Poverty tours - actual visits as well as literary and cinematic versions - are characterized as morally controversial trips and condemned in the press as voyeuristic endeavors. In this collaborative essay, we draw from personal experience, legal expertise, and phenomenological philosophy and introduce a conceptual taxonomy that clarifies the circumstances in which observing others has been construed as an immoral use of the gaze. We appeal to this taxonomy to determine which observational circumstances are relevant to the poverty tourism debate. (...) While we do not defend all or even most poverty tourism practices, we do conclude that categorical condemnation of poverty tourism is unjustified. (shrink)
Confronting the Moral Dimensions of Technology Through Mediation Theory Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-27 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0054-3 Authors Evan Selinger, Department Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433.
Abstract Because wicked problems are beyond the scope of normal, industrial-age engineering science, sustainability problems will require reform of current engineering science and technology practices. We assert that, while pluralism concerning use of the term sustainability is likely to persist, universities should continue to cultivate research and education programs specifically devoted to sustainable engineering science , an enterprise that is formally demarcated from business-as-usual and systems optimization approaches. Advancing sustainable engineering science requires a shift in orientation away from reductionism and (...) intellectual specialization towards integrative approaches to science, education, and technology that: (1) draw upon an ethical awareness that extends beyond the usual bounds of professional ethics or responsible conduct of research to include macroethics , (2) adopt anticipatory and adaptive approaches to unintended consequences resulting from technological innovation that result in more resilient systems, and (3) cultivate interactional expertise to facilitate cross-disciplinary exchange. Unfortunately, existing education and research training programs are ill-equipped to prepare scientists and engineers to operate effectively in a wicked problems milieu. Therefore, it is essential to create new programs of graduate education that will train scientists and engineers to become sustainable engineering science experts equipped to recognize and grapple with the macro-ethical, adaptive, and cross-disciplinary challenges embedded in their technical research and development programs. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-18 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9342-2 Authors Thomas Seager, School of Sustainability and The Built Environment, Arizona State University, Phoenix Metropolitan Area, AZ, USA Evan Selinger, Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Henrietta, NY, USA Arnim Wiek, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Phoenix Metropolitan Area, AZ, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Erratum to: Book Symposium on Peter Paul Verbeek’s Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011 Content Type Journal Article Category Erratum Pages 1-27 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0058-z Authors Evan Selinger, Dept. Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA Don Ihde, Dept. Philosophy, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA Ibo van de Poel, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands Martin Peterson, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, the Netherlands Peter-Paul Verbeek, Dept. Philosophy, (...) Twente University, Enschede, the Netherlands Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (2008) contend that mandated choice is the most practical nudge for increasing organ donation. We argue that they are wrong, and their mistake results from failing to appreciate how perceptions of meaning can influence people's responses to nudges. We favor a policy of default to donation that is subject to immediate family veto power, includes options for people to opt out (and be educated on how to do so), and emphasizes the role of organ procurement (...) organizations and in-house transplant donation coordinators creating better environments for increasing the supply of organs and tissues obtained from cadavers. This policy will provide better opportunities for offering nudges in contexts where in-house coordinators work with families. We conclude by arguing that nudges can be introduced ethically and effectively into these contexts only if nudge designers collaborate with in-house coordinators and stakeholders. (shrink)
Action Schemes: Questions and Suggestions Content Type Journal Article Pages 83-88 DOI 10.1007/s13347-010-0007-2 Authors Evan Selinger, Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY USA Jesús Aguilar, Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY USA Kyle Powys Whyte, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI USA Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 1.
Abstract: This essay critically examines whether there are ethical dimensions to the way that expertise, knowledge claims, and expressions of skepticism intersect on technical matters that influence public policy, especially during times of crisis. It compares two different perspectives on the matter: a philosophical outlook rooted in discourse and virtue ethics and a sociological outlook rooted in the so-called third-wave approach to science studies. The comparison occurs through metaphilosophical analysis and applied claims that clarify how the disciplinary orientations appear to (...) lead to different judgments about matters related to Robert Paarlberg's condemnation of activists who advise African politicians to ban genetically modified food. (shrink)
Is it morally permissible for financially privileged tourists to visit places for the purpose of experiencing where poor people live, work, and play? Tourism associated with this question is commonly referred to as ?poverty tourism?. While some poverty tourism is plausibly ethical, other practices will be more controversial. The purpose of this essay is to address mutually beneficial cases of poverty tourism and advance the following positions. First, even mutually beneficial transactions between tourists and residents in poverty tourism always run (...) a risk of being exploitative. Second, there is little opportunity to determine whether a given tour is exploitative since tourists lack good access to the residents' perspectives. Third, if a case of poverty tourism is exploitative, it is so in an indulgent way; tourists are not compelled to exploit the residents. In light of these considerations, we conclude that would-be tourists should participate in poverty tours only if there is a well-established collaborative and consensual process in place, akin to a ?fair trade? process. (shrink)
Poverty tours—actual visits as well as literary and cinematic versions—are characterized as morally controversial trips and condemned in the press as voyeuristic endeavors. In this collaborative essay, we draw from personal experience, legal expertise, and phenomenological philosophy and introduce a conceptual taxonomy that clarifies the circumstances in which observing others has been construed as an immoral use of the gaze. We appeal to this taxonomy to determine which observational circumstances are ethically relevant to the poverty tourism debate. While we do (...) not defend all or even most poverty tourism practices, we do conclude that categorical condemnation of poverty tourism is unjustified. (shrink)
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge advances a theory of how designers can improve decision-making in various situations where people have to make choices. We claim that the moral acceptability of nudges hinges in part on whether they can provide an account of the competence required to offer nudges, an account that would serve to warrant our general trust in choice architects. What needs to be considered, on a methodological level, is whether they have clarified the competence required for choice (...) architects to prompt subtly our behaviour toward making choices that are in our best interest from our own perspectives. We argue that, among other features, an account of the competence required to offer nudges would have to clarify why it is reasonable to expect that choice architects can understand the constraints imposed by semantic variance. Semantic variance refers to the diverse perceptions of meaning, tied to differences in identity and context, that influence how users interpret nudges. We conclude by suggesting that choice architects can grasp semantic variance if Thaler and Sunstein’s approach to design is compatible with insights about meaning expressed in science and technology studies and the philosophy of technology. (shrink)
The volume advances research in the philosophy of technology by introducing contributors who have an acute sense of how to get beyond or reframe the epistemic, ontological and normative limitations that currently limit the fields of philosophy of technology and science and technology studies.
The purpose of this essay is to: (1) detail how recent trends in philosophical theory have made it possible for philosophers of technology to critically discuss technology transfer; (2) demonstrate that economic standards of assessment are conducive to obscuring the hidden tradeoffs that technological practices, such as mobile phone use in Bangladesh, can engender; and (3) provide the basis of an alternative model that can reflexively addresses dimensions of technology transfer that neo-classical economic accounts occlude.
Robustness has long been recognized as an important parameter for evaluating game-theoretic results, but talk of ‘robustness’ generally remains vague. What we offer here is a graphic measure for a particular kind of robustness (‘matrix robustness’), using a three-dimensional display of the universe of 2 × 2 game theory. In such a measure specific games appear as specific volumes (Prisoner’s Dilemma, Stag Hunt, etc.), allowing a graphic image of the extent of particular game-theoretic effects in terms of those games. The (...) measure also allows for an easy comparison between different effects in terms of matrix robustness. Here we use the measure to compare the robustness of Tit for Tat’s well-known success in spatialized games (Axelrod, R. (1984). The evolution of cooperation. New York: Basic Books; Grim, P. et al. (1998). The philosophical computer: Exploratory essays in philosophical computer modeling. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press) with the robustness of a recent game-theoretic model of the contact hypothesis regarding prejudice reduction (Grim et al. 2005. Public Affairs Quarterly, 19, 95–125). (shrink)
Harry Collins interprets Hubert Dreyfus’s philosophy of embodiment as a criticism of all possible forms of artificial intelligence. I argue that this characterization is inaccurate and predicated upon a misunderstanding of the relevance of phenomenology for empirical scientific research.
Recent debates about the Grameen Bank’s microlending practices depict participating female borrowers as having fundamentally empowering or disempowering experiences. I argue that this discursive framework may be too reductive: it can conceal how technique and technology simultaneously facilitate relations of dependence and independence; and it can diminish our capacity to understand and assess innovative development initiatives.
This essay interrogates the relation between descriptive and prescriptive elements in Don Ihde’s philosophy of technology. I argue that while Ihde’s philosophy contributes more to normative inquiry than is often acknowledged, it may be insufficient for addressing core issues concerning cosmopolitanism, ecological catastrophe, and animal rights.
By examining the contingent alliance that has emerged between the computational theory of mind and cyborg theory, we discern some questionable ways in which the literalization of technological metaphors and the over-extension of the “computational” have functioned, not only to influence conceptions of cognition, but also by becoming normative perspectives on how minds and bodies should be transformed, such that they can capitalize on technology’s capacity to enhance cognition and thus amend our sense of what it is to be “human”. (...) We consider “a moratorium on cyborg discourse” as a way of focusing the conceptual and social–political problems posed by this alliance. (shrink)
One of us coined the notion of an “epistemology engine.” The idea is that some particular technology in its workings and use is seen suggestively as a metaphor for the human subject and often for the production of knowledge itself. In this essay, we further develop the conceptand claim that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological commitments, although suggestive, did not lead him to appreciate the epistemological value of materiality. We also take steps towards establishing how an understanding of this topic can provide the (...) basis for reinterpreting the history of phenomenology. (shrink)
This paper is a critical examination of Harry Collins's investigation into a third form of knowledge, “interactional expertise.” We argue that although Collins makes a genuine contribution to the phenomenological literature on expertise, his account requires further critical evaluation and response due to pragmatic and ontological considerations. We contend that by refining (in some questionable ways) the category of interactional expertise so as to create epistemological equivalence between activists, sociologists, critics, journalists, and some science administrators, Collins potentially undermines the value (...) that a more rigorously construed concept of interactional expertise might have. We further show that Collins misunderstands the nature of embodiment in a way that is exacerbated by the sociological perspective that he adopts. (shrink)
Abstract Recent sociological/philosophical treatments of expertise, best represented by the work of SteveFuller, attempt to (1) reduce displays of expertise to sophistic exercises of discretionary power, and (2) refute the claim that because laypeople are epistemically inferior to experts, it is rational to defer to an expert's opinion rather than making up one's own mind. But upon inspection, Fuller fails to provide reasonable grounds for liberating laypeople from the tyranny of cognitive authoritarianism. Rather, he presents a (...) patronizing description of the expert?lay relation, one that actually makes the public seem more ignorant than is warranted. (shrink)
Abstract Paul Feyerabend is famous for presenting a scathing indictment of modern experts as a threat to democracy. While commentators have questioned the accuracy of his portrayal of experts, they have not assessed the accuracy of his depiction of laypeople. Although Feyerabend has political reasons for wanting to demythologize grandiose notions of expertise, his political project hinders clear thinking about the question by idealizing the alternative lay perspective.
Dreyfus's model of expert skill acquisition is philosophically important because it shifts the focus on expertise away from its social and technical externalization in STS, and its relegation to the historical and psychological context of discovery in the classical philosophy of science, to universal structures of embodied cognition and affect. In doing so he explains why experts are not best described as ideologues and why their authority is not exclusively based on social networking. Moreover, by phenomenologically analyzing expertise from a (...) first person perspective, he reveals the limitations of, and sometimes superficial treatment that comes from, investigating expertise from a third person perspective. Thus, he shows that expertise is a prime example of a subject that is essential to science but can only be fully elaborated with the aid of phenomenological tools. However, both Dreyfus's descriptive model and his normative claims are flawed due to the lack of hermeneutical sensitivity. He assumes an expert's knowledge has crystallized out of contextual sensitivity plus experience, and that an expert has shed, during the training process, whatever prejudices, ideologies, hidden agendas, or other forms of cultural embeddedness, that person might have begun with. One would never imagine, from Dreyfus's account, that society could possibly be endangered by experts, only how society's expectations and actions could endanger experts. The stories of actual controversies not only shows things do not work the way Dreyfus claims, but also that it would be less salutary if they did. Such stories amount to counterexamples to Dreyfus's normative claims, and point to serious shortcomings in his arguments. (shrink)