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SPT 2021 – Technological imaginaries : https://lillethics.com/spt-2021/

“The Society for Philosophy and Technology Conference – June 28-30” : événement en ligne.

Fears and expectations about technology

Keywords : Responsabiility ; Promthean gap ; Heuristics of fear


Thinkers such as Hans Jonas, Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt have introduced into the philosophy of technology concepts that have revolutionized the discipline. Hans Jonas thus developed the Principle of Responsibility, stipulating the preservation of authentic humanity on Earth, using the heuristics of fear as a method to identify threats to the well-being and survival of humanity. We must therefore listen to both our instincts and reason to determine the most appropriate fear. Paradoxically, we must find the courage to be afraid. He has been particularly interested in the risks linked to genetic modifications, and is a precursor of ecological thinking. It is the Responsibility Principle which is at the origin of the Precautionary Principle, and which is opposed to the Hope Principle formulated by Ernst Bloch. Günther Anders wondered how to live in our time, which he describes as the pre-apocalyptic period, in which our existence remains suspended because of the threat created by technology. He wrote in a Cold War context where there was a significant risk of a nuclear holocaust. He believes that fear is not only a legitimate attitude, but is indispensable for adopting a moral stance. We live in a “Promethean gap”, where our technical production capacities exceed our capacities of representation, hence the risk of a threat that we can no longer even imagine ourselves. Hannah Arendt has written about the banality of evil, in the context of the Second World War, and wonders how to think about both individual and collective responsibility to avoid the worst ideological drifts, reinforced by the power of technology. It is therefore necessary to think of a path for the technology that allows us to hope for its benefits while avoiding its new risks.