended themselves by virtue of technical tools and artefacts. In our modern era technology has become not only an inherent part of scientific investigation and diagnosis but also a constitutive dimension of our culture. This has far reaching bearings on our human condition. Today most scholars in philosophy of technology have embraced the so-called “empirical turn” and focus not on “technology” but on different (emerging) technologies and their impact on society. We will, therefore, not only focus on classical approaches to technology but also on specific technologies and technological developments in an anthropological context.

In this course we will investigate how technology has influenced and constituted human nature and human existence. We will discuss 1) foundational perspectives in the history of philosophical anthropology; 2) classical views of philosophical anthropology and technology; 3) contemporary perspectives on philosophical anthropology and technology. In the last part of the course the focus will be especially on views that consider the human not as something that is found and pre-established but rather as something that is made and shaped. From that perspective human nature and its faculties (rationality, self-consciousness, agency, autonomy) are not considered as an a-historical given but as the result of a concrete history in which technology plays an important role.

The sessions will consist of both lectures and discussions.   Attendance is obligatory

The assessment is based on a take-home exam and an essay, each contributing for 50% to the final grade. Note: each element has to be graded sufficient (i.e. 5.5 or more in order to complete the course successfully.
Participating study
Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Soc.
Participating study
Master Interaction Technology
Required materials
Course material
Scientific articles available on Canvas and PPT slides
Recommended materials
-
Instructional modes
Colstructie
Presence dutyYes

Tests
Take-home exam and paper

Remark
Take-home exam and paper each contribute 50% to the final grade.You need at least a 5.5 on the take-home exam to pass.

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Kies de Nederlandse taal