227-0809-00L  Ethics in Technology

SemesterHerbstsemester 2023
DozierendeP. Kirchschläger
Periodizitätjährlich wiederkehrende Veranstaltung


227-0809-00 VEthics in Technology2 Std.
Di12:15-14:00ETZ E 8 »
P. Kirchschläger


KurzbeschreibungShould we use this technology or not? What are the ethical opportunities and risks of this technological application? Should we always pursue all that is technically possible? What is ethics? How do ethics and technologies relate to each other? Does ethics hinder technological progress? How can ethics foster innovation? Which ethical theory should we apply in a global research-context? The course
LernzielIn times of fast technological progress and rapid technology-based innovation, being able to distinguish on ethical grounds what is technically feasible from all that is technically possible proves to be essential for a humane and sustainable future for humanity and for the planet. The aim of this introductory course is to introduce the ethics of technology by discovering different ethical theories and models while applying them to concrete technological innovations.
InhaltThis course considers the correlation between ethics and technologies. The relationship of ethics and technologies will be explored as reciprocal, with each contributing to the other. Applications of groundbreaking technologies often reshape the ethical environment by creating new solutions to societal challenges and new value. At the same time, scientists and technologists all perform their work within an ethically informed context. Meanwhile, ethics contributes to technology by stimulating technological innovation, by recognizing technological inventions, and by providing ethical guidance.
Ethics bears on technology even by setting the parameters in which research, discussions, and studies can be conducted. No one should delude themselves that freedom of research cannot be infringed. New ideas and discoveries have always faced suppression on ethical grounds, because they represent challenges to putative “absolute truths” or undermine the enforcement of economic or political power structures. Even in today’s world, the danger of members of the technology community not being able to conduct their research freely and independently still exists.
At the same time, ethics can limit technology as well. For example, health and safety guidelines, patents, intellectual property rights, competition policy, consumer protection, and ethical codes of conduct belong to this category. This impact of ethics can be perceived as blocking and hindering technological innovation. In reality, ethics is only informing the innovation process that not everything that is doable is ethically good and should be done. At this point, different ethical theories and models need to be considered in order to gain ethical guidance.
LiteraturSimon Blackburn (2021). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gregory J. Robson, Jonathan Y. Tsou (eds.) (2023). Technology Ethics A Philosophical Introduction and Readings. London: Routledge.

Sven Nyholm (2023). This is Technology Ethics: An Introduction. Hoboken: Wiley.

Peter G. Kirchschlaeger (2023). Ethical Decision-Making. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag.

Peter G. Kirchschlaeger (2021). Digital Transformation and Ethics: Ethical Considerations on the Robotization and Automatization of Society and Economy and the Use of Artificial Intelligence. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag.


Information zur Leistungskontrolle (gültig bis die Lerneinheit neu gelesen wird)
Leistungskontrolle als Semesterkurs
ECTS Kreditpunkte2 KP
PrüfendeP. Kirchschläger
Formunbenotete Semesterleistung
RepetitionRepetition ohne erneute Belegung der Lerneinheit möglich.
Zusatzinformation zum PrüfungsmodusThe ungraded semester performance entails a presentation.


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