Edwin Lo

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Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar VIII (27 April 2022) Luciana Parisi: Instrumentality and Possibility

Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar VIII

Luciana Parisi: Instrumentality and Possibility
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Wed, 27 April 2022
9pm-11pm HKT / 9am-11am EST

Online Event: Register to join via Zoom
Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/1zV8AEyy5

In this seminar, Luciana Parisi will discuss instrumentality and possibility in relation to computational systems. The talk will be followed by a dialogue with Yuk Hui.

Instrumentality generally defines a correlation between means and ends and can be set up to question the correlation between technology and philosophy. This talk will address instrumentality in terms of the critique of instrumental reason and its legacy in contemporary discussions on intelligent automation in the context of global computational capital. By drawing on American pragmatism, this talk proposes a notion of instrumentality that refuses the equation of the medium with thinking and of the datum with the ideatum. Instrumentality can rather offer alternatives for dialogues on philosophy and technology. The crisis of transcendental reason that returns in the computational configurations of racial capitalism (the extraction/abstraction of the flesh, land, water, oil, cognitive, creative, and social labour in algorithmic rules and data infrastructures) becomes a radical possibility for hacking the equation of instrumental reason at the core of Western metaphysics. As much as the myth of Prometheus appears to intensify the global speciation of knowledge – where the gendering, racializing and sexualizing conditions of knowing are recursively repeated across culture – so too do intelligent automation falls short of fulfilling the universality of the manifest image of man: the mismatch between thoughts and means can no longer be repaired.

Luciana Parisi is a Professor at the Program in Literature and Computational Media Art and Culture at Duke University. Her research is a philosophical investigation of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She was a member of the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit) and currently a co-founding member of CCB (Critical Computation Bureau). She is the author of Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004, Continuum Press) and Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space (2013, MIT Press). She is completing a monograph on alien epistemologies and the transformation of logical thinking in computation.

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today.

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Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar VII (16/17 March 2022) Andrew Feenberg: Meaning and Existence

Andrew Feenberg: Meaning and Existence
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Wednesday, 16 March 2022, 6pm-8pm PST
Thursday, 17 March 2022, 9-11am HKT

Online Event: Register to join via Zoom 
Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/35lCCKiWm

We live in two worlds, an objective world of facts and a lived world in which we are actively engaged with things. These two worlds cannot be resolved into a single reality, but they constantly communicate. In this talk I will discuss the interactions between them that shape science and technology.

Andrew Feenberg is Professor Emeritus at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, where he directed the Applied Communication and Technology Lab. He served as Directeur de Programme at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris from 2013-2019. His books include Questioning Technology, Transforming Technology, Heidegger and Marcuse, Between Reason and Experience, The Philosophy of Praxis, and Technosystem: The Social Life of Reason. His forthcoming book on Herbert Marcuse will appear with Verso this year.

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today.

Upcoming events include seminars in 2022 with Luciana Parisi (20 April), and Carl Mitcham (25 May). Follow our Facebook Page or sign-up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

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Book Conversation (10/11 March 2022) Discriminating Data by Wendy Chun

 

Book Conversation: Discriminating Data by Wendy Chun
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Thu 10 March 2022, 5pm PST / Fri 11 March 2022, 9am HKT
Online Event: Register to join via Zoom
Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/304BhrtRH

In this event, Wendy Chun will discuss her latest book Discriminating Data (2021, MIT Press) in conversation with Yuk Hui.

In Discriminating Data, Chun reveals how polarization is a goal—not an error—within big data and machine learning. These methods, she argues, encode segregation, eugenics, and identity politics through their default assumptions and conditions. Correlation, which grounds big data’s predictive potential, stems from twentieth-century eugenic attempts to “breed” a better future. Recommender systems foster angry clusters of sameness through homophily. Users are “trained” to become authentically predictable via a politics and technology of recognition. Machine learning and data analytics thus seek to disrupt the future by making disruption impossible.

Chun, who has a background in systems design engineering as well as media studies and cultural theory, explains that although machine learning algorithms may not officially include race as a category, they embed whiteness as a default. Facial recognition technology, for example, relies on the faces of Hollywood celebrities and university undergraduates—groups not famous for their diversity. Homophily emerged as a concept to describe white U.S. resident attitudes to living in biracial yet segregated public housing. Predictive policing technology deploys models trained on studies of predominantly underserved neighbourhoods. Trained on selected and often discriminatory or dirty data, these algorithms are only validated if they mirror this data.

How can we release ourselves from the vice-like grip of discriminatory data? Chun calls for alternative algorithms, defaults, and interdisciplinary coalitions in order to desegregate networks and foster a more democratic big data.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication, and Director of the Digital Democracies Institute at Simon Fraser University. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her current work on digital media. She is author of Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT 2016), and Discriminating Data (2021, MIT Press), and co-author of Pattern Discrimination (University of Minnesota + Meson Press 2019). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and where she’s currently a Visiting Professor.

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Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar VI (22 February 2022) Henning Schmidgen: Machinic Normativity

Henning Schmidgen: Machinic Normativity
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Tuesday, 22 February 2022
13:00-15:00 CET / 20:00-22:00 HKT
Online Event: Register to join via Zoom
Facebook Event

In today’s society, technologies are often perceived as helpful and fruitful “modes of existence” that facilitate and improve the lives of their users. At the same time, they are often experienced as limitations and constraints imposed on us by more or less abstract bodies and powers. The use of digital technologies, in particular, is often associated with unclear rules, preconditions, and consequences that limit our capacities for self-determination – and thus also the possibility of normative action. In this situation, it is not only the critique of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and information capitalism that is appropriate and necessary. As I argue, what is also at stake is an extended reflection about “machinic normativity,” i.e., the possibility and capacity for subjective and creative use of technologies.

This talk introduces the idea of machinic normativity by referring to the philosophical tradition of what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari have called “technological vitalism.” I will show that this tradition includes not just Deleuze and Guattari, but also philosophers and physicians such as Georges Canguilhem and Kurt Goldstein. Crucial to this tradition is a biological perspective on “technique” in which it is understood as synonymous with the possibility of shaping one’s environment. Accordingly, our answer to the question concerning technology depends crucially on actualizing this perspective.

Henning Schmidgen is Professor of Media Studies at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. He studied psychology, philosophy and linguistics in Berlin and Paris. In 1996, he obtained his PhD in psychology at the Free University Berlin. From 1997 to 2011, he was postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Dept. Rheinberger) in Berlin. In 2011, he obtained the Habilitation in history of science and media studies. Between 2011 and 2014 he was professor of media aesthetics at the University of Regensburg.

Bridging the gap between media studies and the history of science, Schmidgen worked extensively on Guattari’s machines, Canguilhem’s concepts, and the problem of time in physiology, psychology, and psychoanalysis. His research is published by journals such as Isis, Configurations, and Grey Room. Among his recent books are The Helmholtz-Curves. Tracing Lost Time (2014), The Guattari Tapes (2019) and Horn, or The Counterside of Media (2022).

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today. 

Upcoming events include seminars in 2022 with Andrew Feenberg (16 March), Luciana Parisi (20 April), and Carl Mitcham (25 May). Follow our Facebook Page or sign-up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

Book Talk (16 Feb 2022): Technopolitique du geste contemporain by Román Domínguez Jiménez

“On Technopolitics: The Task of Gesture” by Román Domínguez Jiménez 

Presented by the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology

Wed 16 February 2022
15:00 CET / 08:00 CDMX / 22:00 HKT
Online event: Register to join via Zoom
Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/4JDg8Ao0M

This seminar will be held in English and is based on Roman Dominguez recent book: Technopolitique du geste contemporain. Vivre et penser le naufrage numérique (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2021) in French: https://bit.ly/3J9CP0h

What is technopolitics? Why do we have to add such a pompous and perhaps useless term, to the already saturated network of terms, definitions and concepts of contemporary theory? Certainly, this term seems obvious: technopolitics would be the politics of technology. But this term can also be understood as a politics that cannot be separated from technology: here, we do not understand technology only as a particular sphere of human endeavor, but as a factual, aesthetic, and attitudinal condition of any politics that claims to be contemporary. I consider that to be contemporary today (redundancy aside) is less about sharing a horizon of meaning and knowledge than sharing a sensibility and way of expression; sharing a certain way of understanding, reacting, participating, and constructing events. Contrary to Agamben, who thinks that the contemporary is only the one who glimpses the light that comes from the past through the darkness of the present, I believe that all of those who, beyond all differences and all subtleties of interpretation, share a destiny, or lack of a destiny, are our contemporaries.

I believe that our destiny as a human collective is defined and will be defined in the years to come, by the way in which we will assume the couplings of our modes of thought, but above all, the couplings of our sensitivity and our most intimate movements, to the evolution of the digital sphere. It can be assumed that these couplings will not be done in a single manner that there are and will be many ways to stand up to this challenge: in local, global, cultural, political and economic ways. But what interests me here is not so much the diversity of solutions, as important as they are, but the common ground or plan they presuppose. In my view, this common plan is grounded on a collective change of attitude towards the present and towards destiny. A change which, even if it resonates with attitudes of the recent or ancestral past, is already different from any other past attitude, even if this attitude comes from a very recent past.

We can suggest that every attitude, every posture, every gesture is, at least in puissance, as much political as aesthetic. In my opinion, it is here that the sphere of techno-aesthetics intervenes, as Simondon conceives it. According to Simondon, techno-aesthetics should not be reduced to an aesthetics of technical objects, nor to an aesthetics of contemplation and reflection towards an artwork; it relates rather to an aesthetics “of gestures and finalized behaviors” (« Réflexions sur la techno-esthétique », Sur la technique, p. 392), that is to say, techno-aesthetics relates to an aesthetics of the use of things and artifacts, and I dare to say, to an aesthetics of performance. In short, techno-aesthetics would not only seek to understand the sphere of sensibility, but it would also seek to deal with movement, with the sphere of sensorimotor experience; a sphere at once ancestral and contemporary to what we can do in this world.

There is no destiny without Cosmos. Yet, if we follow Simondon’s approach, we cannot grasp the Cosmos, the Universe, without the mediation of aesthetics. This mediation passes through the filter of culture and thus through the technical solutions that each culture possesses in order to give its own appearances. Jean-Louis Déotte called these solutions “apparatuses” (appareils), and their modes of collective appropriation “cosmetics”, in the sense that these cosmetics do not configure a simple decoration, but a singular way of appearing, a way of confronting itself and insinuating itself in the Cosmos and in front of others. For Deótte, cultures are defined less by their degree of apprehension of a definitive reality than by the hallucinations, the phantasmagorias, and the relations towards destiny (the Law, according to Déotte) that they are capable of constructing and demolishing the appareils at their disposal: myth, fable, sacred texts, perspective, photography, film.

It is already commonplace to say that contemporary humanity lacks an experience of the Cosmos. However, the task of contemporary technopolitics would be nothing other than searching for the techno-aesthetic appropriation of Cosmos by the means of collective couplings with the digital sphere and through the means of the digital sphere. These couplings will imply a sensorimotor and notably a gestural work within the apparatuses at our disposal. Even and especially if these apparatuses are already emerging right before our eyes under the frightening, but sometimes also fascinating, figure of a global and almost transcendental (in Kant’s sense) video game.

 

Román Domínguez Jiménez is Professor at the Instituto de Estética, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago de Chile, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. His research concerns modern and contemporary philosophy and aesthetics, philosophy of film and philosophy of technology.

He currently directs the Diploma “Trayectorias y tendencias del cine” at the Instituto de Estética UC and, with PhD Laura González, the International Research Seminar “Imagen, Cultura y Tecnología” at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). His recent research focuses on the different techno-aesthetic configurations of contemporary gestuality. He is the author of Technopolitique du geste contemporain. Vivre et penser le naufrage numérique (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2021) and Editor of Estética y deporte (Santiago: Ediciones UC, 2021). He is currently preparing the second volume of Technopolitique du geste contemporain, whose working title is “Ozu et le geste”.

 

 

 

Book Talk (26 Jan 2022): Continental Philosophy of Technoscience by Hub Zwart

Book Talk: Continental Philosophy of Technoscience by Hub Zwart

Presented by the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

7-9pm HKT, 12-2pm CET

Online Event: Register to join via Zoom

Moderated by Pieter Lemmens, Assistant Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Respondents:

Natalia Juchniewicz, Assistant Professor, University of Warsaw, Poland, Institute of Philosophy

Vincent Blok, Associate Professor, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, Philosophy Chair Group.

Continental Philosophy of Technoscience (Springer 2021):

The key objective of this volume is to allow philosophy students and early-stage researchers to become practicing philosophers in technoscientific settings. Zwart focuses on the methodological issue of how to practice continental philosophy of technoscience today.

This text draws upon continental authors such as Hegel, Engels, Heidegger, Bachelard and Lacan (and their fields of dialectics, phenomenology and psychoanalysis) in developing a coherent message around the technicity of science or rather, “technoscience”. Within technoscience, the focus will be on recent developments in life sciences research, such as genomics, post-genomics, synthetic biology and global ecology. This book uniquely presents continental perspectives that tend to be underrepresented in mainstream philosophy of science, yet entail crucial insights for coming to terms with technoscience as it is evolving on a global scale today.

The book is open access and can be downloaded in EPUB or PDF format here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-84570-4

Prof. Dr. Hub Zwart (1960) studied philosophy and psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen, worked as a research associate at the Centre for Bioethics in Maastricht (1988-1992) and defended his thesis in 1993. In 2000 he became full Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Science RU Nijmegen and in 2018 he was appointed as Dean of Erasmus School of Philosophy (Erasmus University Rotterdam). He has published 15 books and over 100 academic papers. In his research he develops a continental philosophical perspective on contemporary technoscience. Special attention is given to genres of the imagination (novels, plays, poetry) in research and education.

Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar V (19 Jan 2022) Anna Longo: Predictive Technology vs. Prophetic Techne

Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology
Research Seminar V

Anna Longo: Predictive Technology vs. Prophetic Techne
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Wednesday, 19 January 2022
13:00-15:00 CET / 20:00-22:00 HKT
Facebook Event
Online Event: Register to join via Zoom

Heidegger claims that the essence of technology is our destiny as a mode of revealing. Accordingly, scientific knowledge is not the cause of technological development but the consequence of the technical provocation of beings. Scientific hypotheses are not mere expectations about future occurrences but they are based on experimental settings through which natural systems are technically constrained to behave predictably, allowing for efficient use to obtain the desired results. This has been made explicit by logical empiricism under the assumption that the truth of scientific hypotheses depends on the logical implication between premises (evidence) and consequences (predictions). Rather than asking why we should expect the persistence of observed regularities (metaphysical question), we should ground knowledge on the practices that have been regularly employed and that have been shaping the use of scientific terms and concepts. This move opens up to the possibility of developing AI as an automatic calculation of the truth value of inductive inferences (the first to do so was Ray Solomonoff, Rudolf Carnap’s PhD student).

Considering the debate opposing Heidegger and Carnap, it is clear that while the latter aims to exclude from the field of acceptable knowledge any metaphysical use of empty concepts, the former blames this exclusion as the extreme danger to which technology exposes us, i.e. the absolutization of its mode of revealing. The dangerous consequence of this absolutization is not only the reduction of human beings to exploitable resources, but more fundamentally, the dismissal of freedom, conceived as the capacity of accessing truth as ‘essence’, or destiny.

In this talk I am going to explore the reasons why Heidegger considers poiesis as a specific method for enquiring on this not rationally acceptable truth: the ‘essence’ of reality as metaphysical destiny. I am going to suggest that, in order to fully understand Heidegger’s proposal for resisting the absolutization of technological enframing, we have to take into account Alexander Baumgarten’s aesthetics. This will allow me to show how techne – artistic praxis or poiesis – can still save us from the danger of being reduced to mere resources of information for the autonomous evolution of AI. I’ll show how esthetic knowledge consists in prophesying on our destiny, a destiny that escapes any possible scientifically acceptable prediction.

Anna Longo (Ph.D Panthéon-Sorbonne University) is a philosopher. She is directing the programme, Technologies of Time at Collège International de Philosophie and has been teaching at University Paris 1 and the California Institute of the Arts. She has been invited keynote speaker in conferences all over the world, she has been contributing to peer reviewed journals and international anthologies. Her forthcoming book, “The Game of Induction: Automatic knowledge production and philosophical reflection,” explores the progressive affirmation of the game theoretic conception of knowing that constitute the paradigm for algorithmic learning and contemporary AI; at the same time, it proposes to consider aesthetics as a form of knowledge that cannot be reduced to the former and that operates within its own horizon of truth.

 

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today.

Upcoming events include seminars with Henning Schmidgen (22 Feb), Andrew Feenberg (16 March), Luciana Parisi (20 April), and Carl Mitcham (25 May). Follow our Facebook Page or sign-up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

Symposium (7-19 Dec 2021) Art, Technology and Philosophy Lecture Series and Symposium: Departing from the Microcosmos

Join the Media Lab of Guangdong Times Museum and the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology for the Media Lab’s inaugural Art, Technology and Philosophy Lecture series and Symposium “Departing from the Microcosmos” addressing traditional Chinese medicine and modernization.

Modernization brought forward two temporal dimensions: on the one hand, simultaneity, characterized by the synchronization and homogenization of knowledge through technological means; on the other hand, sequentiality, the development of knowledge according to an internal necessity, namely progress. The victory of the modern simultaneously implies an epistemological war across the globe in the past hundred years. Knowledge that remains incompatible with this temporalization process is excluded as pre-modern or non-modern. This opposition between the modern and the traditional has been historically approached from a duality, namely taking one as the soul, the other as body; one as thought, the other as instrument. This dualist scheme has proved to be a failure because it is, in itself, a product of early modernity.

In China, the debate between Western medicine and Chinese medicine has been ongoing for many decades; however, the return to traditional knowledge shouldn’t be monopolized by nationalism, but rather it should be taken as an opportunity to rethink knowledge and its relationship to modernity, which might give us a glimpse of a possibility for configuring a new modern in several ways. Firstly, it reveals a cosmo-epistemic understanding of ten thousand beings, which deviates from the modern episteme, and whose significance remains yet to be fully explored. Secondly, its incompatibility with modern scientific knowledge could also be the source of inspiration and creativity. A regrounding of art, technology, and philosophy might shed light on the individuation of thinking that the epoch calls for. Media Lab’s inaugural “Art, Technology and Philosophy Lecture Series” consists of five lectures, a workshop and a symposium dedicated to the re-articulation of knowledge in the digital age, with the participation of anthropologists, philosophers, historians of science and artists, including Judith Farquhar (University of Chicago), Volker Scheid (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science/University of Westminster),  Keekok Lee (University of Manchester), Lili Lai (Peking University), Xia Lin & Sheryl Cheung (lololol Collective).

 

Schedule for Lectures and Symposium (7-13th December 2021 Online Lectures)

Volker Scheid: How Chinese Medicine Became German: Holism, Systems, and Free Flow (7 December)

Judith Farquhar: Medical Action, Human Things: Practice/ Roots/ Ethics (9 December)

Lili Lai: Climate Phenology, Syndromes: the Circle of Life (11 December)

Keekok Lee: One Interpretation of Classical Chinese Medicine from the Standpoint of the Philosophy of Medicine (13 December)

*All lectures will screen on the media lab website with both English and Chinese subtitles.

 

18th December 2021

10:30-11:30 (UTC 8, Zoom Webinar)

Clear Calm Free Human online performance lecture and conversation with Sheryl Cheung, moderated by Wu Jianru.

RSVP

 

15:00-17:00 (UTC +8)

3C Xing Yi Quan Workshop hosted by Xia Lin at East Hall of Guangdong Times Museum.

Register

 

19th December 2021

21:00-23:00 UTC +8 (13:00-15:00 UTC +1), Zoom Webinar

Departing from the Microcosmos Symposium

Discussant and Moderator: Yuk Hui

Guests: Keekok Lee, Judith Farquhar, Volker Scheid, Lili Lai, Xia Lin, Sheryl Cheung

RSVP

 

About Media Lab

Initiated in 2019 and officially established in December 2021, the Media Lab of Times Art Museum is dedicated to contemplating and exploring the languages and traditions of art from the perspective of media and technology in an era of accelerated technological development. It aims to deliver a new vision of art and technology by experimenting with the ways in which digital media build new social relationships and foster cultural imagination through rehearsals and speculations.

技術與哲學研究網絡
About
Research Network for Philosophy and Technology

The Research Network for Philosophy and Technology, established in 2014, gathers international experts to rethink the relation between philosophy and technology and the future of this relation from global and historical perspectives.

 

 

 

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Call for Papers: Technē and Feminism – Special Issue of Technophany, Edited by Katerina Kolozova and Vera Bühlmann

Technē and Feminism

Special Issue of Technophany, Edited by Katerina Kolozova and Vera Bühlmann

Scope and Invitation for Contributions:

Feminism has a strong tradition of entrusting its prospects for the emancipation of women to technological innovation and development. Ranging from women’s ‘access to history’ as a means of liberation from ‘biological fate,’ as discussed by Simone de Beauvoir, to Donna Haraway’s ‘cyborg’, which is considered as a figure of emancipation. This stance toward technology has been shared by many, Shulamith Firestone and Sylvia Wynter being two further examples. In the context of the more recent trends in new feminist materialisms and realisms, technology and scientific inquiry have taken on a prominent new role in expanding the epistemic horizon for feminist thought, but without directly and explicitly tackling some of the pressing philosophical and political issues such as reproductive rights or gender subjectivation. On the one hand, the ‘affinity of nature and technology’ has been a recurring theme in this specific feminist engagement with technology (Haraway, Braidotti). On the other hand, identity politics related theories (in particular, within the poststructuralist paradigm) have rarely explored the subject of technology except as an appendage to the discourse on the politics of emancipation. These conceptualizations need to be reviewed, especially if the post-nineties’ celebration of cyber-theory and conceptions of reality as an occasion for self-reinvention and redefinition are taken into account.

How should we respond to the new scopes of power that techno-scientific developments have brought forth, when traditional domains of abstraction are conquered by the application of information theory and quantum mechanics in the cognitive and life sciences? How are we to establish a dialogue between the humanities and the sciences without thereby repeating narratives of evolutionary ‘next steps’ in a progress-historical or naturalised manner?

Furthermore, this issue is interested in problematising the limits of poststructuralist subject-centred approaches with respect to these new scopes of power. Is there not implicated in mastering the ‘the technicalities’ at work in current technology another kind of ‘objectivity’? Can we think of notions of objectivity that are not in a dualist polarity with notions of subjectivity, notions that are more actively, more spectrally and gradually, entangled with one another? How are we to approach the works of feminist scholars like Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti and Katherine Hayles along the proposed line of critique or questioning? Does Cary Wolf’s proposal, that the posthumanism proposed by some of the above authors ends up as a transhumanism even if only inadvertently, remain correct? Furthermore, how are we to think of the ‘rationalism’ brought forward by Xenofeminism with respect to these concerns?

How may it be possible to think of empowerment in a way that does not revolve around an individual’s subject position, one which can be chosen through one’s own free will – the liberal idea of ‘choice’ implied – and which can be declared as such and such by virtue of a presumably fully sovereign selfhood. How are we to acknowledge the limits of the so called ‘subjectively empowering reality’, which sometimes if not most of the time is blind to its material reality? Especially: how to think of the categorical status of ‘active materiality’ that is at work in technology through a feminist optics? In the poststructuralist paradigm, technology has often served the role of a superior tool, one able to assume a ‘life of its own’ or institute itself as a quasi-subjectivity. In Haraway’s tradition it has been treated as prosthesis always already hybridized with the human whose emancipatory role is not contemplated beyond what Beauvoir or Firestone considered most relevant in the emancipatory struggles – the clutches of nature.

This issue of Technophany would like to raise the question of whether and how second wave feminism’s use of the notion of technology may have been premised on a specific treatment of nature, and also whether and how poststructuralist feminism may not still be perpetuating the somatophobia so present in Western rational thought, as discussed in Irigaray’s Speculum of the Other Woman? If we still find nested, in the Xenofeminst celebration of ‘alienation ’and in their proposal of a rationalist feminism, an overcoming of ‘biological fate’ – then is this not just the same old Cartesian divide once again at work? Or to put it differently: what would be a feminist-materialist engagement with nature and its rationality? Our interest hereby concerns not so much the evaluative discussion of particular positions, but a systematic blind spot that often seems to be at work in how feminism engages with technology. Just how exactly are contemporary feminist materialisms actually materialist, if they fall prey to the urge to subjectivize matter and technology mainly in the registers of individualist emancipation, to perpetuate subjectivity-centred thinking in their epistemological approaches, and thus continue involving anthropocentrism even when claiming to do the exact opposite?

Next to these general questions, we would like to invite the authors to approach the following subject matters more specifically:

  • Problem area 1: We would like to revisit the Marxian concept of ‘means of production’ in an era of automated labour. If not by seizing the means of production – by what other method could a supposed socialist feminist change of system be possible at all? We are interested in asking the question of the categorical status of the means of production, how and if they can be subjectivized; we are also interested in the dialectics of object-subject relations with respect to this both as a question of method and of ontology. With interests like these, it seems important to revisit Marx’s original discussion of the concept, as well as the Marxist legacy, in order to examine its possible reconceptualizations against the backdrop of 21st century digital ecosystems and their ‘socio-ontological’ status today.
  • Problem area 2: With the above outlined overall interest in technology not only in terms of objective agents or formal actants, but also as endowed with subjective agency or material activity, we would like to revisit also ancient philosophy and the notion of technē as art and craft therein; how does the relation between technics and women feature in classical philosophy or in thought at the origin of Western rationalism? Is there perhaps a yet unheard-of voice to be sounded by rationalist philosophy in mythical persona like Pythia, a voice that speaks in tongues countering somatophobic articulations? If purging of the apparently inextricable link between rationalism and somatophobia were possible, could we learn to recognize a new kind of somatophilic rationality? Extending on these speculations and interests, we would like to invite revisiting Irigaray’s Speculum, and its discussion of Plato’s hystera (cave); let us revisit Irigaray here not only as a psychoanalyst but also as a Marxist feminist, let us think about her proposed reversal of the subject-object dialectics through a feminist take on metaphysics that attempts to come to terms with an optics of what we could better call ‘diffractive screening’ rather than ‘authorship’; what would be at stake here is coming to terms with an optics that strokes unheard of spectral (information technological) scales that are yet to be sounded in new materialist keys.

We invite contributions in the form of academic articles from across disciplines, in particular those departing from the stance of deep, integrative interdisciplinarity. The average required length of a contribution is 6000 words, accompanied by a 200-word abstract. Interested contributors please send their abstracts to the editors (techneefeminism@gmail.com) before 15th February 2022; once accepted, the authors will have 9 months to complete their article. As for the house style of formatting (style of referencing and related issues), and the submission process itself, please follow the Technophany submission guidelines: http://journal.philosophyandtechnology.network/submission-guidelines/

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Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar IV (7 Dec 2021) Susanna Lindberg: Bernard Stiegler’s Love of Music

Susanna Lindberg: Bernard Stiegler’s Love of Music
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Tuesday, 7 December 2021
19:00 HKT / 12:00 CET
Online Event: Register to join via Zoom

For this seminar for the Dialogues in Philosophy and Technology, Susanna Lindberg will discuss the late philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s love of music and his experience as director from 2002-2005 of IRCAM, the renowned French institution for musical research. The talk will be followed by a dialogue with Yuk Hui.

Bernard Stiegler was neither a musician nor a musicologist. He did not compose his philosophy in a distinctively musical manner. Still his life was tied to concrete musical institutions twice, as owner of a jazz bar and as director of IRCAM. Are the jazz bar and the laboratory of contemporary music just biographical coincidences, or symptoms of a fundamental musical experience with philosophical consequences? In reality, although it may not be so evident at first glance, music constitutes an originary impetus of Stiegler’s philosophical thinking, equal in importance to the more visible (precisely) cinematographic and televisual themes, and more emancipatory than them. Music has for Stiegler a fundamental philosophical role comparable to the role of writing for Derrida, to the extent that Stiegler even says in an interview titled ‘Le circuit du désir musical’ that he has wanted to study in the domain of music the question that Derrida has studied under the name of grammatology.

In this paper, Lindberg will present the ‘heuristic privilege’ that Stiegler accords to music because of its ‘marked instrumental nature that distinguishes it among arts; in the domain of music the process of instrumentalisation not only has begun very early but is ‘originarily manifest’. Music is also the best possible illustration of Stiegler’s core idea of the interlacing of technics and of the time of consciousness. Secondly, Lindberg will show how the question of music structures Stiegler’s diagnosis of the contemporary globalised society interpreted as the epoch of the industrial production of affects. Finally, she will show how music gives ways of escaping the depressing standardisation characteristic of this epoch.

Susanna Lindberg is a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Leiden, Netherlands. She is a specialist of German idealism, phenomenology, and contemporary French philosophy. In recent years, her research has carried on the question of technology. Her publications include Techniques en philosophie (Hermann, 2020), Le monde défait. L’être au monde aujourd’hui (Hermann, 2016), Heidegger contre Hegel: Les irréconciliables, and Entre Heidegger et Hegel: L’éclosion et vie de l’être (L’Harmattan, 2010). She also has edited several collected volumes, notably The Ethos of Digital Environments. Technology, Literary Theory and Philosophy (with Hana Roine, forthcoming at Routledge, 2021), The End of the World (with Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, Rowman and Littlefield, 2017) and Europe Beyond Universalism and Particularism (with Sergei Prozorov and Mika Ojakangas, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today.

Upcoming events in 2022 include seminars with Anna Longo, Henning Schmidgen, Andrew Feenberg, and Luciana Parisi.

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Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar III (24 Nov 2021) Jean-Hugues Barthélémy: Towards Philosophical Relativity

Jean-Hugues Barthélémy
Towards Philosophical Relativity
In dialogue with Yuk Hui

Wednesday, 24 November 2021
13:00 CET / 20:00 HKT
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Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/2NwKhPQE3

I call Gilbert Simondon’s philosophical doctrine a “genetic encyclopaedism”, insofar as such a doctrine unifies his two doctoral theses: Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information and On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, and at the same time distinguishes itself from his courses published posthumously. The problem of the unity of these two theses was one of the many problems that I have encountered in my early work to articulate an exegesis of Simondon’s thinking. However, this exegetical work, although animated by the conviction that I could reveal all the strength and relevance of his thought, was in fact always directed towards something Post-Simondon. Even before my doctoral thesis, such effort was guided by the project of a future “all-encompassing refoundation” of his ontology within a new and global system whose first problematics will be a post-Wittgensteinian and post-Heideggerian “philosophical semantics”, and which will bear the name “Philosophical Relativity”. In this new theoretical context, ontology will become a second problematics and no longer a “first philosophy” as Simondon called it. The particularity of such a new and global system is that it does not constitute a system of Knowledge per se, since its globality is the consequence of the diffraction of meanings, a remedy to the traditional objectivation of meanings that knowledge entails, as well as to relativism itself – insofar as the latter still belongs to the objectivation of meanings by a philosophizing individual. This is what an internal criticism of genetic encyclopaedism itself will lead to.

Jean-Hugues Barthélémy is a philosopher and associated researcher at Paris-Nanterre University. He edited the Cahiers Simondon from 2009 to 2015, and directed the Centre international des études simondoniennes from 2014 to 2019. Barthélémy is author of Life and Technology: An Inquiry Into and Beyond Simondon (Meson Press, 2015) and of other reference monographies (2005; 2008; 2014) on the thought of the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, and has recently published Ego Alter: Dialogues pour l’avenir de la Terre (Paris: Éditions Matériologiques, 2021), after having published his first work of global philosophical reconstruction, La Société de l’invention: Pour une architectonique philosophique de l’âge écologique (Paris: Éditions Matériologiques, 2018). His book, Manifeste pour l’écologie humaine (Actes Sud, 2022) is forthcoming. Jean-Hugues Barthélémy is also a member of the advisory committee to the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology.

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today. Upcoming events include a talk by Susanna Lindberg on Bernard Stiegler’s love of music (7 December 2021).

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Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology Research Seminar II (11 Nov 2021): Global Perspectives on Philosophy of Engineering and Technology

Workshop: Global Perspectives on Philosophy of Engineering and Technology

A dialogue between Diane Michelfelder, editor of the Routledge Handbook for Philosophy of Engineering (2021) and Shannon Vallor, editor of the Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Technology (2021), hosted by Carl Mitcham.

Thursday, 11 November 2021
9pm Hong Kong / 2pm Central Europe / 1pm Edinburgh / 7am Central US / 6am Mountain US
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Facebook Event

This event brings together the editors of two major new leading reference works on the philosophy of engineering and technology ̶ Diane Michelfelder and Shannon Vallor ̶ to share their perspectives on the fields. The dialogue will be hosted by Carl Mitcham, a contributor to both volumes.

Diane P. Michelfelder is Professor of Philosophy at Macalester College (St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA). She has also been a leading contributor to creation and development of fPET (Forum on Philosophy, Engineering, and Technology) as a founding member of its steering committee. Diane Michelfelder has served the Society for Philosophy of Technology in multiple roles, including as president and as co-editor-in-chief of the society’s journal, Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology. Her work has appeared in Techné as well as in Science and Engineering Ethics, AI & Society, Philosophy and Technology, Engineering Studies, and Ethics and Information Technology. Her most recent (2020) book volume, co-edited with Neelke Doorn, is The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Engineering.

Shannon Vallor is the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence and Director of the Centre for Technomoral Futures in the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also appointed in the Department of Philosophy. Shannon Vallor’s research explores how emerging technologies reshape human moral and intellectual character, and maps the ethical challenges and opportunities posed by new uses of data and artificial intelligence. Her work includes advising academia, government and industry on the ethical design and use of AI, and she is a former Visiting Researcher and AI Ethicist at Google. She is the author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016) and editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology. She is the recipient of multiple awards for teaching, scholarship and public engagement, including the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics.

Carl Mitcham is International Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Renmin University of China, Beijing, and Emeritus Professor of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado, USA). His publications include Thinking through Technology: The Path between Engineering and Philosophy (1994), Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics (4 vols., 2005), Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (2010, with Robert Frodeman and Julie Thompson Klein), Ethics and Science: An Introduction (2012, with Adam Briggle), and Steps toward a Philosophy of Engineering: Historico-Philosophical and Critical Essays (2020). Carl Mitcham has also served as a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994-2000) and on expert study groups for the European Commission (2009 and 2012). Awards include the 2006 World Technology Award in Ethics and a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Universitat Internacional Valenciana, Spain (2010). He is a contributor to both volumes that are the focus of this dialogue.

About the series

The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today. Upcoming events include a talk by philosopher Jean-Hugues Barthélémy (24 November 2021) and Susanna Lindberg, Professor, Leiden University, (7 December 2021).

Follow our Facebook Page or sign-up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

More information:
Routledge Handbook for Philosophy of Engineering
(Edited By Diane P. Michelfelder, Neelke Doorn. UK: Routledge, 2021)
Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Technology (Edited by Shannon Vallor. UK: Oxford, 2021)

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