Philosophy of Science and Technology, GBI
The objective of the course is to introduce students to important philosophical and historical perspectives on science and technology, as well as to more general epistemological and reflexive issues related to business informatics as a social science discipline. Throughout the course, the student will become acquainted with a series of concepts within a selection of thematic fields that can be used to critically interrogate empirical phenomena relating to ‘science’ and ‘technology’.
Philosophy of science and technology provides an introduction to central philosophical perspectives on science, technology and epistemology. The literature introduces students to scientific paradigms such as positivism and social constructivism as well as to contemporary anthropological and sociotechnical perspectives on topics relating to science and technology. Generally, the course focuses on questions on the relation between humans, technologies and knowledge with the aim of teaching the students how to raise critical and reflective concerns about a selection of topics. Amongst the topics are measurement, ranking and algorithms, facts and data, management and organization, body and experience, power and politics.
The aim of the course is three-fold:
1) It teaches students to reflect on the importance of the difference between scientific paradigms: How do we see the world and knowledge production, and what difference does our way of seeing makes for our conclusions and results?
2) It provides students with a broad selection of topics and approaches to the study of science and technology.
3) It teaches students to critically and reflectively apply theoretical concepts to discuss empirical phenomena related to technology and science.
Formal prerequisitesThis course is part of the 4th semester of the bachelor's degree Global Business Informatics.
There are no formal prerequisites for being admitted to the course.
Intended learning outcomes
After the course, the student should be able to:
- Identify and account for key positions in philosophy of science.
- Present relevant concepts from the curriculum accurately, and critically use these concepts in an investigation of selected empirical issues.
- Analyze a selected science and technologies with a particular emphasis on the interactions between IT, the general BSc subject area, and the broader context
- Reflect on a problem of interest that touches upon the relationships between IT and its context (may it be of political, ethical, philosophical, historical, or societal nature) and develop interdisciplinary analytical skills.
The course consists of lectures and exercises. The course is generally based on readings that are presented and discussed in the lecture. In the exercise sessions the students will discuss the readings and perform group work, role play, student presentations,feedback, peer-to-peer feedback, and plenum debate. The teachers employ a variation in teaching activities including video screening while the course anticipates active students’ participation and reflection, oriented towards critical thinking and dialectics.
In the final exam report (10-12 pages) each student individually formulates a relevant question relating to philosophy of science and technology and discusses it with reference to central arguments and concepts from the syllabus. Preparations for class usually involve reading one to two articles and considering specific questions relating to the texts or other illustrations
- Beer, D., 2009. Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious. New Media & Society, 11(6), pp.985-1002.
- Graeber, David. 2015. The Utopia of Rules. On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. Melville House,.
Harraway, Donna J. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies 14(3): 575–599
Holm, Andreas Beck. Philosophy of Science: An Introduction for Future Knowledge Workers. Frederiksberg C: Samfundslitteratur, 2013.
- Jaffee, David. 2001. Organization Theory. Tension and Change. McGraw-Hill International Editions. Sociology Series
- Johnson, Jim. [Bruno Latour]. 1988. Mixing humans and nonhumans together: the sociology of a door-closer. Social Problems 35 (3):298-310.
- Latour, Bruno. 1999. Pandoras' hope. Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press.
- Law, J. & Urry, J. (2004). Enacting the social. Economy and Society, [online] Volume 33(3), pp. 390-410.
- Lupton, Deborah. "The Digital Cyborg Assemblage: Haraway's Cyborg THeory and the New Digital Health Technologies." (2013).
- Mackenzie, A., 2005. The performativity of code: Software and cultures of circulation. Theory, Culture & Society, 22(1), pp.71-92.
- MacKenzie, D., 1978. Statistical theory and social interests: a case-study. Social studies of science, 8(1), pp.35-83.
- Murphy, M., 2017. The economization of life. Duke University Press. Chapter 1. Economy as Atmosphere
- Mol, A., 1999. Ontological politics. A word and some questions. The Sociological Review, 47(1_suppl), pp.74-89.
- Mauss, Macel (1973). Techniques of the body. Economy and Society, 2:1. 70-88.
- Sismondo, S., 2010. An introduction to science and technology studies (Vol. 1). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. '
- Van Heur, B., Leydesdorff, L. and Wyatt, S., 2013. Turning to ontology in STS? Turning to STS through ‘ontology’. Social studies of science, 43(3), pp.341-362.
- Zuboff, Soshana. 2019. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Profile Books.
Student Activity BudgetEstimated distribution of learning activities for the typical student
- Preparation for lectures and exercises: 10%
- Lectures: 50%
- Exercises: 10%
- Exam with preparation: 30%
Ordinary examExam type:
C: Submission of written work, External (7-point scale)
C11: Submission of written work
Individual paper 10-12 pages.