Philosophy of Technology (Undergraduate)
A free verse rendition of the most famous passage from the Zhuangzi. From Kuang-Ming Wu, The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu, State University of New York Press, Albany NY, 1990, p. 115.
|PHIL-SHU 130||1555 Century Avenue, Room 303||Wednesdays, 5:00pm to 8:00pm|
|Anna Greenspanemail@example.com||1555 Century Avenue||By appointment.|
|Brad Weslakefirstname.lastname@example.org||1555 Century Avenue, Room 961||By appointment.|
This course aims to train students to think philosophically about our rapidly changing—and ever more intimate—relationship with machines. The course is historically oriented, and typically focuses on some of the following subjects: artificial intelligence, robots, cyborgs, automation and science fiction speculation. This semester, we will focus on the theme of simulation. This section is for undergraduate students, enrolled in Shanghai. For the postgraduate section, see here.
The final grade will be determined approximately as follows:
|Attendance and participation:||15%|
|Weekly reading assignments:||15%|
|Midterm Exam:||Posted Wednesday 10 March, Due Wednesday 17 March|
|Final Paper Outline:||Wednesday 21 April|
|Final Paper:||Wednesday 12 May|
|Weekly reading assignments:|
|Outline and final paper:|
Attendance and Lateness
Students are required to attend all classes on time. An explanation for every absence or late attendance must be submitted in writing to the instructors. Every failure to attend class on time will count against the component of the final grade awarded for attendance and participation, unless an explanation is received and approved at least one day prior to the class in question. Requests for exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis, and typically granted only when related to an illness or other unforeseeable change in circumstance. Students who have been excessively absent will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and will be given a final grade of F.
It is a condition on passing this course that students read and adhere to the NYU Shanghai policy on academic integrity as described in the current NYU Shanghai Academic Bulletin. Breaches of academic integrity could result in failure of an assignment, failure of the course, or other sanctions, as determined by the Academic Affairs office.
Assignments are due at the dates and times indicated on this syllabus. The late penalty for the final paper is one component of a letter grade per day (an A becomes an A–, etc.) All other late assignments will receive an F.
You may not use mobile devices in class unless otherwise indicated.
Disability Disclosure Statement
NYU is committed to providing equal educational opportunity and participation for students with disabilities. It is NYU Shanghai’s policy that no student with a qualified disability be excluded from participating in any NYU Shanghai program or activity, denied the benefits of any NYU Shanghai program or activity, or otherwise subjected to discrimination with regard to any NYU Shanghai program or activity. Any student who needs a reasonable accommodation based on a qualified disability is required to register with the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) for assistance. Students can register online through the CSD and can contact the Director of the Academic Resource Center with questions or for assistance. For more information see here.
Title IX Statement
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs. It protects victims of sexual or gender-based bullying and harassment and survivors of gender-based violence. Protection from the discrimination on the basis of sex includes protection from being retaliated against for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment. NYU is committed to complying with Title IX and enforcing University policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. Mary Signor, Executive Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, serves as New York University’s Title IX Coordinator. The University’s Title IX Coordinator is a resource for any questions or concerns about sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, or sexual misconduct and is available to discuss your rights and judicial options. University policies define prohibited conduct, provide informal and formal procedures for filing a complaint and a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.
Links to the Title IX Policy and related documents:
- Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Policy
- Procedures for Complaints Against Students
- Procedures for Complaints Against Employees
- Resource Guide for Students
- Resource Guide for Employees
- A directory containing all course readings can be found here.
- Books on reserve in the NYU Shanghai library can be found here.
Meeting 1: The Western Tradition I: Plato (Wednesday 27 January)
- Plato, c375BC, Republic, Chapter VII. [PDF]
Translated by G.M.A. Grube, revised by C.D.C. Reeve, in John M. Cooper (Ed), Plato: Complete Works, Hackett, Indianapolis IN, 1997, pp. 1132-1155.
- Moss, Jessica. 2006. “Pleasure and Illusion in Plato”, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 72, No. 3, May, pp. 503–535 [PDF]
Meeting 2: The Western Tradition II: Descartes (Wednesday 3 February)
- René Descartes, 1641, Meditations on First Philosophy. [PDF]
Translated by John Cottingham, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 12-62.
Meeting 3: The Western Tradition III: Leibniz and Kant (Wednesday 10 February)
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1695, A New System of the Nature and Communication of Substances, and of the Union of the Soul and Body. [PDF]
Translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Eds), G. W. Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1989, pp. 138–145.
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1714, The Principles of Philosophy, or The Monadology. [PDF]
Translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Eds), G. W. Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, Hackett, Indianapolis, 1989, pp. 213–225.
- Immanuel Kant, 1781, The Critique of Pure Reason, “The Fourth Paralogism”, A367-A380 [PDF]; “Refutation of Idealism”, B274-B279 [PDF]; “Note to Preface of Second Edition”, Bxxxix-Bxli [PDF].
Translated by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998, pp. 425-431; pp. 326-333; pp. 121-122.
Spring Festival: 11–19 February
Meeting 4: Asian Perspectives I: Zhuangzi (Wednesday 24 February)
- Zhuangzi, c350BC, Qiwu Lun. [PDF]
Translated by Burton Watson. 2013. The Complete Works of Zhuangzi, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 7-18.
- Cheng, Kai-Yuan. 2014. “Self and the Dream of the Butterfly in the Zhuangzi”, in Philosophy East and West, Vol. 64, No. 3, July, pp. 563–597 [PDF]
Meeting 5: Asian Perspectives II: Vasubandhu (Wednesday 3 March)
- Vasubandhu, c400, Viṃśatikākārikā and Viṃśatikāvṛtti. [PDF]
Translated by Anacker, Stefan. 2005. Seven Works of Vasubandhu: The Buddhist Psychological Doctor, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, pp. 161-179.
- Amber D. Carpenter, “The Third Turning: Yogācāra”, in Indian Buddhist Philosophy: Metaphysics as Ethics, Routledge, London, 2014, pp. 137-168. [PDF]
Meeting 6: Recurrence: Nietzsche and Deleuze (Wednesday 10 March)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, 1873, “On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense”. [PDF]
Translated by Ladislaus Löb in Raymond Geuss and Alexander Nehamas (Eds), Writings from the Early Notebooks, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009, pp. 253-264.
- Gilles Deleuze, 1966, “Plato and the Simulacrum”. [PDF]
Translated by Rosalind Krauss, October, Vol. 27, Winter 1983, pp. 45-56.
Meeting 7: Feminist Speculations: Irigaray and Plant (Wednesday 17 March)
- Luce Irigaray, 1974, “Any Theory of the “Subject” Has Always Been Appropriated by the “Masculine””. [PDF]
Translated by Gillian C. Gill in Speculum of the Other Woman, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 1985, pp. 133-146.
- Plant, Sadie. 1995. “The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics”, in Body & Society, Vol. 1, No. 3-4, November, pp. 45–64 [PDF]
Meeting 8: The Imitation Game: Turing (Wednesday 24 March)
- Turing, Alan M. 1950. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, in Mind, Vol. 59, No. 236, October, pp. 433–460 [PDF]
- Proudfoot, Diane. 2020. “Rethinking Turing’s Test and the Philosophical Implications”, in Minds and Machines, Vol. 30, No. 4, December, pp. 487–512 [PDF]
Meeting 9: The Experience Machine: Nozick (Wednesday 31 March)
- Robert Nozick “The Experience Machine”, in Anarchy, State and Utopia, Blackwell, Oxford, 1974, pp. 42-45. [PDF]
- Ben Bramble, “The Experience Machine”, in Philosophy Compass, Vol. 11, No. 3, March 2016, pp. 136-145. [PDF]
Qingming: 5–7 April
Meeting 10: The Virtual and the Real: Chalmers (Wednesday 14 April)
- David J. Chalmers, “The Virtual and the Real”, in Disputatio, Vol. 9, No. 46, November 2017, pp. 309-352. [PDF]
Meeting 11: Copy and Simulation I: Baudrillard (Wednesday 21 April)
- Jean Baudrillard, 1981, “The Precession of Simulacra”. [PDF]
Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser in Simulacra and Simulation, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor MI, 1994, pp. 1-42.
Meeting 12: Copy and Simulation II: Byung-Chul Han (Wednesday 28 April)
- Han, Byung-Chul. 2017. Shanzhai: Deconstruction in Chinese, MIT Press, Boston MA [PDF]
Meeting 13: Mind, Body and Self I: The Self in the Virtual World (Wednesday 5 May)
- J. David Velleman, “Virtual Selves”, in Foundations for Moral Relativism, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, 2nd Ed, 2015, pp. 5-21. [PDF]
- C. Thi Nguyen, “Games and the Art of Agency”, in The Philosophical Review, Vol. 128, No. 4, October 2019, pp. 423–462. [PDF]
Meeting 14: Mind, Body and Self II: The Virtual Self in the World (Wednesday 12 May)
- Thomas Metzinger, “Out of the Body and into the Mind: Body Image, Out-of-Body Experiences, and the Virtual Self”, in The Ego Tunnel: The Science of Mind and the Myth of the Self, Basic Books, New York, 2009, pp. 75-114. [PDF]
Updated: 27 April 2021