Research Seminar ‘Media Philosophy and Media Theory’ – Edition 2019-2020

  • October 21, 2019

Phenomena such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the internet of things (IoT) are growing explosively. These evolutions raise pressing philosophical and ethical questions. At the Centre for Ethics and Humanism (ETHU) of the VUB, we investigate these with the tools and insights of existential philosophy, phenomenology, pragmatism and critical theory.

In the research seminar ‘Media Philosophy and Media Theory’ we read authors that enable us to shed a fresh and unusual light on evolutions in digital technology. This year, specifically in the context of the research project 'Existential Ethics of Artificial Intelligence' (ETHU & AI Lab), we will read Hans Jonas' The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age. Jonas developed in the 1970s an ethics of technology circling around the principle of responsibility. We envisage to study his work in the light of recent technological developments – AI in particular. Jonas can offer us an innovative take on oft-discussed issues in debates on AI, such as on responsibility, from the perspective of existential philosophy and ethics.

The research seminar is organized as a reading group, and we expect participants to read and prepare in advance of every session. In the first session we will communicate which parts of the book will be read in the subsequent meetings.

The seminar is organized by Prof. dr. K. Verstrynge (ETHU) and Prof. dr. J. Bauwens (CEMESO). The organizing committee consists of Prof. dr. Jo Bauwens (CEMESO/SCOM), Prof. dr. Karl Verstrynge (ETHU/FILO, SCOM) and Prof. dr. Yoni Van Den Eede (ETHU/FILO).

Registration: participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please send an e-mail to, by November 5th, 2019 at the latest.

Location: all sessions take place at the VUB, campus Etterbeek. The room will be communicated.
Doctoral students: the research seminar is a part of the Doctoral School Human Sciences (DSh). Doctoral students need to attend every meeting and receive 1 credit per session.
Program: the first session takes place on November 12th, 2019, 15–17h (coffee will be provided). During that meeting we will schedule the next dates. Prof. dr. Johan Stuy (ETHU/FILO) will deliver a brief introduction to the figure and work of Hans Jonas.