The philosophical reflection on Technics has recently known a significant broadening of its horizons. From Heidegger to Adorno and Horkeimer, via many thinkers who have moved between the Heideggerian heritage and Critical Theory, Anders, Arendt, Ellul, Habermas, Jonas, Marcuse and Vattimo, the great proposals featured the second half of the XX century all share, although with differences and contrasts, the need to think critically technics. The topic is indeed the indisputable and un-ignorable marker of modernity, tracing the ending point of western civilization or at least its radical crisis.
Recent research has provoked a change of paradigm in the philosophy of technics. This has happened via a renewed interest in technological progress, as well as via a rediscovery of authors that had been insofar ignored or just partially interpreted. Instead of a reflection about the destiny of (or in) technics, this new generation of research stresses the necessity of an inquiry on the technical object itself, targeting its inherent creativity and its autonomous contribution to the birth of new forms of life. This epistemological fracture was accelerated by a new consideration of Gilbert Simondon’s work and the publishing of the critical edition of the Work of Art by Walter Benjamin, which stressed the commitment of the German philosopher to the topic, in its double facets: technics as “domination” and as “interplay”. Several other authors deserve to be re-considered, re-read and re-thought, in view of a new thought on technics. This includes philosophical anthropology, passing through Italian workerism, coming to many philosophers and scholars of different proveniences, such as Bachelard, Canguilhem, Derrida, Fink, Flusser, Gehlen and Kittler.
Of course, several emergent phenomena are, to a great extent, the cause of such a change of paradigm: the appearance of the Internet and the affirmation of a relationship with a reality that is ever more mediated by technology (an illusionary disintermediation with respect to other forms of mediation); the success of a multimedia and interactive logic; the planning and global spread of smart devices, networks and technologies, aimed at optimizing and satisfying our needs; the increasing diffusion and utilization of images that are ‘technically’ produced within all forms of communication – including political (selfies, visual storytelling etc.) – as well as the tendency to reduce the distance between informal and artistic uses (or re-uses) of those images; the emergence of new modalities of conceiving media devices (i.e. following the model of the information record rather than its mere transmission); the algorithm as eminent form of rationality (both in the optimistic account of a collective intelligence and in the negative one of a new genre of capitalistic domain); the possibility of artificial intervention through biotechnologies on the natural datum, with consequent and relevant issues on the transformation, or even the overcoming, of the identity of human and non-human individuals.
Though different theoretical perspectives have risen in this field, sometimes turning into proper philosophical movements (just think of posthumanism), many questions are still open, deserving further reflections. Among these, some of the themes that will be considered in this volume include:
- The definition of the Techno-Aesthetics, not only conceived as inquiry on the relations running between Art and Technics, but also as reflection on the inherently technical nature of human sensibility;
- The new operative modalities of imagination and new image formats emerging through the use of digital and interactive technologies;
- The Technical forms of life planned and prefigured by technical devices and the consequent ethical and political implications;
- The definition of a specific technical creativity and its rapport with the milieu and the environments that it produces, as well as with other forms of creativity
- The analysis and comprehension of virtual reality and of so called “augmented reality”, and the re-definition of the concept of virtuality as well.
Articles should not exceed 40.000 typewritten characters, including spaces. Authors must include an English abstract (1.000 characters). Manuscripts should be submitted by the on-line submission form by December 23rd, 2019 (.doc, .docx or .odt are accepted). Please place papers and abstracts together in one document and ensure that it is suitable for anonymous review. Papers directly connected to the theme are especially encouraged, but also papers on other topics, which are philosophically connected to it, will be considered for publication. Contributions in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish are accepted.