Cover of Philosophy Today
>> Go to Current Issue

Philosophy Today

Volume 65, Issue 3, Summer 2021
Special Topic: Technology and Society

Table of Contents

Already a subscriber? - Login here
Not yet a subscriber? - Subscribe here

Browse by:

Displaying: 1-16 of 16 documents

special topic: technology and society
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Massimiliano Simons, Mauritz Kelchtermans, Lode Lauwaert Technology and Society
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
It is commonly accepted that technology and society have always been intertwined. The question is rather how we should understand that relation. This introduction to the special issue ‘Technology and Society’ gives a brief overview of the history of the questions related to this intertwinement. The special issue consists of six essays, emanating from presentations at the 2019 conference on Technology and Society at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven. It was organized by the Working Group on Philosophy of Technology (WGPT), whose aim is to promote philosophy of technology at the KU Leuven, but also more broadly in Belgium.
2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Alina Achenbach The Ontic Gift: The Temporality of Technics between Heidegger and Derrida
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Much of modern technology critique inherits Heidegger’s ontico-ontological distinction. In this paper, following Stiegler’s linking of the ontic to the transgenerational, I argue that Heidegger leaves the materiality of technics as a potential site for difference in the wake. Put differently, Heidegger “declines the gift of the ontic,” instead constructing an order of an imagined Graeco-German inheritance—a culturally and linguistically specific “saving-power” against the ills of modern technology. Through Derrida’s inheritance of Heidegger’s work—marked by a different language and (postcolonial) positionality—I reconsider ontico-ontological difference as an opening to a co-constitutive productivity of world and thing, where the passing on of mnemonic inheritance features multiplicities of languages and cultural techniques that preempt Heidegger’s “Graeco-German monolingualism.” This calls for a central positioning of the politics of memory and inheritance within modern technology critique, thereby attending both to the material realities as well as the cultural differences of technics.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Lavinia Marin A Digital Picture to Hold Us Captive?: A Flusserian Interpretation of Misinformation Sharing on Social Media
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In this article I investigate online misinformation from a media philosophy perspective. I, thus move away from the debate focused on the semantic content, concerned with what is true or not about misinformation. I argue rather that online misinformation is the effect of an informational climate promoted by user micro-behaviours such as liking, sharing, and posting. Misinformation online is explained as the effect of an informational environment saturated with and shaped by techno-images in which most users act automatically under the constant assault of stirred emotions, a state resembling what media philosopher Vilém Flusser has called techno-magical consciousness. I describe three ways in which images function on social media to induce this distinctive, uncritical mode of consciousness, and complement Flusser’s explanation with insights from the phenomenology of emotions.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Leonardo Sias The Ideology of AI
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper criticises the ideological dimension of the AI narrative. It does so by questioning the implicit assumptions behind its vision, which promises a world that automatically adapts to our desires before we even know them. These assumptions hinge on a misconception of the value of desire as residing exclusively with its fulfilment, warranting human manipulation for increased predictability. This social trajectory towards algorithmic governance, rather than delivering on the promised fulfilment, undermines our capacity to sustain the same desire that it uses to justify its enterprise.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Nidesh Lawtoo Black Mirrors: Reflecting (on) Hypermimesis
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Reflections on mimesis have tended to be restricted to aesthetic fictions in the past century; yet the proliferation of new digital technologies in the present century is currently generating virtual simulations that increasingly blur the line between aesthetic representations and embodied realities. Building on a recent mimetic turn, or re-turn of mimesis in critical theory, this paper focuses on the British science fiction television series, Black Mirror (2011–2018) to reflect critically on the hypermimetic impact of new digital technologies on the formation and transformation of subjectivity.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Elke Schwarz Silicon Valley Goes to War: Artificial Intelligence, Weapons Systems, and Moral Agency
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Across the world, militaries are racing to acquire and develop new capabilities based on the latest in machine learning, neural networks, and artificial intelligence (AI). In this paper, I argue that the shift into military AI is shaping human behaviour in heretofore unacknowledged and morally significant ways. Following Anders, I argue that as the human becomes digitally co-machinistic (mitmaschinell), they are compelled to adopt a logic of speed and optimisation in their ethical reasoning. The consequence of this is a form a moral de-skilling, whereby military personnel working with digital infrastructures and interfaces become less able to act and decide as moral agents. This is an especially concerning development when it comes to the conduct of war, where the moral stakes could not be higher.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Darian Meacham, Francesco Tava The Algorithmic Disruption of Workplace Solidarity: Phenomenology and the Future of Work Question
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This paper examines the development and technological mediation of the concept of solidarity. We focus on the workplace as a focal point of solidarity relations, and utilise a phenomenological approach to describe and analyse those relations. Workplace solidarity, which has been historically concretised through social objects such as labor unions, is of particular political relevance since it has played an outsize role in the broader struggle for social, economic, and political rights, recognition, and equality. We argue that the use of automated decision support systems (ADS) in labor process management may negatively affect the formation of these relations. As solidarity motivates collective political action and risk-taking, the mediation and potential obstruction of solidarity relations by ADS is politically significant. We contribute to the growing literature on the “future of work” problem in elucidating the technological mediation of workplace solidarity.
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Franco Faccennini Digital Avatars: Thinking about Personal Identity in Social Media
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Ever since Facebook appeared circa 2004, social network sites (SNS) have gained more and more presence and importance in our daily lives. At the very core of SNS lies the necessity to create a profile; this profile becomes our digital persona or our digital avatar. Since what we do online matters and ever increasingly affects the offline world, our online identity becomes in turn increasingly important. But how does our personal identity—how do we—relate to our digital avatars? This paper explores the possible form and extent of the connection in between both identities. For this purpose, I propose to think about personal identity in terms of a narrative theory of the self, as well as in a relational manner through the concept of recognition. Employing this framework I intend to pinpoint the elements of our digital avatars, and the SNS dynamics as a whole, that can be related to the process of becoming who we are.
9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Malte Fabian Rauch An-arche and Indifference: Between Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, and Reiner Schürmann
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This essay explores Giorgio Agamben’s engagement with Reiner Schürmann, focusing in particular on their ontological understanding of anarchy. Setting out from the lacuna in the literature on this issue, it gives a close reading of the passages where Agamben addresses Schürmann, interrogates the role of of arche in Agamben’s works and links his interest in Schürmann to his long-standing critique of Derrida. Tracing these issues through Agamben’s and Schürmann’s texts, it becomes apparent that both authors operate with a strikingly similar approach, while adumbrating different understandings of the rapport between arche, anarchy and difference. Specifically, the essay argues that Schürmann’s work can be seen as an incisive reference point in Agamben’s recent theory of “destituent potential” by focusing on the epilogue of The Use of Bodies. Here, arche and anarchy are positioned as the basic operative categories of the entire Homo Sacer project, while the concept of “true anarchy,” developed in critical dialogue with Schürmann, turns into its philosophical vanishing point. With and against Schürmann’s attempt to think anarchy as an interruption of identity through difference, Agamben develops his notion of anarchy as as a suspension of difference, that is, as in-difference.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Valeria Campos Salvaterra Para-sitos: Notes on Incorporation and Hospitality in Jacques Derrida’s Unpublished Seminar Manger l’autre (1989–1990)
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The aim of this article is to show how, through Derrida, the concept of unconditional hospitality can be understood through a logic of the parasite. In a supplementary chain that leads to the figure of the parasite, I first knot two main concepts: hospitality and unconditionality. Then I explore the knotting itself through two theoretical articulations discussed by Derrida in many of his text on the work of mourning and the altered constitution of ipseity. Finally, I will arrive at the unpublished seminar Manger l’autre (1989-1990) to focus on the “eating trope” of hospitality. Since para-sitos only means eating-with, the parasite is not a priori a negative notion, but rather suggests a trespassing of frontiers. All the above articulations finally lead me to propose a reading of these topics through a notion of incorporation.
11. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Gavin Rae The “New” Materialisms of Jacques Lacan and Judith Butler
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article defends Jacques Lacan and Judith Butler against the long-standing but recently reiterated charge that they affirm a linguistic idealism or foundationalism. First outlining the parameters of Lacan’s thinking on this topic through his comments on the materiality inherent in the imaginary, symbolic, real schema to show that he offers an account built around the tension between the real and symbolic, I then move to Butler to argue that she more coherently identifies the parameters of the problem before offering an explanation based on paradox. With this, both offer (1) a forceful rebuttal of linguistic idealism, (2) a far more complex analysis of the materialism–signification relation than their new materialist critics tend to appreciate, and (3) innovative but often-ignored “new” materialisms of their own.
12. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Dylan Shaul Kristeva vis-à-vis Hegel: Forgiveness as Psychoanalytic Interpretation and Absolute Knowing
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article reconstructs and compares Kristeva’s account of psychoanalytic interpretation as a practice of forgiveness with Hegel’s account of the origin of Absolute Knowing in the forgiveness constitutive of mutual recognition. An emphasis on homologies between the memory-work of Kristevan psychoanalysis and the recollective process of Hegelian Absolute Knowing elicits deeper affinities between Kristeva and Hegel than have previously been supposed. Both Kristevan and Hegelian forgiveness operate as the healing of an originary guilt, achieved through the verbal confession and examination of the confessor’s particular biographical and historical past, negating and raising up—sublating or sublimating—the contradictions of consciousness. Psychoanalysis and Absolute Knowing both enact in the present the reconciliation which religion perpetually defers to an unspecified future. While not replacing the institution of legal punishment, Kristevan and Hegelian forgiveness qua personal and social renewal and rebirth provide for the possibility of radical political transformation.
13. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Di Huang Beyond the Minimal Self: Sartre on the Imaginary Dimension of Selfhood
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article reconstructs Sartre’s theory of selfhood against the background of the contemporary debate between minimal-self theories and narrative-self theories. I argue that Sartre’s theory incorporates both an emphasis on the singular first-person perspective, which is characteristic of minimal-self theories, and an emphasis on the practical intelligibility of experience, which is characteristic of narrative-self theories. The distinctiveness of the Sartrean combination of these motifs consists in its idea of the necessary ideal-relatedness of consciousness. According to Sartre, the logical structure of the pre-reflective cogito requires the haunting presence of an ideal of self-coincidence, which determines for consciousness the meaning of its lived experiences. Consciousness exists as a question to itself due to this ideal-relatedness, and it answers this question by projecting its possibilities as creative and symbolic realizations of this ideal. Establishing the connection between Sartre’s theory of imagination and his theory of selfhood, I suggest that both the ideal and the possibility of consciousness are lived in the manner of the imaginary.
14. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Ellie Anderson Sartre’s Affective Turn: Shame as Recognition in “The Look”
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory of “the look” has generally been understood as an argument for the impossibility of mutual recognition between consciousnesses. Being-looked-at reveals me as an object for the other, but I can never grasp this object that I am. I argue here that the chapter “The Look” in Being and Nothingness has been widely misunderstood, causing many to dismiss Sartre’s view unfairly. Like Hegel’s account of recognition, Sartre’s “look” is meant as a theory of successful mutual recognition that proves the existence of others. Yet Sartre claims that such an account is plausible only if recognition is affective, not cognitive. Situating Sartre’s account of the look within his technical understanding of affect’s distinctness from cognition not only enables a better understanding of Sartre’s view, but also reveals a compelling alternative to the understanding of self-other relations in contemporary affect theory.
15. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Michael J. Bennett Habermas’s Interpretation of Arendt in The Future of Human Nature: Communicative Reason, Power, and Natality
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
This article responds to several liberal bioethicists’ criticisms of Jürgen Habermas’s The Future of Human Nature by placing it in the context of his intellectual influences and career-spanning theorization of communicative rationality. In particular, I argue that Habermas’s critics have not grasped his interpretation of Hannah Arendt’s concept of natality. Far from merely ventriloquizing his friend and teacher, Habermas distinguishes his construal of that concept from Arendt’s, which he presents as a naturalistic foil to his concerns about the potential ethical impact of preimplantation genetic interventions. Whereas, according to Habermas, Arendt reasons directly from the biological fact of birth to the capacity for political action, he himself construes natality as implying a “divide between nature and culture” at the level of the “lifeworld.” Identifying Habermas’s interpretation of Arendt in this way explains why Habermas claims not to be a biological determinist and why the bioethicists’ criticism, according to which he is, fails.
16. Philosophy Today: Volume > 65 > Issue: 3
Lawrence Cahoone The Pluralist Revolt: Forty Years Later
abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Post–World War Two philosophy in America has been divided into the mainstream of analytic philosophy and a family of nonanalytic schools of thought, for example, continental philosophy and American pragmatism. The current balance of power among these perspectives reflects an event that occurred forty years ago: the “Pluralist Revolt” at the 1979 APA Eastern Division Meetings. What follows is a progress report on the Revolt’s hopes. The tale has something to do with the recent history of philosophy, Richard Rorty, truth, and with the New York Christmas of 1979. It also has to do with recent politics. For while, as the Pluralists hoped, nonanalytic philosophy is today more prominent, and mainstream analytic philosophy more pluralist, than in the 1970s, political trends of recent decades have differently affected analytic and nonanalytic philosophers. The result may be a new version of what C. P. Snow called “The Two Cultures.”