Conference: Forum on Philosophy, Engineering & Technology (fPET) 2016
This year’s iteration of the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering & Technology (fPET), a biennial meeting of philosophers and engineers was held in Nuermberg, a city most famous probably for the post WWII Nuremberg trials, but also very interesting for its lovely looks and architecture from centuries past. It also happens to be only a couple of kilometers away from my hometown, making this conference and its location particularly interesting for me. As the name suggests, the conference featured speakers from the philosophies (including sociology) and from engineering departments. It was very well organized and a pleasure to be a speaker at. The only gripe I can offer with regards to this conference is a personal one that has nothing to do with either the conference or the competence of its speakers: there were a lot of what one may call “continental philosophers of technology”, which is a style of writing and research that I continue to have reservations about.
My presentation there was part of the Ethics and Engineering track and titled “Riding the Absent Technophant — About the Ethical Obligations that Flow from Technologists’ Expertise-Enabled
Moral Intuitions“. Evidently I can’t stop producing mouth-filling titles. It summarizes recent research in moral psychology and moral cognition and outlines the argument that engineers, due to their advanced knowledge and insight and the augmented moral intuitions that come with this, possess an elevated moral obligation to participate in the design, production, use and governance of technologies in an ethical way.
Among the many presentations at this conference, my personal pick for the most notable paper probably goes to Bruno Gransche: Assisting Ourselves to Death.