For 2017: Beyond Precaution, Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson

SERRC —  December 22, 2016 — 11 Comments

Author Information: Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson, alci.malapi@outlook.com

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-3ni

Editor’s Note: As we near the end of an eventful 2016, the SERRC will publish reflections considering broadly the immediate future of social epistemology as an intellectual and political endeavor.

Please refer to:

precaution

Image credit: Dan Brickley, via flickr

I finished a BA(Hon) in Latin America, an MA in French Canada and recently a PhD in English Canada. All in philosophy. The first part of my formation was entirely Continental, the second mostly Analytical and the third (and longest) was in a field “above” the two previous ones: Philosophy of Science.

My current research revolves around the future of humanity due to innovative and disruptive research occurring within Converging Technologies—Nanotechnology, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Cognitive Science (NBIC). Since NBIC’s research agenda openly aims at the profound alteration of the human condition, I explore the implications of these technologies for our understanding of what it will mean to be “human” at the cognitive and biological levels, along with its ethical ramifications. I pursued the doctoral degree in order to locate, articulate and clarify the origins of this hopeful yet disruptive view: classical cybernetics. This investigation starts in Philosophy of Science and Cognitive Science and develops into Metaphysics and Philosophy of Technology. I am publishing a book in 2017 on this topic for Palgrave Macmillan.

The second aspect of my research agenda focuses on the ethical ramifications of the previous theme. Departing from Ethics of Technology and Science Policy, I want to develop an alternative view to the “precautionary” approach usually found as public policy’s default position towards the possible social repercussions of pervasively disruptive technologies. Precautionary stances tend to emphasize the potential dangers of both pioneering scientific and unprecedented technological avenues of research, calling for the slowing down or even halting of investigation until the side effects are better known. In response to this, many researchers do not feel comfortable with the alleged “red tape” that is in contrast absent in other research environments. I anticipate an alternative position deserving further exploration—one that would foster a risk-friendly approach but nevertheless regulated by the state, so as to prevent: a) Already occurring radically libertarian stances prone to be ultimately subsumed by corporations; b) A gradual but steady brain drain towards more “ethics-free” environments. The feasibility of an alternative “proactionary” approach, which is increasingly gaining traction, will be further articulated, evaluated, and if possible, improved.

A spinoff of the previous two research paths, already briefly hinted at in my book, will be the exploration of the metaphysical and religious surreptitious commitments behind these canonically secular investigations.

11 responses to For 2017: Beyond Precaution, Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson

  1. 
    Gregory Sandstrom (@risengrisha) December 22, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    “an alternative “proactionary” approach … is increasingly gaining traction”

    Could you please provide some evidence for this claim, specifically those that ‘growingly’ use the terminology ‘proactionary’ (other than Fuller & Lipinska)?

  2. 
    Gregory Sandstrom (@risengrisha) December 22, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Latin American ‘continental’ bachelors or European ‘continental’? The Americas are not that ‘continent’ you mean are they?

    “the exploration of the metaphysical and religious surreptitious commitments behind these canonically secular investigations.”

    I’m a native English speaker. What does this mean? Philosophy is ‘canonically secular’ or simply that you were taught that it *must* be when done properly, even after your ‘full disclosure’ in February?

    • 

      Latin America was conquered by Europeans. The Catholic Church holds the monopoly of education pretty much until now. The philosophy taught (usually 6 years for a bachelor’s) is almost entirely French and German. Huge emphasis on Ancient Greek, Latin and Medieval Philosophy. We don’t study English philosophy, and even less, American, because it’s simply considered not interesting (which of course I’m not condoning — I’m merely describing). Brazil and Chile are two countries trying to get from this mindset. The remaining 20+ still form a unity as described.
      I will be happy to continue explaining this to you if you Skype me (alcito101) — if you can stomach my Spanish accent, that is.

      “the exploration of the metaphysical and religious surreptitious commitments behind these canonically secular investigations.”

      I asked Jim if what I wrote was okay, since I am willing to change whatever is not clear, and it seems he saw no issue. Same thing with the commentator after you, and a couple of people who have contacted me about it. So, why don’t you apply your being “native English speaker” to your writing and clarify the question “Philosophy is ‘canonically secular’ or simply that you were taught that it *must* be when done properly, even after your ‘full disclosure’ in February?”

      Again, feel free to call me at any time.

  3. 

    It would be great to get the discourse on cybernetics back into the mainstream – it’s stood too long to the side when it has a lot to contribute.

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