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Message posted on 06/11/2019

call for papers for a philosophy of technology workshop: "the world undone. Technology at the End of the World", June 25-26 2020, Wageningen University (the Netherlands)

Dear colleagues and friends,
Sorry for cross posting. Can you please forward this call to colleagues who
may be interested to contribute to this workshop?

Please let me know if you have any questions or remarks,
Vincent Blok (

The World Undone
Technology at the End of the World

Call for Papers for a Philosophy of Technology Workshop at Wageningen
University, the Netherlands

June 25-26 2020

Context and Aims

The advent of the Anthropocene compels philosophical attention to nothing
other than the end of the world. For Clive Hamilton, the alarming findings of
Earth System Science tear the ontological fabric of the known world apart,
thus occasioning new questions regarding the nature of the world and the kind
of human beings at its centre (Hamilton, 2017). More radically, Timothy Morton
declares the end of the world as the meaningful background against which
inner-worldly beings stand out, thus inevitably inaugurating a flat ontology
in which all beings are enmeshed in an intricate play of inter-objectivity
(Morton, 2013). On the other hand, philosophers like Jean-Luc Nancy summon
philosophy to the task of thinking a new creation of the world to surmount the
comprehensive dominance of calculation, economy, and technology witnessed in
the "global unworld" of the Anthropocene (Nancy, 2007), while others reflect
on new alliances of Earth and World (Blok, 2019).Whilst arguably relevant to
all thought, these motives specifically entreat philosophy of technology. Not
only is the Anthropocene a profoundly technological or techno-scientific
phenomenon (Lemmens et al. 2017; Steffen et al. 2015), but philosophy of
technology generally concerns the relation between technology and world,
whether this relation is understood in terms of mediation and world-shaping
(Ihde 2012; Verbeek 2005), techno-geographic milieus (Simondon, 2016),
parliaments of things, quasi-objects, and agencies (Latour 2014, Serres 1982,
Simons 2017), or according to an ontological consideration (Zwier & Blok 2017;
2019; Blok, 2017).
This workshop accordingly aims to examine how philosophy of technology should
respond to the end of the world. We welcome fundamental reflections pertaining
to the technological world on an increasingly inhospitable Earth, as well as
contributions that explore concrete eco-technologies such as biobased
technology, artificial intelligence, or blockchains for sustainable
Questions to be addressed may include:

What does the notion of world mean in the philosophical tradition,
and how does this compare to contemporary voices that reject or revise this

What is the status of Earth and World in the Anthropocene?

How does technology figure in earth-system science?

What role does technology play in Earth-shaping and world-building?

What is relation between (techno-geographic) milieu, world and the

How to understand the relation between technological progress and
ecological regress?

What does a redistribution of voices and agency entail with respect
to the world-ending, Earth-shaping, and world-building capacities of humans
and non-humans?

How to conceive of terrestrial concern and responsibility in the wake
of the Anthropocene?

Submission Process and Deadlines
Abstracts (max. 750 words) will be reviewed by way of a double-blind review
process. Abstracts should be submitted by 15-1-2020. After notification of
acceptance, contributors are expected to arrange their travel and stay
themselves. Based on the results of the workshop, we consider to publish a
special issue or edited volume. For informal enquiries regarding topics,
approaches, or other, please contact Vincent Blok

Vincent Blok, Wageningen University & Research (
Jochem Zwier, Radboud University Nijmegen

Blok, V. (2017). Earthing technology: Toward an eco-centric concept of
biomimetic technologies in the Anthropocene. Techn: Research in Philosophy
and Technology. DOI: 10.5840/techne201752363
Blok, V. (2019). Nothing else matters: Towards an ontological concept of the
materiality of the Earth in the Age of Global Warming. Research in
Phenomenology, 49(1), 65-87. DOI: 10.1163/15691640-12341411
Hamilton, C. (2017). Defiant earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene.
John Wiley & Sons.
Ihde, D. (2012). Experimental phenomenology: multistabilities. Suny Press.
Morton, T. (2013). Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the
World. U of Minnesota Press.
Nancy, J. L. (2007). The creation of the world, or, globalization. Suny
Latour, B. (2014). Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene. New Literary
History: A Journal of Theory and Interpretation 45(1): 1-18.
Lemmens, P., Blok, V., & Zwier, J. (2017). Toward a Terrestrial Turn in
Philosophy of Technology. Techn: Research in Philosophy and Technology,
21(2/3), 114-126.
Serres, Michel. 1982. Gense. Paris: Grasset.
Simondon, G. (2016). On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. University
of Minnesota Press.
Simons, M. (2017). The Parliament of Things and the Anthropocene: How to
Listen to 'Quasi-Objects'. Techn: Research in Philosophy and Technology,
21(2/3), 150-174.
Steffen, W., Broadgate, W., Deutsch, L., Gaffney, O., & Ludwig, C. (2015). The
trajectory of the Anthropocene: The great acceleration. The Anthropocene
Review, 2(1), 81-98.
Verbeek, P. P. (2005). What things do: Philosophical reflections on
technology, agency, and design. Penn State Press.
Zwier, J., & Blok, V. (2017). Saving Earth: Encountering Heidegger's
Philosophy of Technology in the Anthropocene. Techn: Research in Philosophy
and Technology, 21(2/3), 222-242. DOI: 10.5840/techne201772167
Zwier, J., & Blok, V. (2019). Seeing Through the Fumes: Technology and
Asymmetry in the Anthropocene. Human Studies, 1-26. DOI:

Dr. Vincent Blok MBA
Associate Professor in Business Ethics, Philosophy of Technology and
Responsible Innovation

Wageningen University
Business Management and Organisation Group and Philosophy Group
Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, Wageningen (Building 201)
De Leeuwenborch, Room 5060 or 4068
T: +31 (0) 6 146 156 40
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