Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2019/2020
Type of Teaching Doctorate
Professor Schiaffonati Viola
Cfu 5.00 Type of Course Mono-Disciplinary Course

Phd Programme From (included) To (excluded) Course

Detailed program and learning outcomes

In this course the ethical and social aspects of technoscience will be addressed in engineering, design, and architecture. This course aims at showing how the decision to develop a technology (meant at large), the processes of its design, development, management, control and production are inherently moral.

The course starts with the presentation of ethical issues that emerge in the practice of technoscience by showing how they arise or are entangled with broader issues. It is organized in a series of lectures and work sessions concluded with an essay. Topics include, for instance, the notion of responsibility, ethical codes of ethics and conduct, value-sensitive design, a review of normative ethics, ethical questions in the design and management of technology, ethics in IT-configured societies, the ethical aspects of technical risks, the distribution of responsibility in engineering, design, and architecture, technology assessment.

After having completed the course students should: a) better recognize and analyze ethical and social aspects and issues inherent in technology; b) have insight into how these ethical and social aspects and problems are related to legal, political, and organizational backgrounds; c) be able to explore and assess possibilities for solving or diminishing existing and emerging ethical and social problems that attach the technology and the work of professionals and managers; d) be better prepared to their future professional life in an ethically and socially responsible way.

The course will be organized as a series of short workshop sessions in which experiences and individual and group reflections are punctuated by discussions of case-studies. 


Notes on methods of assessing

Students will be required to attend classes, to read material, and to write a reflective essay relating the theory of the texts to the experiences of their PhD research.


Teaching activities
Start date
End date

Schedule planning

Monday February 24 2020 (14:15-17:15): Viola Schiaffonati (Politecnico di Milano)

Course introduction

Ethics as a matter of things in ICT-configured societies

Technological mediation and the moralization of technologies: promises and perils


Tuesday February 25 2020 (9:15-13:15): Guglielmo Tamburrini (Università degli Studi di Napoli)

Self-driving cars and normative ethics: from ethical theories to ethical policies

Environmental ethics: the environmental impact of ICT systems in the age of climate change


Tuesday February 25 2020 (14:15-16:15): Letizia Tanca (Politecnico di Milano)

Ethical issues in the use of Big Data: ethics as a dimension of data quality


Wednesday February 26 2020 (9:15-13:15): Guglielmo Tamburrini (Università degli Studi di Napoli)

Autonomous weapons systems and methodological issues in ethical reasoning

The impact of automation on distributive justice

Fundamental rights, democracy and ICT systems


Wednesday February 26 2020 (14:15-16:15): Sabine Ammon (TU Berlin)

Introduction to ethical assessment


Thursday February 27 2020 (9:15-13:15): Sabine Ammon (TU Berlin) and Viola Schiaffonati (Politecnico di Milano

Ethical assessment of an emerging technology:  scenario analysis


Thursday February 27 2020 (14:15-16:15): Sabine Ammon (TU Berlin) and Viola Schiaffonati (Politecnico di Milano

Ethical assessment of assessment of an emerging technology


Friday February 28 2020 (9:15-13:15): Viola Schiaffonati and Letizia Tanca (Politecnico di Milano)

Conclusions, discussion, and advice for the writing of the reflective essay required for this course

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriavan de Poel, I. and Royakkers, L., Ethics, Technology and Engineering, Editore: Wiley, Anno edizione: 2011

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in language English

Note Professor
Teaching materials (powerpoint slides, reading handouts, course texts) will be made available to the students.
schedaincarico v. 1.6.1 / 1.6.1
Area Servizi ICT