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Displaying: 1-10 of 17 documents


1. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Melinda Campbell Introduction
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2. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Paul Majkut Founder’s Statement
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3. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Langdon Winner Biosphere Meets Public Sphere in the Post-Truth Era
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4. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Mark Coeckelbergh Scientific Suspects, Romantic Witnesses?: Magic Technologies, Alienation, and Self-Destruction in the Anthropocene
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As in the Anthropocene the fates of humans and the planet become increasingly entangled, we have a paradoxical problem of agency in the face of the changes: we at the same time create the problem and are impotent when it comes to solving it. It seems that we are reduced to bystanders, or worse, distant witnesses. To understand this problem, in particular to identify what makes possible this deadlock in terms of agency and knowledge, this paper uses the concepts of “Earth alienation” (Arendt) and romantic technologies (Coeckelbergh and others). It then explores some paths which may help to deal with this problem: direct engagement with material and natural things, artistic work, changing our understanding of science and technology and of their relation to culture and politics, and critically studying the language and images we use in our analysis and discussion of the problem. It is concluded that the problem under investigation points us to deeper problems and complexities of modernity, to which there is no magic solution.
5. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Jan Jasper Mathé The Anthropocene as Event
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The Anthropocene could become the defining name of our period, yet scholars continue to disagree over the very concept. One important challenge that remains to be addressed is the apparent inability to locate our experience of anthropogenic events into meaningful action. We see what is happening around us and we know that we need to do something. But in the end, there is no actual response. Even in our most promising scientific solutions, the evental nature of the Anthropocene is often overlooked. The very fact that we think about anthropogenic events from within the symbolic framework of science and technology obscures them. Drawing from the philosophy of technology and a critical engagement with Slavoj Žižek and Bernard Stiegler, I argue that technoscientific culture provides a fantasy of reality in our current age of human history, which is now inextricably bound up with the history of the Earth. Therefore, the Anthropocene is an event in every sense of the word, namely an object that is fundamentally transforming reality. It not only challenges the framework that regulates our access to reality – which would introduce it as just another fantasy – it shatters that reality completely. Understanding the Anthropocene as event may offer a solution to a general sense of disorientation that leaves human beings unable to react in ways other than merely acting out.
6. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Pieter Lemmens Re-Orienting the Noösphere: Imagining a New Role for Digital Media in the Era of the Anthropocene
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According to geologists and Earth System scientists, we are now living in the age of the Anthropocene, in which humans have become the most important geoforce, shaping the face of the planet more decisively than all natural forces combined. This brings with it a huge and unprecedented responsibility of humanity for the future of the biosphere. Humanity’s impact on the planet has been largely destructive until now, causing a rupture of the Earth System which completely changes the planetary conditions that characterized the Holocene, the generally benign period of the last 11,000 years in which human civilization as we know it has emerged and was able to flourish. In the Anthropocene these conditions can no longer be taken for granted. On the contrary, humanity itself will have to become responsible for the preservation of the biosphere as its ultimate life-support system. This means that its influence on the Earth System has to become a constructive one, among other things by inventing a cleaner and more sustainable modus vivendi on the planet. In this article it is claimed that such a transformation presupposes the invention of a global noösphere that allows humanity as a planetary collective to perceive and monitor the Earth System and interact more intelligently and sustainably with it. The response-ability required for taking responsibility for the Earth System presupposes the existence of a global noösphere that can both support a permanent collective awareness of our embedding in and critical dependence on the biosphere and function as a collective action platform. Based on a Stieglerian diagnosis of our current predicament, a case will be made for the huge potentials of digital media for our future task of caring for the earth.
7. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Melinda Campbell, Patricia King Dávalos A New Telluric Force: Humans in the Age of the Anthropocene
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The Age of the Anthropocene must address the claim that human activity is one of the main factors in determining not just the course of biological life on planet Earth, but a force powerful enough to affect the Earth’s climate as well as the conditions of its oceans and its atmosphere, and in fact, all known life forms. We cannot go backward in time, and it is likely too late to reverse the changes we have already put in motion. We must therefore consider our alternatives for moving forward into the future of this new age. Whatever else is true, we must confront a long-standing problem in this regard, which is to determine who will lead the way, or at least point toward a path forward, in first acknowledging the meaning and implications of this new epoch and then, of course, in figuring out how to deal with the problematic situations that will accompany living in the age of the Anthropocene.
8. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Richard S. Lewis Hello Anthropocene, Goodbye Humanity: Reframing Transhumanism through Postphenomenology
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It seems paradoxical that the name of the new geologic age might be the Anthropocene, while converging NBIC technologies are advancing to the point where some transhumanists are predicting that humanity will potentially be evolving into a new post-human species in the next 50-100 years. New technologies, such as 3D printing of body parts and genetic engineering, bring about both exciting and potentially disturbing future scenarios. Transhumanists and bioconservatives bring opposing views to this human enhancement debate. However, they both start from a dualistic point of view, keeping the subject and object separate. The philosophical field of postphenomenology is an effective approach for pragmatically and empirically grounding the human-enhancement debate, providing tools such as embodied technological relations, the non-neutrality of technology, enabling and constraining aspects of all technologies, and the false dream of a perfectly transparent technology.
9. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Valeria Ferraretto, Silvia Ferrari, Verbena Giambastiani On- or Off-Life?: Life in the Era of Social Network
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Online activities are becoming intertwined with almost everything we do. Social networks are so engrained in our lives that they have turned into a crucial part of what we do, both online and offline. Thus, the first question is, How are social media changing us? The second one is instead, How much has social media changed society? When a medium changes its form, human life is modified accordingly. Regarding the latter, if we assume a Foucaultian perspective, we should consider social media as the dispositif that can develop the subjectivity of individuals. Sharing information on social media represents something more than a simple act. This is a performative act à la Austin that shapes and disciplines human life by means of a virtual crowd which compulsively shares information and general opinions. The online dimension of life is either a technique or a practice that makes the dispositif operative. It enhances and maintains the exercise of institutional, physical and public power. What are the public and private consequences of virtual reality? In what kind of network of power is the virtual life enmeshed? According to Walter Benjamin, the digital era has a positive aspect: it allows humans to be aware of the poverty of human experience in general. However, this is not a lament for the old days. Benjamin introduces a new positive concept of barbarism. It has a creative force: the barbarian is a destroyer, but also a constructor. In this new Erlebnis, there is not a progressive linear time; rather, posting, sharing and experiencing happens simultaneously. Digital life is the beginning of a new historical orientation where virtual reality is an extension of the “offline” mode.
10. Glimpse: Volume > 19
Nicola Liberati Facing the Digital Partner: A Phenomenological Analysis of Digital Otherness
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The aim of this work is to understand what kind of “other” a digital being can be, or the kind of “otherness” that can be attributed to a digital being. Digital technologies are emerging in our surroundings, and they are so close to us that they can be in intimate relationships with us. There are products like Gatebox, which are designed to produce digital entities that are not merely part of the surroundings, but that are also partners with which (or with whom) humans have relationships. In studying the kind of “otherness” these digital entities can have, the paper highlights the effects of different designs on the types of relations that are possible. Following a phenomenological point of view, the elements required to have a form of “otherness” similar to that of human beings is analyzed by focusing mainly on the resistance opposed by the “other.” According to these elements, the possible relations in which robots can engage is determined according to their specific design.