Digital Ethics

Complete a foundational course in the liberal arts through an intensive, six-day residency on our storied Hyde Park campus.

Apply
Ivy-covered rooftop in summer.

Study in historic campus buildings, attend educational and social events, explore local landmarks, and engage in rigorous classroom discussion.

UChicago’s Residential Seminar, Digital Ethics, is designed for lifelong learners seeking to rigorously engage big ethical questions during an immersive educational experience. 

Ivy-covered window in summer.

The course will take place from Sunday, April 30th, through Friday, May 5th, and will feature a course from our Master of Liberal Arts program taught by Daniel Moerner, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.

Through a discussion-rich classroom experience, learners will become familiar with classic debates in applied ethics paired with case studies from recent developments in digital technology.

Advanced technology is now integrated into every part of our lives. Often without thinking carefully about the consequences, we have built the Internet, shared our lives on Twitter and Facebook, and pursued research on AI and the technological enhancement of the human body. The goal of philosophy of technology is to step back and reflect on these developments, by bringing together the work of philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists. This project is also forward-looking, inviting us to think about the norms that we should use to guide continued technological development.

The philosophy of technology is an exciting and broad field. This course serves as an in-depth introduction to the fields of applied ethics and technology studies. Over the course of the week, we will pair classic debates in applied ethics with case studies from recent developments in technology. Our goal is to come to a deeper understanding of how we should act in the digital age.

Potential topics for interrogation include: privacy, cryptocurrency, intellectual property and piracy, AI and consciousness, and algorithmic bias. Some of the questions we hope to discuss include: Do people have a right to be forgotten on the internet? How can we balance privacy with the openness of social media? What is cryptocurrency? To what extent should it be legitimate to pursue genetic enhancement of humans? What would be the moral implications of broad legalization of drugs like Adderall? Who’s responsible when someone is harassed on Twitter? How much should we worry about nuclear war or the possibility that we are living in the Matrix?

The full course syllabus is available here. Please note that this is a draft and is subject to change.

Headshot of Daniel Moerner.

Daniel Moerner joined the faculty in Autumn 2019 as an Assistant Professor. He received his BA in Philosophy and Classics from Pomona College in 2013 and an M. Phil. in Classics (Ancient Philosophy) from the University of Cambridge in 2014. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Yale University in 2019.

Daniel's interests extend broadly across the history of philosophy. He specializes in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophy, particularly the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza. Daniel's research on Spinoza is driven by an attempt to understand how much of Spinoza's Ethics is an expression of adequate knowledge by Spinoza's own lights. In a number of papers and a larger, developing book-length project, he argues that surprisingly little of the Ethics expresses adequate knowledge. Daniel also has research interests in ancient Greek philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and early analytic philosophy.

 

Students in the Residential Seminar are asked to reserve their own accommodations. Students wishing to stay in Hyde Park are encouraged to consider The Study at the University of Chicago and The Sophy Hyde Park, which are adjacent to campus.

We offer the Residential Seminar as a non-credit course for $2,995.

If you are accepted into the program, a deposit of $500 will be requested within one week of acceptance to hold your spot. Balances will be due by April 10th, 2023.

Note: Students in the Master of Liberal Arts may complete this seminar as a for-credit Spring Quarter course (with assignments and grades) by reaching out to Tim Murphy (Director of the MLA program) at timmurphy@uchicago.edu.

The Residential Seminar is open to lifelong learners seeking a rigorous learning experience, including Graham School students, UChicago alumni, and friends of the University.

To apply, please click on the ‘Apply’ button at the top of the page, then fill out and submit the Application Form. The application deadline is Friday, March 24.

Note: Students in the Master of Liberal Arts may complete this seminar as a for-credit course (with assignments and grades) by reaching out to Tim Murphy (Director of the MLA program) at timmurphy@uchicago.edu

The University of Chicago implemented COVID-19 vaccination-related requirements for students and staff. Students and employees must show proof of receiving any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or by the World Health Organization (WHO). Further, as of January 24, 2022, all students and staff will need to submit proof of receiving a COVID-19 booster shot.

The well-being of students in the Residential Seminar will be our highest priority. To that end, we will follow the health and safety guidelines in place at the time of the Seminar.

A $500 per person deposit is required upon acceptance of your application. The balance of the fee is due no later than April 10, 2023. All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing and will be subject to a $250 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations received between April 11, 2023 and April 24, 2023 will result in a forfeiture of 60% of the program cost per person. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after April 24, 2023. In the event of the cancellation of the program by the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, a full refund of tuition will be given.

The University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies have no responsibility in whole or in part for any loss, death, damage, or injury to person or property or accident, mechanical defect, failure or negligence of any nature howsoever caused in connection with any accommodation, transportation, or other services. The right is retained to decline to accept or retain any person as a Seminar member should such person’s health, mental condition, physical infirmity, or attitude jeopardize the operation of the Seminar or the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of other participants.