Five types of change in philosophy

In any discussion of emergence, it is often difficult to separate this concept from its semantic cousins who all live in the same philosophical neighbourhood. Sure, they’re related, but they don’t really talk much. There’ll be a polite nod, and maybe a few minutes of chit-chat about how Uncle Dynamis is these days, but they don’t have a huge amount to say to each other beyond that. Conversation will slow, headphones will pop in, and each will return to their own little world.

Change is central to philosophy either for reasons of counting it as the defining principle (as Heraclitus does), or for reasons of escaping it and its counter-intuitive implications (Parmenides, Plato, Hegel, whoever else). Continue reading

Technology and ethics: a moralist proposal

One of the problems with thinking about technology is that because we are born into a world of technology, this clouds our ability to see how it restricts our ability to think beyond what is right in front of us. We have difficulty thinking clearly about it in and of itself, and so all our difficulties with it are effectively distributed. Accordingly we have an ethics of technology, latched on to the side of the big machine. We think of specific problems with technology, we even expand this into the biggest of spheres, and discuss the existential risks attached to technology, or the risks which are integral to certain types of technology.

This is not the fault of philosophers of technology. It is simply another symptom of how our thought about the implications of all our actions are farmed out to different areas. Continue reading