Cutting-edge thinking on philosophy geared toward the general public,
sponsored by the Camden Philosophical Society and Camden Public Library
Our theme for 2012:
Crossing and Creating Boundaries
Saturday, July 28, 9 am - 4 pm
Can Consciousness Think 21st Century Media?
Val Dusek, University of New Hampshire
Technology: Human Relations or Hardware?
Howard Segal, University of Maine at Orono
Beyond Huxley and Orwell:
The Revival of Technological Utopianism in the 21st Century
Mark Hansen, Duke University
St. Thomas' Episcopal Church Hall
33 Chestnut Street, Camden, Maine -- parking in Wood Street lot next to the church
Suggested contribution $20 Students $10
Plenty of time for lunch with the like-minded -- Bring your own or go out
Sign-in at 9 am
The Camden Philosophical Society's Philosophy at the Edge conference on Thinking Technology -- Crossing and Creating Boundaries will pose and debate questions of immediate, day-to-day interest to us all: What exactly is technology? Does technology rule us or do we rule it? How does technology alter the experience of being human?
The day will start with a consideration of what constitutes technology, or as Val Dusek, a philosophy professor at the University of New Hampshire poses it in the title for his talk: "Technology: Human Relations or Hardware?" Prof. Dusek, author of a leading textbook on philosophy of technology, will start from the perspective that, while most people think of hardware when they think of technology, the social system in which the hardware is embedded is equally crucial to understanding the nature of and problems about technology. The sense people frequently have that technology is out of control is often due to the social organizations that propagate a technology, not the hardware itself, he suggests.
The focus of the Thinking Technology conference will then shift to the tendency many people have to view 21st technological innovations ranging from the internet to cloning as paths to a utopian future, and examine this against an historical background in which utopianism was commonly equated with authoritarianism. In a talk entitled "Beyond Huxley, Orwell, and other 20th-Century Dystopians: The Revival of Technological Utopianism in the 21st Century," Howard Segal, a professor of history at the University of Maine at Orono, will relate his own "healthy skepticism about all utopian aspirations but also a great respect for those who, as committed visionaries presumably without evil intentions, force us to rethink the present and the future alike."
Duke University professor Mark Hansen will shift the focus of the conference back to the future by asking, "Can Consciousness Think 21st Century Media?" This talk will examine the challenges posed by what he sees as a shift in the media from being a recording of the past to being "an anticipation of the future." His guiding question will be: What happens when data gathering substitutes for consciousness in the process of “presenting” experience?
The Camden Philosophical Society, of Camden Maine, meets as a reading and discussion group on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Camden Public Library and sponsors lectures on the second Tuesday of most months. For details on these meetings, as well as on our upcoming Philosophy at the Edge 2012 conference, contact us by email at Info@PhilosophyEdge.com.