About

Technology permeates human life at individual, social and global level. It affects the way we communicate, travel, do business, take care of health, practice politics, fight crime, wage wars, conduct scientific research, raise children, create art, transmit culture, even the way we engage in personal or intimate relationships. Attitudes towards technology, however, are ambivalent: on the one hand, technology is perceived as something useful, progressive and beneficial; on the other hand, it is perceived as something potentially dangerous, alienating and dehumanizing. The aim of the summer school “Philosophy and Technology” is to explore this ambivalence through a number of courses addressing the meaning and implications of different technologies from the perspective of standard philosophical disciplines like metaphysics, logic, ethics, philosophy of science and history of philosophy.

Courses

Damir Barbarić: Vom Wesen und Ursprung der Technik
Im Vortrag soll die Technologie in Anlehnung an die Analysen Martin Heideggers als der Gesamtname für die mannigfaltigen Erscheinungsweisen der die Neuzeit und die Gegenwart wesentlich bestimmende totale Vergegenständlichung nicht nur der Natur sondern des Ganzen des Seienden dargestellt werden. So betrachtet schließt die Technologie, und zwar grundsätzlich, die produktiv-konstruktive Wissenschaft sowie die in Richtung auf solche Wissenschaft immer unbedingter sich transformierende Philosophie ein. Heideggers These, die gegenwärtige und erst zukünftige Technologie beruhe, philosophisch verstanden, auf der Technik, deren Wesen wieder in dem, was er als Ge-Stell bezeichnet, bestehe, wird im Vortrag einer kritischen Interpretation unterworfen, vor allem durch die Einbeziehung der betreffenden Darlegung Ernst Cassirers. Insofern ist es für die qualifizierte Teilnahme an der Diskussion des Vortrags die nähere Vertrautheit mit Heideggers Vortrag „Die Frage nach der Technik“ (1953; Heidegger, VA, S.9–40; GA 7, S. 5-36) und Cassirers Aufsatz Form und Technik (1930; Symbol, Technik, Sprache, S. 39–90) erforderlich.

 

Luka Boršić: Mechanization of nature at the outset of modern science
One of the main characteristic of modern science is description of nature in mechanistic terms, i.e. natural phenomena are explained as analogous to mechanical devices. This presents a contrast to the  majority of ancient philosophical systems which used livings organisms  as a starting point in explaining the non-living world. The focus of the  course is development of “mechanistic philosophy” of P. Gassendi, G.  Galilei, Th. Hobbes, R. Descartes and I. Newton. F. Petrić’s influence on Gassendi (directly) and on Galilei (indirectly) will be discussed too.

 

Tomislav Bracanović: Ethics and new technologies
The purpose of the lecture is twofold. On the one hand, it will analyze some typical ethical concerns related to new technologies like AI and robotics, especially the extent to which they might impose harm on human beings in areas of life such as employment, healthcare, education or intimate relationships. On the other hand, it will draw attention to a somewhat different relationship between new technologies and human morality. It seems likely, namely, that our moral sensitivity and ethical reasoning – as the tools required for dealing with new technological challenges – will themselves be transformed due to our lives becoming increasingly shaped by new technologies. By analyzing a number of traditional ethical concepts it will be illustrated how their meanings tend to change in response to technological changes.

 

Dušan Dožudić: The metaphysics of artefacts
The concept of technology is closely connected to the concept of artefact. Indeed, a way to understand technology is to treat it as a system or set of artefacts. So, to understand technology, one should get as clear as possible on the concept of artefact – initially defined as an intentionally produced entity that involves a modification of a material for some purpose. Thus understood, artefacts bring a number of interesting metaphysical issues. In this unit, we will deal with questions such as: Do artefacts exist, and if so, in what way? What is the nature of an artefact? How should artefact be classified? Is there a substantial difference between natural objects and artefacts? We will outline, compare, and assess, different perspectives on these issues, and then briefly connect them to other issues both in the philosophy of technology and in other philosophical disciplines, most notably epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language.

 

Srećko Kovač: Logic and machines
The problem of the role and use of mechanical methods in logic will be addressed from the philosophical and technical point of view. After introductory philosophical-historical remarks, we will focus on the following topics: Turing machines as abstract technology of formal proofs, general definition of a proof system by means of a Turing machine, the limits of a Turing machine and, consequently, of proof methods in general (undecidability, halting problem), oracle Turing machine as incorporating non-mechanical cognition into a mechanical procedure. We will examine the abstract causal nature of a Turing machine, employing a causal interpretation of justification logic. The nature of logic will be considered in relation to the concept of causality.

 

Boris Kožnjak: Technology, philosophy and science
Any talk about the relationship between technology and philosophy is necessarily also a philosophical talk about the ‘success dyad’ of modern times – technology and science. However, standardly seen as merely an applied science, the technological success has been mainly considered as a simple corollary of the scientific success itself, which supposedly does not leave much to explain about the technological success once we understand the scientific success itself. Additionally, the philosophical neglect of technology and engineering traditionally originates in a sort of the aversion to know-how ‘screwdriver knowledge’, which allegedly – by its nature – cannot be a worthwhile subject of a ‘clean’ conceptual philosophical reflection. However, this neglect of technology and engineering did not only impoverish philosophical examination of the relationship between technology and science but is in fact based on premises that cannot survive critical scrutiny, as argued by ‘revisionist’ historians and philosophers of technology, who have substantially called into question the traditional understanding of this relationship, particularly the assumption that technology and engineering are reducible to the application of prior scientific knowledge in a simple and trivial manner. Moreover, some of these scholars have reversed the traditional hierarchical order by arguing that in fact science can be seen as applied technology. Such a view of the relationship between technology and science is not without far-reaching epistemological and ontological implications, most primarily in respect to the questions of the nature of modern experimental science as essentially technology-driven, and consequently of the very nature of phenomena it ‘discovers’ (or perhaps ‘produces’?) by technological means. In this section of the Summer School, I aim to discuss these topics in broad historical and epistemological contexts, and across the disciplines of ancient, analytic and continental philosophies.

 

Davor Pećnjak and Matej Sušnik: Ethical problems of modern military technology
Military technology always has a great influence on tactics, operations and strategy. Its development enables better movement, greater firepower and enhances command, control and execution. In our lecture we will address various ethical issues that arise in connection with the development of military technology. Special attention will be given to the ethical challenges posed by the use of remotely operated weapons in modern warfare. We will discuss whether the use of these weapons make the killings morally impermissible; whether anyone can be held responsible for the infliction of harm by autonomous weapons; whether the use of such weapons reduce the risk of collateral damage; and whether dehumanized weapons increase the chances that more wars will be fought.

 

Zdravko Radman: Tools, technology, and the extended mind
Discussed, and critically examined, will be one of the influential theories in the contemporary philosophy of mind and consciousness, namely that of the “extended mind” (Clark & Chalmers). Catching up on their basic credo that “cognition ain’t all in the head”, an attempt will be made to account for the possibility that, consequently, cognition (and the mental in general) is eventually “in the hands”; that the manual is a mode of shaping of the mental, which in turn will cast doubt on the strict separation of the “higher cognition” and bare embodiment. Exemplary we will focus on the usage of tools and will consider what kind of evidence do the contemporary cognitive- and neuroscience deliver that speaks in favor of the idea that manipulation of objects (and specifically tool usage) molds the mental and “extends” the mind in a powerful way. Next, we will examine the function and impact of more sophisticated technological tools such as computers. We will distinguish between “strong cognitivism” and “weak cognitivism” (Searle) and will provide arguments that are critical of the former (showing why the “computer metaphor” is inadequate and why the mental is not fully simulable) and accept the latter (treating computation as a helping means, not as a model of the mind). The approach offers an opportunity for the reexamination of the question: what computers (still) can’t do? (Dreyfus).

 

Martino Rossi Monti: The apocalypse of modernity: Intellectuals and technology in the 20th century
After the trauma of World War I (the first highly technological war) and the economic crash of 1929, many intellectuals of different, if not opposite, ideological or philosophical backgrounds became extremely critical of Western civilization. Some were convinced that this civilization had become irremediably flawed and was undergoing a profound decline or was approaching its end. To some, this process appeared irreversible; to others, it was a prelude to a new era. In some cases, this criticism led to a rejection of modernity as such. Many of these anxieties or apocalyptic predictions revolved around the advent of mass society and the impact of technology on the life, the mind and the behavior of modern people. Differently combined and adapted to often opposite worldviews, most of the arguments, metaphors and images through which these fears and anxieties were conveyed would reappear cyclically in the course of the 20th century. By adopting the perspective of the history of ideas, some of these views will be explored together with their historical roots and their long-lasting influence on contemporary attitudes and debates concerning technology.

 

Jure Zovko: Heidegger’s critique of modern technology: A critical approach
In this course, we will consider the main aspects of Heidegger’s criticism of modern technology. Despite Heidegger’s critique of modern technology, it is undeniable that our living world is determined by technical achievements. Although in the time of scientific development of technology, one had great expectations for the improvement of human life, the danger of, for example, biotechnical developments has proven to contain in itself many threats. These and similar threats posed by contemporary scientific research will form the basis for understanding Heidegger’s criticism of technology. We will also consider the extent to which human beings have become addicted to contemporary digital technology and subject to the dictatorship of electronic media. The question of what is to be produced no longer considers moral discussion regarding the threat to our environment, but only the demands of consumer society. Before this background, Heidegger’s critique of modern technology will be considered, specifically with regard to the study by Hurbert Dreyfuss, one of the experts in artificial intelligence.

 

Lise Zovko: Technai, epistēmai and poiēsis in Plato and Plotinus: Tacit knowledge in classical and post-classical intellectualism and implications for a post-technological concept of mind
There is much that occurs in the mind which we do not notice, but which constitutes a significant part of our experience and action. This unnoticed part is both above and below, and forms a vibrant and constantly present backdrop to our consciously mastered knowledge. Not only the sub-conscious or unconscious aspects of our psycho-physical selves, but also the super-conscious play a role in our self-consciously intelligent life. This influences not only the manner in which we acquire and interpret knowledge of the world, but also the manner in which we relate to and manipulate the physical things and material at our disposal. This course will consider the complementary relationship between technai and epistēmai in the tradition of Classical and post-Classical intellectualism, in particular in Plato and Plotinus, as they feed into our contemporary conception of techno-logy, and the relationship between these two and the concept of poiēsis, productive or creative activity. We examine the role of discursive/dianoetic and intuitive/noetic thought in the exercise of hypothetical method as framed in Plato’s Analogy of the Line, and how the practice of this form of dialectic is related to poiesis, both in artisanship and in fine art, and in relation to the highest abilities of the human spirit, as it attempts to emulate the activity of the phutourgos (Republic X), creator of the ideas or essences, and the master “technician”, the World-Soul as demoiourgos (Timaeus) who works with a preexisting “receptacle” or stuff to produce the cosmos as “a moving image of the eternal ideas.” The “weakness” of discursivity will be considered, when separated off in an artificial way from its intuitive and noetic complement, thereby undermining higher level reflection, problem-solving, creativity and innovation. The cooperative relationship of non-discursivity and discursivity will be explored as basis for a Post-technological concept of human action and creativity capable of directing us towards sustainable production and a restorative relationship our natural environment.

Lecturers

Damir Barbarić (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. Among his numerous publications are the books Zum anderen Anfang. Studien zum Spätdenken Heideggers (Freiburg/München, 2016), Wiederholungen. Philosophiegeschichtliche Studien (Tübingen, 2015), Chora. Über das zweite Prinzip Platons (Tübingen, 2015), Im Angesicht des Unendlichen. Zur Metaphysikkritik Nietzsches (Würzburg, 2011), Die Sprache der Philosophie (Tübingen, 2011), Annäherungen an Platon (Wuerzburg, 2009).

Luka Boršić (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research associate at the Institute of Philosophy. His research interests are in Renaissance philosophy, early modern science, and Croatian philosophy, esp. Croatian female philosophers. He is the author of two books (O zajedničkom filozofiranju, with I. Skuhala Karasman, Zagreb, 2017; Renesansne polemike s Aristotelom, Zagreb, 2011) and numerous journal articles.

Tomislav Bracanović (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research associate at the Institute of Philosophy. His research interests lie in ethics, applied ethics, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. He published two monographs (Evolucijska teorija i priroda morala, Zagreb, 2007 and Normativna etika, Zagreb, 2018) and a number of articles in both Croatian and international journals.

Dušan Dožudić (PhD, Zagreb) is research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His research focuses on philosophy of language, metaphysics, and history of analytic philosophy. He published several articles in Croatia and abroad.

Srećko Kovač (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His main research interests are in philosophical logic and history of logic. His publications include the books Logičko-filozofijski ogledi (Zagreb, 2005) and Logika kao ‘demonstrirana doktrina’ (Zagreb, 1992) and numerous articles in Croatian and international journals, including Journal of Applied Logic, Synthese, The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, Studia Philosophiae Christianae, Logic and Logical Philosophy, Inquiry, Journal of Philosophical Logic, etc.

Boris Kožnjak (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research associate at the Institute of Philosophy. His main research interest is in history and philosophy of science. He is the author of Eksperiment i filozofija: eksperimentalna metoda između ontologije i tehnologije, epistemologije i ideologije (Zagreb, 2013) and of many papers in journals like Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, Philosophy and Society, Physics Education, etc.

Davor Pećnjak (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His research focuses on the problem of free will, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and aesthetics. He is the author of Prema dualizmu (with T. Janović, Zagreb, 2016) and Aspekti osobnog identiteta (Zagreb, 2006) and of numerous articles and book chapters in Croatia and abroad. He is the editor, with F. Grgić, of Free Will & Action (Springer, 2018).

Zdravko Radman (PhD, Zagreb) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His main research interest is in philosophy of mind. His books include Before Consciousness: In Search of the Fundamentals of Mind (ed.) (Exeter, 2017), The Hand, An Organ of the Mind: What the Manual Tells the Mental (ed.) (Cambridge, MA, 2013), Knowing without Thinking: Mind, Action, Cognition, and the Phenomenon of the Background (ed.), (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Metaphors: Figures of the Mind (Dordrecht, 1997), From a Metaphorical Point of View: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Cognitive Content of Metaphor (ed) (Berlin/New York, 1995), etc.

Martino Rossi Monti (PhD, Florence) is research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His research interestes include the problem of grace and beauty of soul between late antiquity and the Renaissance, and the understanding and representation of evil, cruelty and violence both in current debates and in the history of the West. He is the author of Il cielo in terra. La grazia fra teologia ed estetica (Torino, 2008) and of numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Matej Sušnik (PhD, Zagreb) is research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His research interests are in ethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of action. He published papers in various journals in Croatia and abroad, including Dialectica, International Philosophical Quarterly, Croatian Journal of Philosophy, etc.

Jure Zovko (PhD, Freiburg) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. His areas of research are hermeneutics, ancient philosophy, philosophy of German idealism, and German romantic philosophy. Among his numerous publications are the books Europska estetička baština (Zagreb, 2014), Friedrich Schlegel als Philosoph (Paderborn, 2010), Filozofija i kultura (Zagreb, 2009), Ogledi o Platonu (Zagreb, 2006), Schlegelova hermeneutika (Zagreb, 1997), Platon i filozofijska hermeneutika (Zagreb, 1992), Verstehen und Nichtverstehen bei Friedrich Schlegel. Zur Entstehung und Bedeutung seiner hermeneutischen Kritik (Stuttgart, 1990).

Lise Zovko (PhD, Freiburg) is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy. Her areas of specialisation are ancient philosophy, Spinoza, Kant, German romantic philosophy, German idealism, philosophizing with children and in life contexts. She is the author of Natur und Gott. Das wirkungsgeschichtliche Verhältnis Schellings und Baaders (Würzburg, 1996) and Heideggerovo i Plotinovo poimanje vremena (Zagreb, 1991) and of numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the editor, with. J. Dillon, of Platonism and Forms of Intelligence (Berlin, 2008).

Information

Timetable
To be announced. Approximately: two or three 90 minutes courses daily, plus student activities (to be specified in April).

 

Student activities
Depending on their interest in topics covered by courses offered, active participation of students is expected (e.g. seminar presentation) and will be indicated in the certificate of participation.

 

Participation fee
The participation fee for the school is € 50. It covers teaching materials, refreshments (coffee, tea and snacks), guided sightseeing of Zagreb, organized visit to the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla, official banquet and certificate of participation.

 

Practical information
The organizer does not cover travel and accommodation costs. There is a large number of hotels, hostels and private apartments in Zagreb and finding a moderatly priced accommodation should not be a problem. However, since June is a busy month in Zagreb, early booking is recommended.
Meals are not provided by the organizer, except for the official banquet on the last day of the school (to be organized in one of the centrally located Zagreb restaurants). Plenty of restaurants (including student-restaurants), pizzerias, snack-bars and bakeries can be found close to the Institute.

 

Venue
The summer school will take place at the Institute of Philosophy. Street address: Ulica grada Vukovara 54, 10000 Zagreb. The Institute is easily reached from the Main Bus Terminal (30 minutes’ walk or 13 minutes’ tram ride [eight stops]) and the Central Railway Station (17 minutes’ walk or 10 minutes’ tram ride [4 stops]). It is also close to the Zagreb central square – Trg bana Josipa Jelačića (30 minutes’ walk or 10 minutes’ tram ride [5 stops]).

 

Useful links
Zagreb Tourist Board http://www.infozagreb.hr/&lang=en

Main Bus Terminal Zagreb http://www.akz.hr/en

Central Railway Station Zagreb http://www.hzpp.hr/en

Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb http://www.zagreb-airport.hr/en

Bus Transfer: Airport-Main Bus Terminal http://www.plesoprijevoz.hr/en

Application

The Summer School is intended for PhD students of philosophy. However, applications from graduate students of philosophy, as well as from students in other disciplines (e.g. medicine, physics or computer science) are also welcome.

In order to apply for the school, download and complete the official application form [available here] and email it to pts@ifzg.hr no later than February 18, 2019. Incomplete applications and applications received after the closing date will not be considered.