Spring 2018 Seminar Series: Technology and Responsibility

Teacher: Dr. R.J. Snell

Time: 12:45pm-3:00pm on Fridays, lunch provided

Dates: 2/9; 2/23; 4/6; 4/20; 4/27; 5/4

Place: Whelan Hall, 16 Stockton Street

          This seminar examines the philosophy of technology through the lens of responsibility. In the contemporary debates on technology, one tends to find examples of obvious boosters and obvious detractors, but generally such conversations are conducted with reference to the external state of affairs brought about by technological developments (employment, products, communications). This for quite good reasons, and yet from the myth of Icarus onward reflections on technology have also noted that, in addition to the external states of affairs, technology brought about changes in the technologist, the technician, the maker. Given the remarkable power of our technology, and what awaits, some, such as Hans Jonas, have argued that a new ethical framework is called for, what he terms “the ethics of responsibility.” In this unique sector of human action, where we have the ability not only to alter the world but ourselves and world-evolutionary process, the implications of our free actions are profound. Rather than critiquing or defending the social consequences of the new technology, this part of the course, using Jonas as a primary resource, examines the meaning of freedom as we make ourselves through our technical apparatus.


For more information, contact at R. J. Snell at rsnell@winst.org.