Fall 2013 Schedule

Note: Although our regularly scheduled class period runs from 9A-11:20A, when we do hold class we will begin at 8:45A and go until 11:35A.  The extra 30 minutes will allow us to accumulate enough “extra” class time to cancel two meetings later in the semester.

WEEK 1, 28 Aug.  Introduction to web portals, syllabus, and one another (group tacit knowledge).

In class.  Rearrange the furniture exercise.  Lecture: Assessing quality of group tacit knowledge, collective improvisation in technological catastrophe.

Undergraduates. Write a 500 word description of a work or classroom experience.

Graduate students. Write a 500 word description of your graduate research topic (or independent project).  If your topic is not fully formulate, then write about a knowledge area you’re considering.

Post the essays in CritViz during class.

Seth Godin: This Is Broken.

Online. Respond in CritViz to three classmates’ essays with a description of the ethical issues that might relate to their essay.

Reading. Erden & Nonaka’s “Quality of Group Tacit Knowledge

WEEK 2, 4 Sep.

In class.  Tutorial on use of Twitter, Box, and CritViz.  Discuss Seth Godin: This Is Broken and the relation of empathy to product design and the moral imagination.  Discuss Erden & Nonaka’s “Quality of Group Tacit Knowledge” in relation to: Explicit vs. Tacit (Knowledge), Rules vs. Norms, Legal vs. Ethical vs. Moral. Lecture: Constructing a reading response.


WEEK 3, 11 Sep.

In class. Seager in Washington DC at NNI workshop on risk and nanotech.  Students may meet (or not) at their leisure.

Online.  Read the blog post The Moral Saint Fallacy. Post a reading response in Critviz and provide feedback to three classmates on their reading responses.

Additional Reading. Hannah’s “Moral Maturation and Moral Conation“.

WEEK 4, 18 Sep.

In class.  Twitter, Box, and CritViz —  how the class is “broken on purpose” (Seager expectations vs. student expectations).  Discuss Hannah’s model of moral maturity by working backwards thru the blog posts and plotting Louis CK, Shirky’s day care study, Lt. Pike and Linda Katehi.  Cognition versus conation, and what accounts for a failure to act when moral sensitivity, judgement, and motivation are all in place? (Lack of courage, fear, habits, instinct?)  Willpower vs. resolve.  How does it all fit together in a way that applies to engineering and sustainability science?

Online.  Read the blog post An Introduction to Social Ethics. Post a reading response in Critviz prior to 11:59PM on Mon 23 Sep and provide feedback to three classmates on their reading responses prior to 11:59PM, Thr 26 Sep.

Additional Reading (and Writing).  Return to the essay you wrote in class during Week 1.  At some time in the next 24 hrs, write a reading response to yourself.  This response should take advantage of the skills you’ve developed in critique, but keep this response private.  Do not post on Box or CritViz or WordPress.  I may ask some people to share in class on 25 Sep, but no one will be obliged.  We’ll return to these essays later in the semester and I may ask you to allow me to read them, or ask you to describe them to me — but there is no deadline (yet) for this assignment.

WEEK 5, 25 Sep

In class.  “This is Water” video by David Foster Wallace and live reading responses.  What is the author’s point, from their perspective?  How does it relate to other materials introduced in the class?  In what ways do we disagree, remediate or seek to extend the work? Review some readings responses to “Social Ethics.”  Discuss what is meant by “traditional ethics education”, which terminates at thought (as the highest goal of education), rather than action.  Return to Hannah’s concept of “moral courage” and Zimbardo’s term “moral heroism”.

Online. Watch the video “Psychology of Heroism” and create a tweet response prior to 11:59P 27 Sep.  Prior to class on 2 Oct, read the blog post Introduction to Game Theory.  Then, create a reading response in CritViz prior to 11:59P Fri 4 Oct.

Additional Reading (and Writing).  Feminist Ethics, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-ethics/ Complete a reading response before 11:59P on Monday 30 Sep.  Then, critique three classmates prior to 11:59P Wed 2 Oct.

WEEK 6, 2 Oct

In class.  Feminist ethics discussion: inter- vs. independence. Writing and in-class discussion: “What responsibility for do we have for the behavior of others?” Willpower vs. resolve and moral courage as the line between moral motivation and moral action. Experiential introduction to game theory, including the Ultimatum and Dictator games.

Online. Answer the question “What responsibility for do we have for the behavior of others?” on CritViz prior to 11:59pm 7 Oct.  Also, critique three classmates’ reading responses to “Intro to Game Theory” prior to 11:59p 8 Oct.

Additional Reading (and Writing): None.

WEEK 7, 9 Oct

In class.  Analysis of Dark Knight bank robbery scene and Catching Fire movie trailers from game-theoretic perspective.  Dominance of minority over majority groups, given relative ease of enforcing cohesion among smaller groups.  Introduction to the Kolbe Dynamynd®.  Characteristics of leadership as influence toward pro-social outcomes in a non-cooperative game theoretic dynamic. The Externalities Game.

Online. Read the blog post “Sympathy for Sinners” and post a reading response on CritViz prior to 11:59P 11 Oct.

Additional Reading. Dark Knight, “The Joker’s Social Experiment

WEEK 8, 16 Oct

In class. Discussion: Should others be judged by the intentions motivating their actions? Or by the outcomes of those actions? Moral luck and Moral hazard (with in-class writing exercise).

Online. Read the blog post “Sustainability and Moral Luck” and post a reading response in CritViz prior to 11:59P Thr 17 Oct.

Additional Reading. Nagel (1991) Moral Luck.

WEEK 9, 23 Oct (Seager in W Lafayette IN at Purdue?)

MID-TERM EXAM (take home).  Upload your responses to CritViz by 11:59P Thr 24 Oct

WEEK 10, 30 Oct (Seager in Boston MA at Northeastern)

In class. None.

Online. Read the blog post “The Tragedy of the Commons” and post a reading response to CritViz.  Also, critique three classmates’ responses.

Additional Reading.  Hardin (1968) The Tragedy of the Commons, and Ostrom (1999) Revisiting the Commons.

WEEK 11, 6 Nov.

In class. Xanthe Matychak from ‘Make Better Stuff’ visits class. Also, preparation for The Pisces Game.


Additional Reading.

WEEK 12, 13 Nov (Seager in Rome, Italy and LCA SETAC)

In class. Susan Spierre leads class in digital version of Pisces Game.


Additional Reading.

WEEK 13, 20 Nov (Seager in Nashville TN at SETAC NA)

In class. None.

Online. Post Pisces Game reflective essays on CritViz.

Additional Reading.

WEEK 14, 27 Nov. 

In class. Final discussion period.  No further reading assignments.


Additional Reading.

WEEK 15, 4 Dec. 

In class. None.

Online.  Final papers due.  Upload as pdf file to CritViz.

Additional Reading. None.


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