In Philosophy in the Library, philosophers from around the world tackle the big questions. In February, we hear from Ethan Hallerman.
None of us today can avoid reflecting on the way our thoughts and habits relate to the tools we use, but interest in how technologies reshape us is both older and broader than contemporary concerns around privacy, distraction, addiction, and isolation. For the past hundred years, scholars have investigated the historical role of everyday technologies in making new forms of experience and senses of selfhood possible, from at least as early as the invention of writing. In recent years, philosophers have considered how our understanding of agency and mental states should be revised in light of the role that the technical environment plays in our basic activities. Here, we will look at how some models of the mind illuminate the results of the philosophy of technology to clarify the relationship between technology and the self.
Ethan Hallerman is a doctoral student in philosophy at Stony Brook University. He lives in New York where he prowls the sewers at night, looking for his father.