Universität Wien FIND

010103 SE New Technologies, Transhumanism and Theological Ethics (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 1 - Katholische Theologie
Continuous assessment of course work
REMOTE

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

Language: English

Lecturers

Classes

Update 11.03.2021:
MO 07.06.2021 09.45-16.30 - digital
DI 08.06.2021 08.00-09.30 - digital
DI 08.06.2021 11.30-13.00 - digital
MI 09.06.2021 09.45-13.00 - digital
MI 09.06.2021 13.15-16.30 - digital
DO 10.06.2021 13.15-14.45 - digital
DO 10.06.2021 15.00-16.30 - digital
FR 11.06.2021 09.45-14.45 - digital


Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Theological ethics is a discipline that analyses and evaluates ethical issues from the point of view of (Christian) faith. Due to the faith's reliance of revelation and tradition, one might argue that theological ethics is ill equipped to address any ethical issues set by new technologies, or to offer anything else except blank condemnation. In that regard, transhumanism - a philosophical outlook that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies able to greatly modify or enhance human intellect and physiology - offers a clear alternative, marked by professed openness to new technologies as a concrete embodiedness of hope for better future.
While both of these accounts (of theological ethics and transhumanism) are too simplistic to allow drawing out any conclusions, they certainly echo a wide public sentiment that is, perhaps, a remnant of the Enlightenment belief in the endless progress (and its opposition to tradition). Thus, the main task of this seminar will be to detect in which ways are the two accounts, sketched above, simplistic by analysing selected ethical issues posed by new technologies from the perspective of theological ethics and transhumanism, respectively. While a part of this analysis and discussion will certainly revolve around ethical acceptability of specific technologies understood as tools that are used within certain fields, the more profound issues emerge as technology is not seen anymore as a tool used to achieve various goals, but as a way of defining ourselves as human beings. While on that level of discussion theological ethics and transhumanism hold very different visions of what a human being is/can become, new technologies remind us that none of these visions can be considered definitive, which also opens up a space for dialogue between proponents of the two visions.

Assessment and permitted materials

contributions to discussions, seminar paper(s), final paper

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The course assessment comprises of three items: class participation and contribution to discussions (30%); presentation of a seminar paper (30%); final paper (40%).

Examination topics

There will be no final exam for which students would have to prepare by studying certain material, but the course teacher will discuss the final paper of each participant with him/her before determining the final grade.

Reading list

Cole-Turner, Ronald (ed.), Transhumanism and Transcendence, Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2011.
Mercer, Calvin, Maher, Derek F. (eds.) Transhumanism and the Body, New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Association in the course directory

für 011 (15W) FTH 17 oder FTH 26, 198 418 BA UF RK 16, 199 518 MA UF RK 02 oder RK 05, 033 195 (17W) BRP 18krp, BRP 18ktb, auslaufende Studienpläne: für 011 (11W) D31 oder DAM

Last modified: Su 06.06.2021 14:07