Centre for Ethics and Humanism
Centrum voor Ethiek en Humanisme

Research Seminar ‘Virtual Media’ — edition 2014-2015

October 22nd, 2014 | Posted by admin in Events | News

In this interdisciplinary seminar we discuss themes at the crossroads of the philosophy of media and technology, communication and media studies (media sociology) and the philosophy of culture. Starting this academic year, we use a different format from previous editions. At each session, an invited speaker will present (part of) his/her research, followed by an extended and thorough group discussion.

We start on November 7th with Mark Coeckelbergh, Professor of Technology and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, UK. His theme:

The Automation of the Social: What “Social” Robots and Robotics Teach us about Sociality

In this talk Mark Coeckelbergh uses robots to reflect on sociality and reject philosophy of robotics as “objective”, normatively neutral, distanced reflection. Instead he embraces an approach which acknowledges that it is itself shaped by technological and scientific practices, including social robotics, and which takes seriously, engages with and intervenes in scientific work in this area. First he observes that we have always used material artifacts to reflect on the human and the social, and that the social always had a material dimension. Analyzing thinking about the social in philosophy, psychology and robotics, he then identifies a dialectic between two views of sociality. In particular, he discusses and criticizes what he calls “the automation of the social” in and by social robotics, for example when it seeks to develop robots for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder, and the corresponding automation of ethics in robotics and in philosophy. He ends with the idea of different forms of sociality (and hence morality) as a potential way of moving beyond dialectical thinking about the social.


Date: Friday November 7th, 2014 — 10.30-12.00 am
Room: PL5.2.03 — VUB, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels, 2nd floor (Karel Van Miert building)

The seminar is part of the PhD program of the Doctoral Schools of Human Sciences of the VUB (PHD-14757). It is open to all researchers from the level of doctoral student onwards.

Participation is free, but registration is required, through Dr. Yoni Van Den Eede (yvdeede–at–vub.ac.be).

Organization: Prof. dr. Karl Verstrynge (Centre for Ethics and Humanism-ETHU) and Prof. dr. Joke Bauwens (Culture, Emancipation, Media & Society-CEMESO).