Humanity and its Tools: Utopia or Apocalypse?

April 4, 2022 - April 6, 2022
Department of Philosophy, York University

Ross Building
4700 Keele st.
Toronto M3J1P3

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The Department of Philosophy at York University is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference, to be held in April 2022 in Toronto, ON. Our title this year is Humanity and its Tools: Utopia or Apocalypse? 

Description: Technology, for all its promise, seems as if it is always accompanied by a dark side. The foray into nuclear energy brought with it the Cold War and the first possibility, narrowly avoided, of self-extinction. Our ancestors surely never anticipated that the mastery of fire would one day lead to industry at a planetary scale, capable of altering the global climate perhaps to the point of making it unlivable. Computers, the internet and the explosion of the information age is the most recent technological revolution whose shadow side we are only now beginning to grapple with. Our broad interest for this conference is to examine the evolving relationship of humanity with its tools. Do we remain masters of our technology, capable of directing it by our own agency in positive, sustainable directions? Or have we already lost control of it – or perhaps even come under its control? Are there further technological solutions to the problems raised by technology, or is a more radical mindset shift required? Is it our fate as technological creatures to wipe ourselves out by uncovering tools whose power we are not equipped to wield, or do we have it in us to survive our own discoveries? We hope to explore both the promise and dangers which our technology in all its forms carries with it. We hope to generate conversation, practical solutions and perhaps wisdom about our technological destiny.

Keynote speakers:

David Danks (University of California, San Diego)

Karina Vold (University of Toronto)

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