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Philosophy Dual Degree Programs

Interested in the connections between AI and philosophy of mind? Or learning the symbolic logic behind coding? Or delving into debates in applied ethics concerning the fairness and harm in big data and technology?

The College of Liberal Arts Degree+ program waives the CLA Core Curriculum, making it possible for students in any major to add a B.A. in Philosophy and graduate on time! See details about double-majoring in Computer Science or Data Science and Philosophy, technology-focused courses we offer, and the Department of Philosophy's current research in philosophy and technology below.

CS + Philosophy Dual Degree

CS+PHIL Plan of Study

Fact: With the exception of philosophy majors, CS students are currently the highest represented major in Purdue's philosophy courses. Whether you're pondering the nature of the human mind or experimenting in machine learning, whether you're developing a philosophical argument or developing new innovations in computer technology, you need strong analytical skills and the tools to think creatively.

A dual degree in Computer Science and Philosophy offers students the opportunity to complement their technical expertise with the writing and communication skills cultivated by studying philosophy and coveted by the job market; and to complement your conceptual creativity with the practical experience of learning and working with a variety of computer technologies before exploring the job market.

The plan of study for a CS+PHIL dual degree allows students to earn both degrees in 4 years, while adding the Humanities training STEMM industries look for in candidates and necessary for a job market increasingly in need of people who can interact with artificial intelligence. And with CS 18200 being approved as satisfying one of the area requirements for the B.A. in Philosophy, this dual degree scheme is now even more manageable!

Data Science + Philosophy Dual Degree

Data Science+PHIL Plan of Study

As “big data” gets bigger and bigger, and applications of data science permeate a wider and wider range of different aspects of our lives, new and important philosophical issues are arising all the time. Indeed, data science is powerful - but with this power comes a host of obligations and responsibilities that professionals in this field need to be aware of, and to negotiate in an ethical manner. Yet reasoning clearly about the philosophical and ethical implications of these new powers isn’t easy. In data science, we are constantly encountering uncharted territories, territories which are themselves changing rapidly, seemingly on a daily basis.

The scope and pace of technological innovation in data science magnifies the importance for reflection and critique - two among many of the skills philosophers have been cultivating for millennia.

The plan of study for a Data Science+PHIL dual degree allows students to earn both degrees in 4 years, while adding a depth of understanding in the issues surrounding data science to your skills in analysis and visualization in high demand by many employers in diverse industries today. And with CS 18200 being approved as satisfying one of the area requirements for the B.A. in Philosophy, this dual degree scheme is now even more manageable!

Technology-Focused PHIL Courses

The Department of Philosophy teaches two ethics courses every year that focus on technology. PHIL 20700 (Ethics for Technology, Engineering, and Design), taught each spring, is designed to increase students' understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities in national, international, and cross-cultural environments, helping them to anticipate, understand, and navigate issues that will likely arise in their working life as an engineer or designer. PHIL 20800 (Ethics of Data Science), taught each fall, explores the many new and important ethical issues arising as applications of data science permeate more aspects of our lives. We also regularly teach PHIL 32200 (Philosophy and Technology), a course that examines the nature and history of technology, as well as its complex impact on humans and the world.

In addition to the courses listed above, our faculty have also taught graduate sections of Ethics of Data Science (PHIL 50800), Philosophy of Technology (PHIL 61000), and graduate level independent studies examining bias, social epistemology, and the ethics of algorithms.

Upcoming Courses
In Spring 2022, we will be teaching PHIL 43500 (Philosophy of Mind). This course addresses the mind/body problem and examines the conceptual foundations of mentality and intelligence. This includes a focus on the idea that cognition, genuine human-like intelligence, and perhaps even subjective experience may one day be realized in computers and other non-biological forms.

In Summer 2022, we will be teaching PHIL 11005 (I Play Therefore I Am: An Introduction to Philosophy through Video Games), a new section of our introductory course, PHIL 11000 (The Big Questions: Introduction to Philosophy). Just as in PHIL 11000, PHIL 11005 will explore the basic problems and types of philosophy, with special emphasis on the problems of knowledge and the nature of reality. However, this course will use video games to demonstrate the very philosophical problems and debates students typically encounter in an introductory philosophy class.

Research in Philosophy and Technology


Dr. Daniel Kelly was part of a research group, along with colleagues from the Department of Computer Science and the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS), whose project "Detecting Bias in Data Collection, Algorithmic Discrimination and ‘Informed Refusal’" was funded by a Purdue Mellon Global Grand Challenges Grant for Big Data Ethics (2017-2018; $142,511). Dr. Kelly and Dr. Taylor Davis were part of a research group, along with colleagues from the College of Engineering and PULSIS, whose project "Foundations of Data Mind: An Interlocking Modules Approach" was funded by a Purdue Integrative Data Science Education Ecosystem Grant (2018-2019; $48, 639). He will also be teaching PHIL 43500 (Philosophy of Mind) in Spring 2022.

Dr. Daniel Smith recently received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of a digital humanities project to translate the lectures of the influential French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and to make them freely available on a website hosted by Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts. He has published articles on the philosophy of technology, including “Deleuze, Technology, and Thought”, and is currently working on a book manuscript in the field, tentatively titled Technicity and Thought. He also teaches PHIL 32200 (Philosophy and Technology).

Dr. Christopher Yeomans is currently a co-PI on an NSF-funded grant, "Fair AI: Categorizing, Measuring, and Mitigating Algorithmic Fairness" (2020-2021; $89,000). In collaboration with computer scientists from Purdue, the University of Chicago, and the University of Texas at Dallas, their group has worked to formulate a conception of fairness as equal concession in historically iterated decision-making processes. This project has supported two graduate and one undergraduate researchers, and has already produced a conceptual paper on fairness as well as a qualitative research study that is currently underway.

Graduate Students

Tom Doyle's research focuses on the intersection of artificial intelligence, the philosophical concept of fairness, and social contexts. Currently, Tom is conducting a qualitative research study as part of the "Fair AI" NSF-funded grant. The goal of this study is to uncover perceptions of algorithmic fairness/unfairness as they occur within a healthcare setting.

Recent Purdue Philosophy Ph.D. Ryan van Nood is also part of the larger "Fair AI" research group along with Tom Doyle and Dr. Chris Yeomans.

In addition, several Purdue Philosophy Ph.D. graduates have written dissertations with a philosophy and technology component. These include:

  • Max Spears: “Technology and Topology: Rethinking the Space of Existence” (chair, Dan Smith)
  • Ashley Albrecht: “Gendered Representations of AI in Film: Alternatives to Dystopic Futures in Her & Ex Machina” (Dan Smith)
  • Strand Sheldahl-Thomason: “Discourse, Documents, and Counter-Discipline: Michel Foucault’s Ethics and the Practice of Writing” (Dan Smith)
  • Andrew Iliadis: “A Black Art: Ontology, Data, and the Tower of Babel Problem” (Ashley Kelly and Dan Smith)