Every physical and digital artifact in the human-built environment is the product of a design process, and every decision that designers make—from how to gather research information, to what materials to use—carries ethical implications. That is, every choice that designers make has the potential to shape the distribution of benefits and harms. Yet, very often, designers are not fully aware of these ethical implications and are not trained to navigate the complex ethical dilemmas that they encounter in their work. Consequently, we are surrounded by objects and systems that perpetuate social injustices and environmental destruction. This course integrates philosophical theorizing and design practice, exploring the moral, social, and environmental responsibilities of designers in, e.g., product design, engineering design, UI/UX design, and other related fields. Through readings, group discussions, short lectures, case studies, guest speakers, and hands-on projects, students will learn to critically analyze and apply ethical principles in the context of design. Along the way, students will develop not only a deeper understanding of the role of design in shaping our world, but also the skills needed to become more thoughtful and responsible designers.
Any one of: ENGS 12, ENGS 21, or COSC 25.01