Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Informed Democracy & Social - cybersecurity (IDeaS)

CMU's center for disinformation, hate speech and extremism online

IDeaS Center for Informed Democracy & Social-cybersecurity

Instructors: Cullen, Simon
Schedule: MW  2:30-3:20PM POS 151 


Should we use genetic engineering technology to create super-intelligent babies? May parents use it to ensure their child is born with an impairment (e.g., deafness)? When, if ever, can a doctor kill a patient or help her die? If we can in the future, should we end human aging, allowing people to live for hundreds or even thousands of years? Is it possible to survive your bodily death (e.g., by uploading), or are you a human animal that will die when its body does? Has neuroscience shown that free will is an illusion? Could a digital computer ever be programmed to have a mind? What is romantic love and could it make sense to think youre in a relationship with an AI? What is the probability that you are a Sim living in an advanced civilizations computer simulation? Do people actually believe fake news, or are people smarter than that? When, if ever, is it rational to believe conspiracy theories? These are some of the toughest, most pressing questions of current philosophical inquiry. Philosophers address them by producing intricate and often beautiful arguments. In this course, you will assess those arguments and produce your own.