Scribner Seminar Program
Instructor(s): Peter Murray, Philosophy
Digital technologies have transformed how we live our lives, and they may soon alter the actual nature of those lives. In this course, we will draw on law, psychology, sociology, gender studies, philosophy, fiction, and film to critically engage with an interrelated suite of legal, practical, psychological, ethical, and metaphysical issues on the theme of Digital Life. These issues include: Have online forms of social engagement and activism become important enough that we now have a human right to Internet access? Are our on- and offline lives and identities fundamentally different, and what are the implications of a life spent increasingly online for our identity and sense of self, for the harms we might suffer and the responsibilities we bear? In the future, could a computer, robot, or even a digital entity inside a computer be alive or a person and so have rights of its own? And could we ourselves come someday to live in computers as coded patterns gleaned from scanning the neural connections in our brains? If so, what would that imply for what we essentially are?
*For the fourth credit hour, this seminar will participate in FYE ID, designed to educate students about power, privilege, and social identities, and to help them develop dialogue and reflection skills to engage productively with and across social differences. This weekly program consists of six lectures alternating across the semester with six small-group discussions.