Ethics of technology

Course No.: L.048.65014

Type: V2, no exercise

Credits: 3

Semester: Summer semester

Schedule and Location:

Schedule ist negotiable.

Indroductory meeting schedule will be published on PAUL.

Short description

The lecture gives an introduction into philosophy and ethics of technology. The students shall be enabled to assess technical progress from an interdisciplinary perspective and to understand the relationship of technology with other important spheres of life. The attendants will also learn about prerequisites of ethical assessments as well as how ethical assessments can be deduced by means of ethical reasoning. The lecture will be held in German. The courses will be graded based on a seminar paper (20 to 30 pages) and a presentation.


The lecture is subdivided in 3 parts:

Part I: Analysis of technology and consequences technology

  • Definition of technology and objectives for technology development
  • Relationship of technology and natural science
  • Historical foundations of technology in middle ages and modern times (Aristoteles, Bacon, Descartes, Galileo, Popper)
  • Relationship of economy and technology
  • Relationship of man and technology

Part II: Conflicting developments of technology (“dialectics of technology)

  • Technical liberation
  • Technical wish fulfilment
  • Contradictions and limits of technological progress
  • Objectives of technical construction

Part III: Ethics of Technology

  • Ethics vs. morality
  • Hume’s law (“natural fallacy”)
  • Epistemic conditions of ethics
  • Basic ethic concepts (virtue ethics, deontology, teleological ethics)
  • Exemplary Ethics

          - Aristoteles
          - Utilitarism
          - Kant
          - Christian ethics
          - Postmodern ethics
          - Naturalistic ethics

The course can be taken within the module “soft skills” in the Bachelor Computer Engineering or within “Studium Generale” in Bachelor / Master Electrical Engineering.


  • Dieter Wandschneider “Technikphilosophie” C. C. Buchner, Bamberg, 2004
  •  Dietmar Hübner „Einführung in die philosophische Ethik“, Vandenoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 2014