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An Evaluation, An Analysis and A Modest Defence


Here is a brand new paper. This one was a little bit of a labour of affection. It’s an evaluation of what it means to be a techno-optimist and the way one may defend a techno-optimistic stance. It’s due out in Philosophy and Expertise. I am going to put up the official model when it’s obtainable. For now, I’ve posted hyperlinks to the ultimate prepublication draft.

Title: Techno-optimism: an evaluation, an analysis and a modest defence

Hyperlinks: Official; Philpapers; Researchgate

Summary: What’s techno-optimism and the way can it’s defended? Though techno-optimist views are extensively espoused and critiqued, there have been few makes an attempt to systematically analyse what it means to be a techno-optimist and the way one may defend this view. This paper makes an attempt to deal with this oversight by offering a complete evaluation and analysis of techno-optimism. It’s argued that techno-optimism is a pluralistic stance that is available in weak and robust varieties. These fluctuate alongside numerous key dimensions however every shares the view that expertise performs a key function in making certain that the great prevails over the unhealthy. No matter its power, to defend this stance, one should flesh out an argument with 4 key premises. Every of those premises is extremely controversial and may be subjected to numerous critiques. The paper discusses 5 such critiques intimately (the values critique, the treadmill critique, the sustainability critique, the irrationality critique and the insufficiency critique). The paper additionally considers doable responses from the techno-optimist. Lastly, it’s concluded that though robust types of techno-optimism will not be intellectually defensible, a modest, agency-based model of techno-optimism could also be defensible.

 

The paper places ahead the next as an ‘ameliorative’ definition of techno-optimism:

Techno-optimism = A stance (set of beliefs, commitments, wishes, intentions and many others) that maintains that expertise (broadly outlined) performs a key function in making certain that the great prevails over the unhealthy.

 

I’m much more exact about this within the paper, occurring to argue that techno-optimism is available in a wide range of completely different varieties which fluctuate alongside numerous dimensions. A kind of dimensions is whether or not the techno-optimist is presentist or futurist of their outlook: i.e. thinks expertise makes issues good proper now and/or will achieve this sooner or later.

One among key options of the paper is the argument template I map out for any defender of techno-optimism. In brief, I declare that so as to defend a techno-optimistic stance one should defend an argument with 5 key premises:

  • (1) If (a) the great in all probability does or in all probability will prevail over the unhealthy and (b) if expertise in all probability performs a key function in making certain this, then techno-optimism is the right stance. 
  • (2) The possible present and/or future details are F1…Fn [Facts Premise
  • (3) The agreed upon worth standards for figuring out whether or not the great prevails over the unhealthy are V1…Vn [Value Premise
  • (4) The nice in all probability prevails over the unhealthy, given F1…Fn evaluated in gentle of V1…Vn [Evaluation Premise
  • (5) Expertise in all probability performs a key function in making certain that (4) is true [Technology Premise]. 
  • (6) Subsequently, techno-optimism is the right stance.

Completely different techno-optimists will flesh out these premises in several methods, notably premises (2) – (4), that are the centrepiece of the argument.

One other key characteristic of the paper is an intensive assessment of a few of the main objections to techno-optimism and the doable replies {that a} techno-optimist may make. The desk beneath summarises these objections and replies.

Clearly, I’d encourage folks to learn the entire paper for a fuller image.

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