[ExI] Philosophy Tech Support

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Oct 26 21:39:19 UTC 2014

spike <spike66 at att.net> , 26/10/2014 3:57 PM:

>…There is actually a serious need for a good philosophy of technology. Something named that already exist, but it mostly consists of philosophers like Heidegger and Ellul who give lengthy arguments why technology is bad for us…


We must first define the term “bad.”
Of course. To Heidegger it is the inauthentic and that technology leads to a world of nihilism and mere use of people and things. To Ellul technique is replacing the sacred and forcing people to change to fit it, rather than the reverse. 
(Assuming I got their ideas right... being firmly rooted in the analytical camp, I find the Continentals heavy going and/or nonsense).

>… But there is a need for a good theory of how technology develops in the large, unifying history of technology with issues like big history … Of course, once we get it to *work* it will no longer be philosophy. Anders Sandberg


Oh this is cool.  There is *plenty * of fun to be had with the concept.  Sometimes I think I just have too much free time on my hands.


This brings up an interesting question.  What if… everyone had too much free time on their hands?  Assume away constant struggles for the basics, so we have sufficient food, shelter, all the bear necessities of life, spelling intentional (Google on it, younger friends.)
Assuming Maslow was roughly right, people will spend their energies on mostly social stuff - including a lot of status competition. Some will go further and aim at self-realization and doing cool stuff. Most likely a larger fraction than now will drop out and just enjoy life as couch potatoes.
Note that *how* this state was achieved might matter. Both Heidegger and Ellul would be concerned that a world of perfect labour-saving devices might be corrosive to the human spirit, in the first's case because people do not authentically work, in the second case because it would produce mere use and materialism. I would argue that these arguments hinge on doubtful claims about both human psychology and the effects of technology. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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