Philos 3: Week 3 Discussion Prompts


Make three posts in the discussion forum: 1st post due by Thursday noon; 2 more posts due by Saturday noon. The post due on Thursday is a substantive response to one of the open-answer questions. The two posts due on Saturday are comments on posts of your peers.

Respond to one of these prompts and be clear about which one you are referring to:

PROMPT #1: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. How would you apply Heidegger’s assessment of ‘technology’ in general to modern information technology, and to communication technology (e.g. smart phones, email etc.) in particular? How can be understand information as a ‘standing-reserve’? Can information be viewed as a resource in the same way we view coal or petroleum? Why or why not?

PROMPT #2: DANGERS OF TECHNOLOGY. How would you characterize the dangers of modern technology? How do your concerns compare with Heidegger’s? How does Heidegger’s conception of art’s and poetry’s function in society correspond to your own?

PROMPT #3: RANDOMNESS PROMPT: Will randomness make us free? Philosophers say “no” and they reason as follows: “If an action is undetermined, if it occurs randomly, then its happening is a matter of chance or luck, and not a free action. The whole idea behind free will is that we have a sort of voluntary control over our thoughts and actions. But random actions aren’t under the control of anything. If our actions are the amplified result of some random quantum event, then our actions would be surprising and spontaneous. Random action is more indicative of diminishing control, a loss of freedom, than a sign of that we are free.” Do you agree with this reasoning? Why should spontaneous actions not be able to count as free? Is free will worth having if free agents can’t even surprise themselves? Why should we strive for freedom if it means controlling and disciplining ourselves? Explain your answer.

PROMPT #4: TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM. Do you think that the existence of human free will shows technological determinism to be false? Explain your answer.

Please help me reply to the two students below:

Student 1: Prompt 2

Heidegger concerns the human distress caused by the technological understanding of being rather than the destruction caused by specific technologies. Based on the lecture, there are 4 elements of danger. The first one is that humans will become human resources. The second one is that humans believe they have control over everything. The third one is that humans become narcissistic because humanity will think that they only encounter themselves. The fourth one is that humans will be blinded to the truth of what is happening. Heidegger is not saying that humans should abandon all of the technology. I agree that we shouldn’t be concerned with technology to the point that we see everything, even nature, through a technological lens. We could use technology but we shouldn’t be 100% dependent on it. Heidegger’s conception of art and poetry is very different from mine. Heidegger appreciates art and poetry but I don’t really value them. I prefer technology over art and poetry. Heidegger says that the artist or the poet views the world in order to understand it. In some sense, there are artists that paint on perspective which I can see why Heidegger says that. It is hard to incorporate an artist’s/poet’s view into this world. How do we know that their views are best for us? At the end of the day, humans want to do what they think is best for them.

Student 2: Prompt 1

Heidegger sees technology as a means to an end and human activity. Many humans today are addicted to their phones. Apple takes advantage of this and sees humans as nothing more than resources, just look at Apple and the ecosystem they built with their iPhone, Apple watch, Apple TV, car play, iPad, airdrop, iMessage, MacBook, etc.… They want you the consumer to be stuck in their walled garden ecosystem. They don’t ever want you to leave them. To Apple, people who are iSheep are human resources that they can constantly tap into to sell their products over and over again. Apple is not the only company guilty of doing this, Microsoft and Sony are too with their gaming platforms, software, and hardware.

The products such as phones, tablets, laptops, etc.., can be used to access information from the web at the user’s leisure. This makes information a standing reserve, because if someone doesn’t know something then they can just whip out there phone and use google (Disclaimer not all information is accurate though). This will give them knowledge they did not previously know. It also makes some people think they are smarter than they really are.

Thus, this makes information become viewed as a resource like petroleum or coal. The reason being is despite it becoming easier for people to access information there are still many that don’t have access to it. While we may have access to information here in the states there are several people from developing nations that don’t have access. Many parts of Africa are a good example of the inequality of accessing information. Here in the US most cell phone towers run on electricity with generators as back-up. This helps ensure people will have uninterrupted access to that 5G. In rural parts of Africa there is no electrical grid to power cell phone towers, let alone electricity. This means that in remote locations cell phone towers have to run off of petrol. So, when those towers run out of petrol people no longer have access to data or mobile phone service because of blackouts. This limits their ability to information, which in turn can hinder them in accessing and gaining knowledge.

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