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Henning Scmidgen: Machinic Normativity
In today's society, technologies are often perceived as helpful and fruitful “modes of existence” that facilitate and improve the lives of their users. At the same time, they are often experienced as limitations and constraints imposed on us by more or less abstract bodies and powers. The use of digital technologies, in particular, is often associated with unclear rules, preconditions, and consequences that limit our capacities for self-determination – and thus also the possibility of normative action. In this situation, it is not only the critique of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and information capitalism that is appropriate and necessary. As I argue, what is also at stake is an extended reflection about “machinic normativity,” i.e., the possibility and capacity for subjective and creative use of technologies.

This talk introduces the idea of machinic normativity by referring to the philosophical tradition of what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari have called “technological vitalism.” I will show that this tradition includes not just Deleuze and Guattari, but also philosophers and physicians such as Georges Canguilhem and Kurt Goldstein. Crucial to this tradition is a biological perspective on “technique” in which it is understood as synonymous with the possibility of shaping one's environment. Accordingly, our answer to the question concerning technology depends crucially on actualizing this perspective.

About the series
The Dialogues on Philosophy and Technology seminar series is initiated by the Cosmotechnics/Critical AI research project, supported by the City University of Hong Kong in collaboration with the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology. The series running from Fall/Spring 2021/22 features talks and workshops with leading scholars in the philosophy of technology and aims to address urgent questions on philosophy and technology today.


Feb 22, 2022 08:00 PM in Hong Kong SAR

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