study group


The purpose of the study group is to expose participants to various philosophically well founded world views, spanning both perspectives from science and humanities, that are relevant to the very broad range of questions being addressed within computer science.

We believe many graduate students are interested in theoretical and methodological foundations of computer science that are less vague than common sense and which leverage existing work in philosophy, psychology, sociology etc. This is not to be critical of existing formal theoretical work in CS, but more a response to the often vague philosophical foundations of the work not covered by it.

Finding and selecting literature for this study group is challenging because "Philosophy of Computer Science" is—unlike areas such as software architecture or phenomenology—not a well defined area of research with an organized community that researchers may designate themselves and their research as belonging to. Thus there is at the same time an insurmountable body of work in philosophy of science and philosophy in general, and fairly little about computer science in particular. The list of literature found below covers a broad area, and it has been our intention to sample a broad range of flavours rather than go into depth with a particular topic.

While the study group is more philosophical than most other courses at daimi it is certainly the intention that the matters discussed are relevant to conducting research rather than merely stimulate discussion for its own sake.


Smith, Brian Cantwell. On the origin of objects. MIT Press, 1998. (whole book) more

Latour, Bruno. Science in action. Harvard University Press, 1988. (whole book) more

Nozick, Robert. Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World. Belknap/Harvard University Press, 2003. (chapters 1–3) more

Suchman, Lucy. Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions. Cambridge University Press, 2007. (whole book) more

Agre, Philip. Computation and Human Experience. Cambridge University Press, 1997. (chapters 1–3) more

Unger, Peter. All the Power in the World, Oxford University Press, 2005. (chapters 1–3) more

Praetorius, Nini. Principles of Cognition, Language, Action. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000. more 2

Moor, James H. Three Myths of Computer Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 29(3), 213–222, 1978. get it here

Barad, Karen. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 28, no. 3, Spring 2003.

von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. An Outline of General System Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1(2), 134–165, 1950. get it here

Dreyfus, Hubert L. Being-in-the-world. A commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division 1. MIT Press, 1991. more

Barad, Karen. Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke University Press, 2007.more

de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. University of California Press, 2002. (whole book). more, amazon

Verbeek, Peter-Paul. What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency and Design. Penn State University Press, 2005. more


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To get course credits (5 or 10 ECTS) a participant needs to hand in an essay discussing a topic of choice from the course. As the amount of literature is significant it is sufficient to relate to parts of it. If the essay has potential to be published in a peer reviewed venue then it is probably adequate.

When you are writing the essay, it may be a good idea to search the Philosopher's Index for related work in various journals of philosophy and related areas.


Mads Ingstrup (post doc)  •

Jesper Wolff Olsen (phd student)  •