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What are the main themes and influences in philosophy of technology?
Most of the writing is on the progressive/environmentalist/feminist/postmodern side of contemporary philosophy. While not anti-technology per se, there is a deep suspicion of technology as a force in its own right that stems from Martin Heidegger's (1889-1976) The Question Concerning Technology. By contrast, more optimistic views of technology stem from the writings of John Dewey (1859-1952).
Key issues are: whether technology can be controlled independently of radical economic and political changes; whether technology can correct its own excesses; and the roles played by technology in the history of science. Contemporary books of interest include: Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and
What is philosophy for children?
Philosophy for children is an attempt both to introduce critical thinking and the subject of philosophy to high school students and to explore and develop natural interest in philosophical questions among younger children. In Europe, high school age students have traditionally had at least some philosophy on their curricula; the question in the United States is not whether teenagers are capable of learning philosophy, but how to introduce it and find teachers qualified to do so, as well as funding.
While psychologist Jean Piaget set the paradigm that children are not able to "think about thinking" or engage in philosophy before about age 12, philosopher Gareth Matthews (1929—) argues in Philosophy and the Young Child (1980) that there was evidence of philosophical thought and speech in Piaget's own young subjects. Before then, Matthew Lipman (1922—) had introduced philosophy to middle school children in Montclair, New Jersey, with his 96-page philosophical novel for children, Harry Stottlemeier's Discovery (1974). (A philosophical novel for children is a story that raises philosophical issues in language that a child can understand.)
Both Mathews and Lipman have stressed the active nature of children's philosophical interests. By contrast, Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder's best-selling young adult novel Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy (1994) leads the reader through a series of studies about philosophy. Thus, philosophy for teenagers may be more didactic than the philosophy already taught to children.
Contemporary journals devoted to teaching children philosophy include Analytic Teaching, The Community of Inquiry Journal, Critical & Creative Thinking, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy for Children, Questions: Philosophy for Young People, and Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children.
Ideologies of Western Dominance (1990); Eric Higgs' anthology Technology and the Good Life (2000); and Hans Achterhuis, American Philosophy of Technology (2001).
What is philosophy of film?
Film criticism, both scholarly and popular, has a history as long as visual media. But philosophy of film, as a contemporary subfield in aesthetics, or philosophy of art, dates from the 1970s. As in other fields, the philosophy of film is similar to the theory of film undertaken by specialists in film or film studies.
There are philosophers who, like film theorists and critics, specifically study film as a self-contained medium, philosophical cultural critics who use film as "evidence" of broad beliefs in contemporary culture, and philosophers who turn to film for examples in ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, feminism, and many other philosophical interests and subfields.
As well, some films directly raise philosophical questions, such as the questions about what is real in The Matrix (1999) and its sequels, and the nature of memory and identity raised by Momento (2000) and the children's film The NeverEnding Story (1984). There are, moreover, films that are directly about philosophy and philosophers such as The Ister (2004), which is about Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).
Contemporary sources on philosophy and film include: Richard Allen and Murray Smith, editors, Film Theory and Philosophy (1997); Gregory Currie, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science (1995); and Cynthia A. Freeland and Thomas E. Wartenberg, Philosophy and Film (1995). The online journal Film-Philosophy: A Philosophical Review of Film Studies and World Cinema is an ongoing source of contemporary work and additional sources.
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