CSE 175 Homepage - Winter 2001
Social and Ethical Issues in Information
This course explores issues on the interface between information technology
and society, with a special focus on ethical issues. Topics include ethical
theory, privacy and security, spam, electronic commerce, the digital divide,
open source software, medical informatics, bioinformatics, actor-network
theory, ethnomethodology, and some neo-classical economics.
See the course outline for more detail, but
note that the outline is subject to change as the course progresses.
Prerequesites are CSE 9, 10 or 11, the ability to read basic works in the
humanities, especially sociology, and the ability to write reasonable English.
You will have to write short homework essays. There will be midterm and final
Notes: Be sure to check pages on this website frequently;
important notices will be posted near the top of this homepage; homework and
readings will be posted on their respective webpages, not given in class;
usually they will be posted by Wednesday of the week before they are due on
Tuesday. You should reload all webpages frequently, because I may well
be editing the same page that you are reading! All webpages are subject to
frequent unannounced updates.
Read the lecture notes as they are posted on this website; they are linked
to the outline page, and they will evolve as the
course develops. The class notes are not a substitute for attending
class - much more information on some topics will be given in the lectures,
and there will also be hardcopy handouts, guests, diagrams drawn on the board,
interactive discussions, etc.
Tuesday, Thursday, 12:45-2:05 pm, Center Hall 222
Section B00, ID 292618
- Computerization and Controversy: Value Conflicts and Social
Choices, edited by Rob Kling (Academic, 1996). ISBN 0-12-415040-3.
All these books should be on reserve at the Science and Engineering
Library, and the required book should be available from the UCSD Bookstore
(but you can probably get it cheaper and more quickly from an online
- The Social Life of Information, John Seely Brown and Paul
Duguid (Harvard Business School, 2000).
- Computer Ethics, Deborah G. Johnson (Prentice Hall, 1994).
- Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for
Ethics, Mark Johnson (Chicago, 1994).
- Evolutionary Origins of Morality, edited by Leonard D. Katz,
(Imprint Academic, 2000); vol. 7, no. 1/2 of J. Consciousness Studies;
available through amazon.com.
- Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Edward O. Wilson (Random
- Computers, Minds and Conduct, Graham Button, Jeff Coulter, John
Lee and Wes Sharrock (Polity 1995).
- Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star (MIT,
- Social Science, Technical Systems, and Cooperative Work, edited
by Geoffrey Bowker, Susan Leigh Star, William Turner and Les Gasser (Lawrence
- Requirements Engineering: Social and Technical Issues, edited by
Marina Jirotka and Joseph Goguen (Academic Press, 1994).
- The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance
at NASA, Diane Vaughan (Chicago, 1996).
- High Wired, edited by Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holvevik
- Computation and Human Experience, Philip Agre (Cambridge, 1997).
- Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer, Michael White (Addison-Wesley,
- Cognition in the Wild, Edwin Hutchings (MIT, 1996).
Grades will be based on the last three items below; the extent to which
answers in your exams and homework reflect your familiarity with the course
notes and readings will be important in their evaluation; 40% of the grade
will be in a final test, 30% in the homework, and 30% in the midterm.
Optional homework questions count half as much as required questions.
Both exams will test on vocabulary introduced during the course; there will
also be some essay questions. In some cases it may be possible to substitute
a long paper for the final examination. The midterm and final tests are now
- Course notes.
- Reading assignments.
- Homework assignments.
- Midterm exam.
- Final test.
- The homepage of Phil Agre
at UCLA contains many interesting publications, a good bibliography, and
several relevant links.
- Homepage of Geoff Bowker,
interesting material on sociology of science, including biodiversity
informatics, information infrastructure, classification systems, medical
records, and more.
- Homepage of Leigh
Star, interesting material on sociology of science, including boundary
objects, classification systems, information systems, and more.
- Homepage of Jennifer
Preece; see in particular, the subsite on her new book, Online Communities.
This is not a technical course in the usual sense, but it is
intellectually rigorous; it will carefully explore significant issues on the
interfaces among technology, society and ethics, drawing on a variety of
rigorous theories. It is expected that you will learn to think clearly about
how technical and non-technical aspects interact in the real world, especially
regarding ethical issues, and that this will be helpful to you in your work
and in your life after graduation.
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Maintained by Joseph Goguen
© 2000, 2001 Joseph Goguen, all rights reserved
Last modified: Wed Sep 17 09:19:56 PDT 2003