workshop III (Spring 2020)




Acting into Nature and on Earth

The Human Condition concludes with a curious pronouncement: “The capacity for action, at least in the sense of initiating processes, is still with us, although it has become the exclusive prerogative of scientists.” The third workshop will take up Arendt’s neglected writing on science and technology, from Galileo’s use of the telescope (which she described as “the most momentous event at the dawn of the modern age”) to the launch of Sputnik, and beyond. We will consider how her public engagement with automation, nuclear weapons and space exploration in the 1950s might speak to mid-twenty-first century technologies (from big data to AI and robotics), as well as her description of scientists as new kinds of actors, and of the public as consumers - and critics - of technoscience.