Archive for February, 2011

Seahorses get political representation

28 February 2011

Dorset’s endangered seahorses have a new champion in south-west MEP Julie Girling, who is taking their case to the European Parliament.

The Prince and the Wolf back cover

26 February 2011

In celebration of the fact that the transcript of The Harman Review event at the LSE, organised by the ANTHEM Group in February 2008, is now available for pre-order in the UK (and shortly in the USA), under the title, The Prince and the Wolf: Latour and Harman at the LSE, let me post the back cover of the book here, especially as that is the one that is usually not visible in online book shops.

The Prince and The Wolf back cover

Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation

25 February 2011

Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation

25-26 March 2011
Saïd Business School,
University of Oxford

The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) is organising a two-day conference on 25-26 March 2011 at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, with support from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Oxford e-Social Science project, Digital Social Research, eResearch South and C4D.

The theme of the conference is the permeation of science and research with computational seeing. How does computer mediated vision as a mode of engagement with information as well as with one another affect what we see (or think we see), and what we take ourselves to know?

Keynote speakers are:

*Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and Director of Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

*Michael Lynch, Professor, Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University

*Steve Woolgar, Professor of Marketing and Head of the the Science and Technology Studies research group with the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Saïd Business School

Registration is free and now open. The programme and other details are available here.

Why is it so difficult to be a materialist?

25 February 2011

Videos of two Bruno Latour lectures:

“Where is res extensa? An Anthropology of Object” (Although he says at the start that it should have been entitled instead “The Extension of res extensa: Why is it so difficult to be a materialist?”) Keynote Lecture at the 2010 IKKM Annual Conference, Weimar, 29 April 2010. (Hat tip Continental Philosophy)

The other one is entitled “Do Objects Reside in res extensa and If Not Where are They Located?” Architectural Association, London, 22 February 2011. There are some links on this page also to two Latour papers that are being cited. (Thanks to Ofer for the pointers.)

Philosophy and social computing

22 February 2011

Call for papers: abstract submission deadline extended to 28 February 2011 for the “Social Computing” track at the First International Conference of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) to take place at Aarhus University on 4-6 July 2011. Conference Theme: “The Computational Turn: Past, Presents, Futures?”

Up to six bursaries of $500.00 available. More info here.

The track addresses, but is not limited to, the following topics:

– Notions of the social used and/or enforced in social computing

– Notions of computing used in social computing

– Epistemological and ethical consequences of distributed modes of knowledge creation and distribution in social computing

– Philosophical implications of sociality in social networking sites (e.g. identity, privacy, social structures, etc.)

– How can trust in social computing be conceived? What are the differences and similarities between notions of trust e.g. in multi-agent systems, social networking sites, recommender systems, etc.? What are the differences and similarities between trust online and offline?

– Forming of individual existence in relation to social computing

– Epistemically and ethically responsible behavior with respect to social software and how it can be supported

– Computational models of social networks

– Consequences of social computing for extended social cognition

Speculative Realism Series

22 February 2011

The irrepressible speculators have just launched a new book series in speculative realism now at  Edinburgh University Press:

Since its first appearance at a London colloquium in 2007, the Speculative Realism movement has taken continental philosophy by storm. Opposing the formerly ubiquitous modern dogma that philosophy can speak only of the human-world relation rather than the world itself, Speculative Realism defends the autonomy of the world from human access, but in a spirit of imaginative audacity.


Speculative Commercialism

22 February 2011

The truth is out: speculative realism reveals its commercial interests!

Idealism or Realpolitik

6 February 2011

I’m with The Observer on this one: Cairo protests: The west has a duty to nurture democracy

On one side are hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demanding fair elections; on the other side is an authoritarian president mobilising a bullying state apparatus against the crowd. Leaders of western democracies need not have hesitated over whom to support.


The policy of supporting governments that scorn democracy is a dead end. It makes a hypocrisy of western claims to support the aspirations of ordinary people. It alienates opposition movements, non-governmental organisations and civil society leaders who are the best hope for transition to more stable, plural politics in the region.

A clear-sighted appraisal of western interests in the Middle East would reveal that the choice between the idealism and realpolitik is a false one. Putting trust in leaders such as Hosni Mubarak is not a mark of strategic caution, but a reckless gamble and a guarantee of future instability. Trusting people to choose their own leaders in free elections is also something of a gamble. But that approach has a better chance of preserving the west’s moral authority and retaining some popular goodwill in the Arab world. Those are far more reliable guarantors of stability and security.

Philosophy & Technology first issue

1 February 2011

Table of contents of the first issue coming out in March (articles already available online):

Philosophy & Technology

  • Harmonising Physis and Techne: The Mediating Role of Philosophy
    • Luciano Floridi
  • Imaging Technology and the Philosophy of Causality
    • George Darby and Jon Williamson
  • Web of Data and Web of Entities: Identity and Reference in Interlinked Data in the Semantic Web
    • Paolo Bouquet, Heiko Stoermer and Massimiliano Vignolo
  • Dirty Hands, Speculative Minds, and Smart Machines
    • Diane P. Michelfelder
  • Bootstrapping Normativity
    • Graham White
  • Action Schemes: Questions and Suggestions
    • Evan Selinger, Jesús Aguilar and Kyle Powys Whyte
  • Why Theories of Causality Need Production: an Information Transmission Account
    • Phyllis McKay Illari
  • Husserl’s Galileo Needed a Telescope!
    • Don Ihde
  • Should Probabilistic Design Replace Safety Factors?
    • Neelke Doorn and Sven Ove Hansson
  • The Here and Now: Theory, Technology, and Actuality
    • Albert Borgmann
  • Acknowledging Substances: Looking at the Hidden Side of the Material World
    • Hans Peter Hahn and Jens Soentgen