Special Issue of Techné on Philosophy of Technology in the Age of the Anthropocene

Expected: Volume 21 Issue 2, 2017

Guest editors: Vincent Blok (Wageningen University, Netherlands), Pieter Lemmens (Radboud University, Netherlands), Langdon Winner (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA), Jochem Zwier (Radboud University, Netherlands)

According to many climate and environmentalist scientists, we are about to enter a phase in human history which will be characterized by huge changes in the earth’s atmosphere and biosphere, global warming of course being the most pressing issue. Humanity’s largely destructive influence on its unique planetary life support system has gained such a momentum lately that geologists have declared that we have entered a new geological era, the so-called anthropocene, in which the human (anthropos) has become the most influential geological (f)actor, trumping the natural ones in every respect.

Whilst the anthropocene attests to the enormous if not uncanny power of a techno-scientifically potentialized humanity to radically disrupt the earthly ecosystem upon which it fundamentally depends for its very survival, it simultaneously reveals that utter dependence and summons us to radically rethink our residence upon the planet as thinkers like Jane Bennett, Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton, Peter Sloterdijk and Isabelle Stengers have explicated each in their own way. And as French philosopher Bernard Stiegler has pointed out, the anthropocene first of all signals the toxic and entropic character of the process of capitalist industrialization and the big challenge it imposes on us is how to exit from it and invent an alternative negentropic, curative and more attentive technological modus vivendi. As such, it presents us with a new and unconditional imperative of global extension: to radically alter our modes of life in this planet in order to prevent our own self-destruction and possibly that of the whole biosphere as well.

This special issue for Techné aims to explore the question of how philosophy of technology should respond to the anthropocenic challenge. Possible questions to be addressed may include:

  • What kind of world lays ahead of us given the truth of the new anthropocenic condition?
  • How should we attune our technologies, for instance the global digital network technologies or the NBIC technologies more generally, to this new situation?
  • What kind of new technologies and social institutions should be invented to deal with the impending energy crisis and climate catastrophes and what kind of changes in our technological thinking are needed for this new age?
  • What kinds of technopolitics and ecopolitics are needed and what can we already see emerging on the horizon?
  • Should philosophy of technology assume a more ecological or even ecocentric focus, instead of focusing on technical artefacts or (socio)technical systems only?
  • What should we think of proposed solutions like geo-engineering, ecotechnics and atmo-design, and what of new technological paradigms like homeotechnology, biomimicry and the biobased economy?

Contributors are invited to reflect on these and other issues from various perspectives (e.g. ontology, epistemology, ethics, philosophical anthropology) and in particular to ponder the question of what philosophy of technology should become or should focus on in the age of the anthropocene.

Submission deadline: November 1, 2016

Papers should not exceed 7500 words, excluding notes and references, prepared for blind review with no identifying references to you or your institution and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 150-250 words plus 4-5 key words or phrases. For detailed author’s instructions please consult Techné’s submission guidelines: https://www.pdcnet.org/techne/Submission-Guidelines.

Please submit your paper to: https://mc04.manuscriptcentral.com/techne and also send an email to the guest editor(s) indicating the title of your paper: Vincent Blok: vincent.blok@wur.nl, Pieter Lemmens: p.lemmens@science.ru.nl, Langdon Winner: winner@rpi.edu or Jochem Zwier: j.zwier@science.ru.nl

Key references

– Blok, V. (2015). ‘Ecological Innovation: Critical Reflections on Biomimicry as a New Way of Thinking and Acting Ecologically’ (In press 2016: DOI 10.1007/s10806-015-9596-1)
– Blok, V. (2015). ‘The human glanze, the experience of environmental distress and the ‘Affordance’ of nature: Toward a phenomenology of the ecological crisis’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 28(5): 925-938 (DOI 10.1007/s10806-015-9565-8)
– Blok, V. (2014). ‘Reconnecting with Nature in the Age of Technology. The Heidegger and Radical Environmentalism Debate Revisited’, Environmental Philosophy 11(2), 307-332 (DOI: 10.5840/envirophil20149913)
– Bonneuill, C. & Fressoz, J-.B. (2016). The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History and Us. London: Verso.
Hamilton, C. (2015). The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking modernity in a new epoch. London: Routledge.
– Latour, B. (2014). ‘Agency at the time of the Anthropocene’. New Literary History, Vol. 45, pp. 1-18, 2014
– Lemmens, P. (2015) ‘Philosophy of Technology in the Age of the Anthropocene. Theorizing and Imagining the Emerging Geo-Technological Condition’ (working paper, presented at the SPT 2015 Biannual meeting in Shenyang, China)
– Lemmens, P. & Hui, Y. (2016). ‘Peter Sloterdijk and Bernard Stiegler on the Emerging Anthropocenic Condition’, working paper for Krisis.
– Morton, T. (2010). The Ecological Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
– Morton, T. (2013). Hyperobjects. Philosophy and Ecology after the End ofthe World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
– Schwägerl, C. (2014). Anthropocene: A New Planet Shaped by Humans. Santa Fe: Synergetic Press.
– Sloterdijk, P. (1998-2004). Sphären Trilogie. Blasen, Globen, Schäume. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
– Stengers, I. (2015). In Catastrophic Times. Resisting the Coming Barbarism. Lüneburg: Open Humanities Press. – Stiegler, B. (2014). ‘The Anthropocene and Neganthropology’, Keynote lecture presented at the Nootechnics conference on general organology, Canterbury, November 2014
– Winner, L. (2013). ‘A future for Philosophy of Technology – Yes, But on Which Planet?’, Keynote Lecture at SPT Biannual meeting, Lisbon, Portugal
– Zwier, J, Blok, V. & Lemmens, P. (2016). ‘Phenomenology and the Empirical Turn:A phenomenological analysis of postphenomenology’, Philosophy of Technology (under review)