Dr. Jason Branford
Jason Branford is a research associate (postdoc) in the Ethics in Information Technology (EIT) research group at the Department of Informatics, Universität Hamburg.
His current research focuses on the theme of moral and social progress. Within this, he explores the moral dimensions and implications of various technologies and their potential impact on human moral capacities. He looks to emphasis on how these intersect with existing social and political structures that influence both the development of these technologies, their desirability, as well as their potential consequences. In the long term he is concerned with what a robust ethics of technology should look like.
In his doctoral dissertation (LMU Munich), Jason sought to shift the focus in the human enhancement debate away from the enhancement of human bodies to the enhancement of human lives. Following Dewey, he emphasised the socially embedded character of human life and argued that this ought shape the way we think about both enhancing it, and the kinds of considerations that should be brought to bare on existing proposals for enhancing particular forms of human functionality. Specifically, that such technologies need to be considered from within existing social settings shaped by various social and structural injustices.
His philosophy is greatly inspired by John Dewey's pragmatism and social psychology, Iris Marion Young's feminism, and relational egalitarianism.
Jason is also interested in topics on the ethics of immigration, democracy, human rights, solidarity, and cosmopolitanism.
- Social, Moral, and Political Philosophy (of Technology)
- Computer Ethics & AI Ethics
- Philosophy of Technology
- Bioethics (Human Enhancement)
- Pragmatism (Dewey)
- Winter 2021/22 | SE (Bachelor) Ethics Workshop: Doing Ethics Assessments in Informatics
- Summer 2021 | LECT+SE (Bachelor) Ethics & IT
- Winter 2019/20 | SE (BA+MA) Foundations of Normative Ethics and Solving Moral Problems (Venice International University, Co-taught))
- Summer 2019 | SE (BA+MA) Cosmopolitanism and the Nation (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Co-taught)
- Winter 2018/19 | SE (MA) Moral Progress (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Co-taught)
- Summer 2018 | SE (BA+MA) John Rawls: Justice as Fairness (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Co-taught)
- Winter 2017/18 | SE (BA) Academic Writing in Philosophy (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Dr. Branford is primarily interested in supervising topics exploring the social, moral, and political dimensions of technology. Especially, those that critically evaluate technologies from the perspective of (social) justice & fairness. For example, that consider the themes of equality, bias, oppression, discrimination, exclusion, and coercion.
He is also interested in investigations that explore underrepresented perspectives in the ethics of technology. For example, those that adopt feminist, decolonial, critical theory, or ethics of care perspectives. Here he would also welcome proposals from fields he is less familiar with (e.g., that adopt non-europeans philosophical traditions).
On the other side of this, he welcomes theses seeking to articulate ways in which specific technologies can advance the social good (for example, that touch on issues of social welfare, immigration, climate change, and political activism). As well as those that consider the impact of technology on democracy and democratic culture.
He is, of course, also open to topics broadly in the field of philosophy of technology (but in particular from the perspective of postphenomenology and mediation theory).
Finally, any proposals to ethically evaluate any of the following technologies: affective computing, recommender systems, automated decision making (ADMs), large-language models (LLMs), ChatGPT, Midjourney (and the like), ‘nudge’ technologies, human-computer interfaces, and social robots.