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School for Transdisciplinary Studies

Thinking (About) Machines (10SMTAM)


This course offers an introduction to the Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a meta-discipline, philosophy, in contrast to the disciplines, pursues the task of clarifying fundamental concepts of AI. Such concepts are often used rather unsystematically or even contradictorily in wider societal and even scientific debates. The philosophical clarification of concepts - which can and partly does take place in the individual disciplines themselves - is an indispensable condition for being able to distinguish between genuine scientific research contributions and short-term media tech-hype in this field. Due to the increasing importance of AI in all areas of society and science, the practice of such “differentiation competence” is of great interdisciplinary importance. In addition, the philosophy of AI should empower students in the individual disciplines to identify and evaluate the specific disciplinary uses of concepts such as (historical, medical, economic, legal, theological, etc.) "intelligence," "thought," "experience," "language," and so on. This especially in view of the question whether the increasing automation of social and scientific interaction processes leads to artificial systems becoming more and more "intelligent" or, vice versa, whether "genuine" human intelligence is increasingly relieved of tasks to be solved by technology. 

This course offers a novel introduction to the philosophy of AI. The introduction is aimed at an interdisciplinary audience. Methodologically, on the one hand, thought experiments will introduce participants to central issues in the philosophy of AI. On the other hand, students will interact intensively with state-of-the-art systems, some of which have been adapted specifically for the course, in order to gain a clear idea of the capabilities and nature of these systems even without in-depth statistical and mathematical knowledge.

Finally, the goal of the course is by no means achieved if all students adopt the same doctrinal philosophy. On the contrary. The central learning goal is to enable participants to argue contrary positions at a high philosophical level with knowledge of the relevant technology.

Target group


ECTS Credits


Course catalogue

You can find more information about the module here.

Weiterführende Informationen

Digital Society Initiative

Institute of Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Religion

More about Institute of Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Religion


Dr. Johannes Corrodi