Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Julia Bursten


Artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies pose new questions for philosophers of science regarding epistemology, science and values, and the history of science. I will address these issues across three essays in this dissertation. The first essay concerns epistemic problems that emerge with existing accounts of scientific explanation when they are applied to deep neural networks (DNNs). Causal explanations in particular, which appear at first to be well suited to the task of explaining DNNs, fail to provide any such explanation. The second essay will explore bias in systems of automated decision-making, and the role of various conceptions of objectivity in either reinforcing or mitigating bias. I focus on conceptions of objectivity common in social epistemology and the feminist philosophy of science. The third essay probes the history of the development of 20th century telecommunications technology and the relationship between formal and informal systems of scientific knowledge production. Inquiring into the role that early phone and computer hackers played in the scientific developments of those technologies, I untangle the messy web of relationships between various groups that had a lasting impact on this history while engaging in a conceptual analysis of "hacking" and "hackers."

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)