"Artificial Identities"

September 18, 2024 - September 21, 2024
Insophia, University of Palermo, University of Toronto - Missisauga

Castello Aragonese
Castello aragonese Ischia
Ischia 80077

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University of Freiburg (PhD)

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X Edition: 1 – 22 September

Artificial identities. Online or Offline that’s the question!

The InSophia cultural association, a non-profit organization that founded the festival, in collaboration with the Municipality of Ischia, the CRF - International Center for Philosophical Research, the University of Toronto (Department of Visual Studies, Mississauga) and the high school “TO. Canova” of Treviso; with the patronage of the Campania Region, the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP), the XXV World Congress of Philosophy, Rome 2024, the “G. Sadoul Circle,” the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, the Department of Humanities of the University of Palermo, the Italian Philosophical Society (SFI), and the “PIDA” International Architecture Award, are pleased to announce the tenth edition of the “IN-Philosophy Festival 2024” (Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy), which will take place in Ischia from 1-22 September.

A UNIQUE FESTIVAL! The Ischia and Naples International Festival of Philosophy stands out as an entirely unique gathering in the panorama of international cultural events. As a conference that is open to the public as well as scholars, it aims to highlight the need for philosophers of every sort to question their relationship with the ever-changing social contexts that shape our world. The figure of the philosopher that is locked up in the intellectual stronghold of the Ivory Tower must rediscover a new relational vivacity and interact with other communities and institutions to create more heterogeneous modes of thinking and more synergistic pedagogical processes—in short, a fresh engagement between philosophy and the lived social world.   From 2015 to the present, the festival has involved thousands of participants from outside the academy and over 1000 philosophers from around the world. Defined by the national press as “An open-air think tank” (La Repubblica), Ischia is not simply one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean; in the month of the festival, it offers a particularly bold, iconic setting for this unique endeavour in critical thought and reflection.   Here is the call for papers for the tenth edition.

THE TENTH EDITION Artificial identities. Online or offline, that’s the question!

In its tenth edition, the theme proposed by the Festival is that of “Artificial Identities,” a particularly urgent question in the ethical-pedagogical field given the rise of artificial intelligence.   Throughout history, the concept of human identity has been the subject of debate and reflection. Human identities have always been complex and multifaceted, at once fueled and constrained by a range of different factors such as culture and society, family and personal experience. However, with the advent of social media and the digital world, the discussion around identities both real and imagined has only intensified, as identities of all sorts seem increasingly shaped by these new technological platforms, multiplying in infinite variations and declinations, at times simultaneously. Indeed, these platforms have created a wide array of new opportunities to express and define one’s identity. Through the sharing of photos, thoughts and interests, it’s now possible to create entirely new representations of oneself online, true “digital selves.”   If on the one hand this aspect of new media culture can be considered as a terrain on which to construct a new and more creative sense of self, a self that is freer to travel the frontiers of a society at times still constrained by the inherited moralisms of “real life,” on the other hand, it confronts us once again with an intractable dilemma: “being” yourself online or offline?   Avatars that represent us, artificial intelligences that assist us or become our influencers, partners, or colleagues: what will be the new worlds in which we will grow together with artificial identities? From the Delphic admonition to “know thyself” to the concept of the “I” and “Not-I” of German Idealism, and from theories of personality to the concept of the person with rights, what contribution does philosophy make to the digital world?   This question seems especially pressing to the extent that artificial identities are more present than we imagine, and the demand for authenticity now seems to succumb to the new digital order as often as it resists and combats it. The very concept of identity requires new formulations and parameters. But is this request a real necessity or the demand of a select few? How do we deal with our digital selves? Or with artificial intelligence and its products? How do we educate ourselves in the new world that now constitutes us? How do you become yourself online?

Since the advent of cinema at the beginning of the twentieth century, and then television a few decades later, philosophers have been critical of emergent media technologies precisely for the ways in which they might produce artificial identities. This is especially true of the moving image medias mentioned above. Unlike other forms of representational art, these media are often thought to hold a mirror to nature, and yet, even for the handful of philosophers who see fit to talk about these media at all, that mirror is understood not simply as a source of objective reflection on the world, but instead as a tool of that world’s management, such that what we see on screen is, at best, second nature. As second nature, what images are said to do is not only manage our understanding of lived space, but install a sense of self that is just as rationalized, and thus inauthentic, as the space in which the characters who model themselves onscreen appear in and then before us—as if in a mirror that shows us not who we are really, but who we would prefer to be. With the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence, and especially as AI moves into the realm of image production—and in a culture in which we largely accept the algorithm as an extension of our bodies and being—perhaps a dose of skepticism might once again be warranted. Or else, maybe it is time to ask anew whether an identity was only ever something artificial, insofar as who we are or become is often beyond our full control, in which case, any talk of artifice can be understood in relation to flexible norms.  

These are just some of the questions we will ask of ourselves and each other in the next edition.

Conferences will take place in Ischia from 18. until the 22. of September  

For applications: www.inphilosophyfestival.it

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April 15, 2024, 11:45pm CET

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