Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 201800146
Transformation of knowledge in a digital age
Course info
Course module201800146
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. A. Weber
dr. K. Karaca
dr. A. Weber
Contactperson for the course
dr. A. Weber
Academic year2021
Starting block
Application procedure-
Registration using OSIRISYes
This course connects to the final qualification K6, S1, S5, S6, S7, S10 of the PSTS programme, according to the following learning objectives:
At the end of this course, the student is able to:
  1. Examine and evaluate different views on the evolution/rise of computing in society in the long 20th century and thereby
  2. Examine and evaluate  different views on the limitations, benefits, and potential risks of the use of automated (computerized/algorithmic) systems in various societal domains. (Knowledge/insight oriented)
  3. Examine and evaluate different views on the kinds of potential societal problems arising from the prevalent use of computing technologies and provide recommendations as to how these problems should be addressed. (Skill oriented)
  4. Critique, construct and formulate different views on  the implications of the rise of computing in society from a long-term, societal, and epistemological perspective. (Skill     oriented)
  5. Develop formal research skills in the domains of philosophy and long-term development of science and technology. This means that students learn to construct and author an argumentative essay.
o   Select relevant literature and gradually zoom in
o   Identify gaps in arguments/unanswered questions
o   Formulate a problem statement/ research question
o   Choose and account for relevant theoretical approaches
o   Select and account for fitting methods of analysis (broadly conceived)
o   Gather  ‘data’ (whether insights from literature or more empirical data)
o   Interpret findings
o   Reflexively answer the research question

The rise of computation in society has a tremendous impact on how we think about science, culture, and society. In the course Transformations of Knowledge in a Digital Age we discuss and critically analyse the intricate relationship between computation and scientific and other forms of knowledge production. By approaching computing (e.g. machine learning) from a long-term and philosophical epistemological perspective, this course considers society not just a context in which computing and related scientific and technological activities takes place, but as a both as constituting element of their dynamics and evolving consequence thereof. Taken together this course aims at preparing students for pursuing their own research in an exciting field of interdisciplinary inquiry.
The course also includes a research skills component, where students have to identify a problem and formulate a problem statement/research question. In order to do so, they have to a] review the available research literature (partly based on suggestions by the lecturers) and b] present their findings in the form of presentations, a problem statement, and an argumentative essay. Ideally, students come to this course with
  1. a sound background in basic theories and concepts of philosophy of science, long-term development of science and technology and STS.
  2. They should be able to gather and critically reflect upon ‘data’ (whether insights from literature or more empirical data) and appropriate them for own problem statements
Teaching methods:
  • In-depth discussion of papers
  • Mini-lectures (introducing theme of next week)
  • Joint discussions of readings on topic of the week
At the end of the course students will be able to…
  • Students will be able to identify lines of argumentation and give short presentations and lead discussions on assigned texts
  • Present an outline of their final papers, and will be able to integrate feedback from teachers and other students
  • Comment on the papers of others.
  • To write an argumentative paper related to the themes discussed in class.

Attendance is obligatory

The final course grade will be based on the following grading components:
  • 30% weekly assignments & occasional presentation,
  • 70% essay
Each component of the final grade has to be graded sufficient or more (i.e. 5.5 or more).
Assumed previous knowledge
Required: 40 EC from the PSTS year #1 courses completed.
Advised: 201400574 History of Science and Technology, 201400573 Philosophy of Science in Practice, 201200064
Science and Technology Studies,
202000252 TechnoLab.
Participating study
Master Philosophy of Science, Technology and Soc.
Required materials
Links to papers and book chapters will be provided in Canvas; 2 papers for each session Indication of literature: • For Philosophy part: epistemology of automated or machine based reasoning • For LTD part: long-term development of automata/learning machines
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Assignment and essay

Kies de Nederlandse taal