CS050 -- Information & Computation: History & Ethics
(last updated 10/24/2008)
Questions generated in class (10/24/2008). There are some real gems among these. Check out what these students are asking!
main teaching page
Time and place: Mon., Wed. & Fri., 8:00-9:05, Bauder Hall 101.
For the class schedule, see our Eureka page.
Current Westmont students have grown up around computers and the
Internet. As such, they do not remember and tend not to understand the
revolution that has taken place over the last 50 years (and continues
to take place). But the roots of the information revolution run
much deeper than the last 50 or even 100 years. As information
technologies have been introduced over the last tens of thousands of
years(!), humanity has manipulated the world using these technologies
and has itself been changed as a result.
In this course, we will consider seek philosophical perspectives on
information and computation technologies, focus on the changes or
adaptations that humanity has embraced over this time. The course has been approved to satisfy Westmont's GE requirement, Philosophical Reflections on Truth and Value.
particularly address the ethical considerations embedded in various
information technologies. To accomplish this, we will review ethical
theories that have been proposed by philosophers and then consider how
these respective theories apply to issues raised by technology. That
is, we will be examining the historical evolution of information
technology from a perspective of ethics. Or in other words, we will
look at information and computation in historical and ethical
perspectives. In addition, we will look at the metaphysics of
information and computation, in turn leading us to epistemological
concerns with the interaction between minds and information.
In addition to the content described above, a significant objective of
this course is to develop students' skills in the areas of critical
reading, question asking, writing, conversation and debate. While not
strictly a "freshman seminar," the class should help build general
scholastic skills that will support students' success in college. We
intend for this course to provide a foundation from which students can
critically evaluate the informational and computational knowledge and
skills they learn in computer science major. We suggest the class be
taken during the first two years of study so that it can serve as the
opening bookend, which is closed with the senior seminar (CS195).