223 research outputs found

    Liberation and passion: reconstructing the passion perspective on human being and freedom

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    Many contemporary philosophers tell us that we are essentially purposeful, independent, willing, and acting beings. The self is presented as a citadel defending itself against external, alien influences. Alternatively, some argue that we are the sum of a determined body and a free will. Are we really like that? And is personal liberation basically a matter of enhancing our capacity to will, to act, and to control ourselves? Is freedom necessarily a question of will and action?\ud \ud This book searches for alternative perspectives on human being and freedom, highlighting a different side of ourselves: openness, receptivity, dependency, being-in-relation. By articulating these aspects in the work of some key Western thinkers, including Euripides, Augustine, Eckhart, Dostoevski, and Heidegger, the author explores a different view of what liberation is and what it would be like to be fre

    Can we choose evil? A discussion of the problem of radical evil as a modern and ancient problem of freedom

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    The problem discussed in this paper emerges from work I’ve\ud done on the modern ideal of autonomy.1 I found that autonomy is often\ud seen as a morally neutral term. Put in terms of good and evil, this means\ud that it is held consistent to say that a person is autonomous and chooses\ud evil. Autonomy, by itself, so it is argued, is neutral with regard to good or\ud evil. On this view, whether or not I choose evil, if I make this choice in the\ud capacity of being my own master, of governing and ruling myself, then\ud there is nothing in the way of autonomy that I lack. For example, Feinberg\ud argues that autonomy is consistent with ruthlessness, cruelty, and other\ud (moral) failings, and that it is therefore at best only a partial ideal\ud “insufficient for full moral excellence.”2\ud Is this a tenable position? In this paper I discuss whether it makes\ud sense to say that a person has a (real) choice between good and evil,\ud regardless of his state in terms of autonomy. First, I clarify the problem by\ud using aspects from the work of Plato and Augustine. Second, I show how\ud Kant attempts to deal with this problem by discussing key aspects of his\ud moral theory, in particular his concept of radical evil.\ud For the sake of my argument, I assume in this paper that it is\ud meaningful to speak of ‘good’ and ‘evil’

    Technology and the Appearance of the Good: Carebots, Virtual Virtue, and the Best Possible Life

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    Growth of the elderly population and nursing shortage place increased pressure on our health care systems. One possible response is to let care robots or carebots take over care tasks. Some of these robots appear human in some way (humanoid robots), or look and act like a pet (pet robots). As personal robots they ‘share physical and emotional spaces with the user’ (Cerqui and Arras 2001) and play a role in daily life. They can assist ill and elderly people by monitoring them, by delivering drugs, by moving them around, by helping them with domestic tasks. They can be used for therapeutic aims, or to entertain and accompany people. \ud How can we evaluate such a near-future scenario in terms of its contribution to ‘the good life’, given that carebots would often replace real humans or pets?\u

    Criminals or Patients? Towards a Tragic Conception of Moral and Legal Responsibility \ud

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    There is a gap between, on the one hand, the tragic character of human action and, on the other hand, our moral and legal conceptions of responsibility that focus on individual agency and absolute guilt. Drawing on Kierkegaard’s understanding of tragic action and engaging with contemporary discourse on moral luck, poetic justice, and relational responsibility, this paper argues for a reform of our legal practices based on a less ‘harsh’ (Kierkegaard) conception of moral and legal responsibility and directed more at empathic understanding based on the emotional and imaginative appreciation of personal narratives. This may help our societies and communities to better cope with unacceptable deeds by individuals who are neither criminals nor patients, to make room for praise as well as blame and punishment, and to set up practices and institutions that do not rely on a conception of responsibility that is hard to bear for all of us. \u

    The art, poetics, and grammar of technological innovation as practice, process, and performance

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    Usually technological innovation and artistic work are seen as very distinctive practices, and innovation of technologies is understood in terms of design and human intention. Moreover, thinking about technological innovation is usually categorized as “technical” and disconnected from thinking about culture and the social. Drawing on work by Dewey, Heidegger, Latour, and Wittgenstein and responding to academic discourses about craft and design, ethics and responsible innovation, transdisciplinarity, and participation, this essay questions these assumptions and examines what kind of knowledge and practices are involved in art and technological innovation. It argues that technological innovation is indeed “technical”, but, if conceptualized as techne, can be understood as art and performance. It is argued that in practice, innovative techne is not only connected to episteme as theoretical knowledge but also has the mode of poiesis: it is not just the outcome of human design and intention but rather involves a performative process in which there is a “dialogue” between form and matter and between creator and environment in which humans and non-humans participate. Moreover, this art is embedded in broader cultural patterns and grammars—ultimately a ‘form of life’—that shape and make possible the innovation. In that sense, there is no gap between science and society—a gap that is often assumed in STS and in, for instance, discourse on responsible innovation. It is concluded that technology and art were only relatively recently and unfortunately divorced, conceptually, but that in practices and performances they were always linked. If we understand technological innovation as a poetic, participative, and performative process, then bringing together technological innovation and artistic practices should not be seen as a marginal or luxury project but instead as one that is central, necessary, and vital for cultural-technological change. This conceptualization supports not only a different approach to innovation but has also social-transformative potential and has implications for ethics of technology and responsible innovation

    Skillful coping with and through technologies: Some challenges and avenues for a Dreyfus-inspired philosophy of technology

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    Open access articleDreyfus’s work is widely known for its critique of artificial intelligence and still stands as an example of how to do excellent philosophical work that is at the same time relevant to contemporary technological and scientific developments. But for philosophers of technology, especially for those sympathetic to using Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Wittgenstein as sources of inspiration, it has much more to offer. This paper outlines Dreyfus’s account of skillful coping and critically evaluates its potential for thinking about technology. First, it is argued that his account of skillful coping can be developed into a general view about handling technology which gives due attention to know-how/implicit knowledge and embodiment. Then a number of outstanding challenges are identified that are difficult to cope with if one remains entirely within the world of Dreyfus’s writings. They concern (1) questions regarding other conceptualizations of technology and human–technology relations, (2) issues concerning how to conceptualize the social and the relation between skill, meaning, and practices, and (3) the question about the ethical and political implications of his view, including how virtue and skill are related. Acknowledging some known discussions about Dreyfus’s work, but also drawing on other material and on the author’s previous writings, the paper suggests that to address these challenges and develop the account of skillful coping into a wider scoped, Dreyfus-inspired philosophy of technology, it could take more distance from Heidegger’s conceptions of technology and benefit from (more) engagement with work in postphenomenology (Ihde), pragmatism (Dewey), the later Wittgenstein, and virtue ethics