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Carl Mitcham - Biography

Carl Mitcham, Ph. D., is Hans Jonas Chair at the European Graduate School EGS and Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies, Colorado School of Mines. Professor Mitcham is one of the leading American philosophers of technology with a focus on the ethics of science, technology and medicine. Mitcham received his Ph. D. in Philosophy at Fordham University in 1988. He also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has held academic positions at several institutions in the United States and internationally: from 1970-72 at Berea College, Kentucky as an Instructor in Philosophy; from 1972-82 at St. Catharine College, Kentucky as a Lecturer in Philosophy and Social Science; from 1982-90 at Brooklyn Polytechnic University as an Associate and then a Professor of Humanities.

He was a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Science-Technology-Society Program, Pennsylvania State University from 1989-99, and the founding Director of the Philosophy and Technology Studies Center, Polytechnic University, New York. Mitcham has also been a visiting professor at the Universidad de Pais Vasco, Spain (2003-4), the University of Tilburg and the University of Twente, Netherlands (1998), the Universidad de Oviedo (1993), and the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagez (1988).

Mitcham is currently the Director of the Hennebach Program for the Humanities at the Colorado School of Mines, a program which sponsors events with visiting professors in the humanities. Being a primarily engineering school, the Hennebach Program works to incorporate the importance of humanities into their highly regarded technical discipline. As head of the program, Mitcham heads this department that seeks to implement interdisciplinary studies with the assistance of an Advisory Committee. He is also t he president of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. One of Mitcham's career long drives, grounded by his background of philosophy and ethics, is to bring together philosophy and technology into a unique field, Science, Technology, and Society (STS) studies.

Science, Technology and Society Studies is a department of many institutes of higher learning that focus on engineering and other degrees dealing with technology. Becoming solidified as a department of study during the 1980s, the area of scholarship came from developing areas of isolated study that began to gain steam in the 1960s. The main themes of STS that developed in these pockets are science studies; history of technology; history and philosophy of science; science, technology and society; and science, engineering and public policy studies. As Mitcham writes (with Stephen H. Cutcliffe) in Visions of STS: Counterpoints in Science, Technology and Society Studies: “STS is critical in the exact sense of the word: it strives to provide careful, comprehensive evaluations of the nature of scientific and technological change and the forces that impel it. To be sure, STS is not unique in taking a critical approach to science and technology. Efforts to come to grips with the consequences of science and technology are a prominent feature of our era. Often, the focus is on the unfortunate consequences of scientific and technological advance like environmental degradation, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and an accelerated pace of life that seems overwhelming at times. STS attempts to go beyond criticism of this sort by trying to understand why science and technology have developed the way they have. It does this by exploring how social structure, culture, politics, and economics have been intertwined with the development of science and technology.”

Mitcham is the co-editor of Philosophy of Technology: Readings in the Philosophical Problems of Technology, with Robert Mackey (1972); Theology and Technology: Essays in Christian Analysis and Exegesis, with Jim Grote (1984); Philosophy and Technology II: Information Technology and Computers in Theory and Practice, with Alois Huning (1986); Visions of STS: Counterpoints in Science, Technology, and Society Studies, with Stephen H. Cutcliffe (2001); The Challenges of Ivan Illich: A Collective Reflection, with Lee Hoinacki (2002); Ethics and Technology. He was the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, published in four volumes (2005).

Mitcham is the author of several books including: Bibliography of the Philosophy of Technology, with Robert Mackey (1973); Thinking Through Technology: The Path between Engineering and Philosophy (1994); Research in Philosophy and Technology: Social and Philosophical Constructions of Technology (1995); Thinking Ethics in Technology: Hennebach Lectures and Papers, 1995-1996 (1997); Engineer's Toolkit: Engineering Ethics, with R. Shannon Duval (2000); La tica en la profesin de ingeniero: Ingeniera y ciudadanan, with Marcos Garca de la Huerta (2001); Technology and Religion: Oppositions, Sympathies, Transformations (2008); and Science, Technology, and Ethics: An Introduction.

Articles written by Mitcham: "Philosophy and Technology II: Information Technology and Computers in Theory and Practice" Reidel (1985) with Alois Huning; "Ethics in Bioengineering" Journal of Business Ethics 9 (1990); "Thinking Through Technology: The Path Between Engineering and Philosophy" (1994); "Rethinking Technology" with Leonard Waks Science and Engineering Ethics 1 (1995); "Computers, Information and Ethics: A review of Issues and Literature" Sciences and Engineering Ethics 1 (1995); "Compathy or Physical Empathy: Implication for the Caregiver Relationship" with Janice M. Morse & Wim J. van Der Steen Journal of Medical Humanities (1998); "'Nature and Human Values' at the Colorado School of Mines" with Arthur B. Sacks Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (2001); "Politics at a Technological Distance" with James A. Lynch Ethics and Information Technology (2001); "After the Genie is Out of the Bottle, What Then?" Science and Engineering Ethics 8 (2002); "Co-Responsibility for Research Integrity" Science and Engineering Ethics 9 (2003); "Software Libre 2004" with Andoni Alonso Ethics and Information Technology 6 (2004); "Engineering Ethics and Identity: Emerging Initiatives in Comparative Perspective" with Gary Lee Downey & Juan C. Lucena Science and Engineering Ethics 13 (2007); "Nursing Concept Analysis in North America: State of the Art" with Kathryn Weaver Nursing Philosophy 9 (2008); and "Convivial Software: An End-User Perspective on Free and Open Source Software" Ethics and Information Technology (2009).

Mitcham was awarded the World Technology Network Award for Ethics in November of 2006 and has also received the Doctor "Honoris Causa" by the Valencian International University (Spain).

Carl Mitcham is a Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Technology at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts an Intensive Summer Seminar.