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Cairo: Wahib Al-Khatib

What if I asked someone: “What is your philosophy of life?” The question does not seem easy at all, especially if by philosophy of life we ​​mean the intellectual framework for knowing what the world is like? How do we get along with him?

Surely the philosophy of life includes various elements, by some of which we can decide what is good and what is bad, and what do we mean by success, and therefore what does failure mean to us? What is the main purpose in life? Even if you do not believe in the existence of purpose, until we reach the most prominent question: How do we deal with humanity?

Re-ask the previous question: What is the individual’s philosophy of life? We can see that many people call it by common names, as if one of them answers: My philosophy is liberalism, the second says: Feminism, the third answers: religious, the fourth refers to liberation, and the fifth assumes conservatism, and so on . further, but can each clearly express his philosophy? Could the aforementioned names play a role in our lives, especially with the age of high technology, and our entry into the age of social media platforms?

The recent reference to the age of the Internet makes us ask about the role of philosophers in the present time, and can they be useful to humanity? Let’s say, does humanity really need philosophy now? At first glance, there is no need for philosophers on the Internet, there is no philosopher and does not exist now in the eyes of many, and no matter how wise a person is or has more knowledge than Internet sources , we may dispense with him , and anyone interested in philosophical topics can discover almost everything in “Wikipedia” or search elsewhere, and the information seeker no longer needs to attend university courses to access the philosophical topics he is interested in, and can any piece of information in a matter of minutes on the Internet, practically for free.

But if we reduce philosophy to the mere acquisition of information, we deprive it of its most essential quality: the thinking stimulated by conversation, the confrontation of arguments through which participants deepen and clarify their views, and if we deny the teaching or learning of philosophy reduced to the material that can be obtained from During these newer modes of communication, sensation is already waning.

hermeneutic power

With the tremendous digital development, the need for philosophy seems urgent, not to answer questions as much as to seek the correct formulation of the question, based on the fact that the correct question is half the answer, and then philosophy can still ask questions, and those who work with them still possess the methods of formulation.

Who are we and how do we communicate with others? These are two basic questions, the answers to which make the changes caused by the Internet particularly clear. The way we form our personalities and interact with our environment has changed a lot. ICT is no longer just a tool; It is inevitably intertwined with the context in which we live. According to the Italian-British philosopher Luciano Floridi, he is an anthropological, social and explanatory force.

In the world of “everything electronic” e-commerce, computers, smartphones, applications, wearables, online courses, social media and others, we need philosophy more than ever for its ability to support the methodological framework, even if developments require Scientific research is a new philosophical topic concerned with the philosophy of information. The “traditional” investigations still retain their luster under a mass of dust.

Returning to Floridy, who works as a professor of information philosophy and ethics at Oxford University, and director of the “Digital Ethics Laboratory” at the same university, he believes that the world is living in the current stage of an “information tsunami”. what he describes as “crowded or overflowing history”, overflowing over humanity from far and wide; This leads to rethinking about post-humanity and the “cyborg” being, so that philosophy gets a new role that lies in two directions, the first is an understanding of developments and a rethinking of issues that are stable and seemed stable, especially human identity, and the second is the protection of humanity, especially against its deep-seated illusions of “human sovereignty over digital scale.


There is a paradox here, as we expand our power through informatics control systems, we simultaneously open the door to the control and limitation of these systems we create. In this struggle, the American philosopher and mathematician Norbert Wiener sees “the need for anthropologists and philosophers” to help us understand our humanity and guide the value and uses of cybernetics.

Wiener’s anticipated concerns are not only about the apparent power of control systems over human life; But also the temptation of people to control other people through these systems. Digital interaction constantly creates opportunities for connection, while opening the door to unprecedented processing mechanisms, and the open question remains: How are we going to deal with the new digital worlds we have created?

Not until now, MIT computer scientist Joseph Weisenbaum noted a particular concern about the displacement of human judgment and morality by technological instrumentalism.

In his ground-breaking 1976 book, The Power of the Computer and the Human Mind, he emphasized that the non-reflective implementation of computer-guided solutions ran the risk of leading to a kind of logical and pragmatic lust that sought to undermine the indisputable values to hide from it. and dangers, advising that we find the courage to “challenge positions. The simplistic universality conferred by knowledge is an unquestionable dominance.”

typical answers

“Does philosophy have a chance to survive in the twenty-first century?” The previous question was previously asked by researchers Nicolas Rousseau and Henri de Montvalier, authors of the book “Philosophy Impostors,” which in its last chapter dealt with philosophy on the YouTube platform.

During the dialogue, which was translated by the Moroccan writer Abdo Hakki, the two researchers explained that philosophy begins when one asks: Was Spinoza right? Is what he says true? It’s not clear that these kinds of questions can lead to many views on YouTube, but who knows? Explain that we can still say that philosophical videos on YouTube correspond to the laziness of school graduates. High school and juniors who all want a ready-made and standardized answer.

The researchers attacked some providers of philosophical content on digital platforms on the grounds that their approach is based on reducing philosophy to learning some key words and general ideas such as: Spinoza, Conatus and the essence of man. Above all, these videos feed the widespread idea that the philosophy of learning is to know what others have said: What does Spinoza think about freedom?

The researchers added: “Fortunately, there are no scammers only in digital media! There are serious people who deserve attention in their work,” stressing the importance of thinking about a number of questions such as: What stops the public’s desire for philosophy? What disturbs common sense in our philosophical lesson? In terms of dryness and stripping themes. Perhaps the most important is the attitude of the thinker who errs and thinks that he is smarter than ordinary people.

By looking for philosophers who are primarily concerned with playing a philosophical role in the age of digitization and communication platforms, we can pause with a little reflection, before a good number, like the American professor in the Department of History of Consciousness and the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Donna Haraway, author of the statement “Cyborg” »known.

In addition to Haraway are Anita La France Allen, Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Helen Nissenbaum, Professor of Information Science at Cornell Tech, as well as the American computer scientist Jaron Lanier and digital activist Joey Polamweni. These names play a role in the search for The future of philosophy in the age of digitization in the pursuit of a “creative, flexible and broad-minded moral and political disposition.”

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