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In these two sessions, we will tackle an introduction to the philosophy of technology from an analytical perspective and the central theme of our relationship with technology will be explored: are we determined by technology or do we determine it? And if that is the case, how? And to what extent? Or is this perhaps a false dichotomy and should the issue be explored in a radically different way? We will deal with current topics in ethics related to technology and design.

Keywords: Technology, Ethics, Design ​​

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the nature of technology and its relationship with humans.
  • To know the limits and potentialities of ethical reflection.- To be able to reflect and assess the ethical dimensions of one’s own work.
  • Get a sense of doing ethics going beyond arm-chair ethics.

Methodological Strategies

  • Lectures
  • Discussion of cases
  • Practical exercises
  • Peer learning
  • Team-based learning


  • Technology and “us”
  • Technology and values
  • The normative power of artefacts
  • Perspectives on technological intentionality
  • Exercise: ethical-constructive technology assessment
  • Ethical frameworks and their integration into design
  • Design, justice and just design
  • Design as a professional practice and its connection to ethics
  • Wrap-up exercise: VSD cards


No special deliverables are expected.

Grading Method

Percentage Description
50% Participation
50% Self-assessment

Students should submit via email a one-page text or visual containing a numerical mark (0-10) as a self-assessment containing a reflection on the classes and the learning outcomes obtained as rationale for the mark.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)


Additional Resources

Baym, Nancy. (2015). Personal Connections in the Digital Age: Digital Media and Society. London: Polity.

Gertz, Nolen. (2018) Nihilism and Technology. London: Rowman and Littlefield.

Guersenzvaig, Ariel. (2021). The Goods of Design. London: Rowman and Littlefield.

Parvin, Nassim. (2023). Just Design: Pasts, Presents, and Future Trajectories of Technology. Just Tech. Social Science Research Council. February 1, 2023. DOI

Rosenberger, R. (2017). Callous Objects: Designs against the Homeless. 3rd ed. University Of Minnesota Press. Available online: Callous Objects: Designs against the Homeless 3rd ed.

Vallor, Shannon. Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Verbeek, Peter-Paul. Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.


Ariel Guersenzvaig

Ariel Guersenzvaig

Lecturer at ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering

Ariel Guersenzvaig is a lecturer at ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona (Spain). He combines his academic work with 20+ years of professional experience in the field of user experience and service design. He is the author of an upcoming book on design professional ethics (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2021). Besides professional ethics and design theory, another important locus of research is the ethical impact of machine intelligence on society, with a focus on autonomous weapons and algorithmic justice. He has published in academic journals such as ACM Interactions, SDN Touchpoints, AI & Society, Journal of Design Research, and IEEE Technology and Society Magazine. He holds a PhD in Design Theory from the University of Southampton (UK), an MA in Ethics from the University of Birmingham (UK).