Advertisement

Ethics and Mediatization: Subjectivity, Judgment (phronēsis) and Meta-theoretical Coherence?

  • Charles M. EssEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Ethik in mediatisierten Welten book series (EMW)

Abstract

In Stig Hjarvard’s characterization, mediatization studies move beyond the positivist origins of the social sciences, as they must in order to avoid the fundamental contradiction between original commitments to classical determinism vis-à-vis human agency as acknowledged within mediatization studies. In order to sustain and enhance Hjarvard’s vision of the coherence between human agency and mediatization studies as a species of social science, I first sharpen these theoretical tensions by developing a robust account of human freedom as informed by Kant and virtue ethics. I then adopt precise understandings of complementarity and epistemological pluralism as initially developed in Quantum Mechanics and subsequently by Karen Barad and Judith Simon as frameworks that can coherently conjoin contemporary social (and natural) science with strong accounts of human freedom. The resulting coherency—or entanglement—between ethics and science implies new ethical responsibilities for social scientists as ‘virtuous agents’.

Keywords

Virtue ethics Phronēsis Autonomy Complementarity Epistemological pluralism 

Notes

Acknowledgment

I am very grateful indeed to Knut Lundby who organized a workshop on “Mediatized conditions” at UC Berkeley, California, 5–6 December 2013. This workshop opened up the conversation and debate with Stig Hjarvard, Lundby and others that catalyzed much of the work on mediatization in play here. I am further grateful to both Knut Lundby and Stig Hjarvard for their subsequent encouragement and assistance.

References

  1. Anderson, E. (2017). Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/feminism-epistemology/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  2. Aristotle. (1926). Aristotle in twenty three volumes, XIX: The Nichomachean Ethics (trans: Rackham, H.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway. Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barad, K. (2011). Erasers and erasures: Pinch’s unfortunate ‘uncertainty principle’. Social Studies of Science, 41(3), 443–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BBC News. (2016, November 23). Tess Asplund: The woman who faced down 300 neo-Nazis. BBC News. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaNkoMWbPMM. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  6. Berlinger, J. (2016, July 12). The Baton Rouge photograph that everyone is talking about. CNN News. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/11/us/baton-rouge-protester-photograph/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  7. Blok, A., & Pedersen, M. A. (2014). Complementary social science? Quali-quantitative experiments in a Big Data world. Big Data & Society, July–December 2014, 1–6.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951714543908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bohr, N. (1957 [1938]). Atomfysik og menneskelig erkendelse [Atomic physics and human knowledge]. Copenhagen: Schultz.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, M. (2015). Auguste Comte. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/comte/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  10. Carey, J. (2009). Communication as culture. Essays on media and society. Revised ed. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Chakravartty, A. (2016). Scientific realism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/scientific-realism/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  12. Christman, J. (2011). Autonomy in moral and political philosophy. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/autonomy-moral/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  13. Ess, C. (1983). Analogy in the critical works. Kant’s transcendental philosophy as analectical thought. Dissertation Pennsylvania State University. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International.Google Scholar
  14. Ess, C. (1995). Reading Adam and Eve. Re-visions of the myth of woman’s subordination to man. In M. M. Fortune & C. J. Adams (Eds.), Violence against women and children. A Christian theological sourcebook (pp. 92–120). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  15. Ess, C. (2010). The embodied self in a digital age. Possibilities, risks, and prospects for a pluralistic (democratic/liberal) future? Nordicom Information, 32(2), 105–118.Google Scholar
  16. Ess, C. (2014). Trust, social identity, and computation. In R. Harper (Ed.), The complexity of trust, computing, and society (pp. 199–226). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Ess, C. (2016). What's love got to do with it? Robots, sexuality, and the arts of being human. In M. Nørskov (Ed.), Social robots. Boundaries, potential, challenges (pp. 57–79). Farnham: Ashgate.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ess, C. (2017a). Can we say anything ethical about digital religion? Philosophical and methodological considerations. New Media & Society, 19(1), 34–42.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816649914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ess, C. (2017b). God out of the machine? The politics and economics of technological development. In A. Beavers (Ed.), Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Philosophy (pp. 83–111). Farmington Hills: Macmillan Reference.Google Scholar
  20. Gerdes, A. (2014). Ethical issues concerning lethal autonomous robots in warfare. In J. Seibt, R. Hakli, & M. Nørskov (Eds.), Sociable robots and the future of social relations: Proceedings of Robophilosophy 2014 (pp. 277–289). Berlin: IOS.Google Scholar
  21. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Outline of the theory of structuration. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  22. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Greenstein, G., & Zajonc, A. G. (2006). The quantum challenge. Modern research on the foundations of quantum mechanics (2nd ed.). London: Jones and Bartlett.Google Scholar
  24. Heisenberg, W. (1927). Über den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik. Zeitschrift für Physik, 43(3–4), 172–198.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01397280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heisenberg, W. (1958). Physics and philosophy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  26. Hjarvard, S. (1997). Forholdet mellem kvantitative og kvalitative metoder i medieforskningen [The relationship between quantitative and qualitative methods in media research]. Norsk Medietidsskrift, 2, 59–80.Google Scholar
  27. Hjarvard, S. (2013). Personal communication. Used by permission.Google Scholar
  28. Hjarvard, S. (2017). Mediatization. International encyclopedia of media effects.  https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118783764.wbieme0107.
  29. Johnson, R., & Cureton, A. (2017). Kant’s moral philosophy. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/kant-moral/. Accessed 1 Mar 2019.
  30. King, M. L., Jr. (1964 [1963]). Letter from the Birmingham Jail. In M. L. King, Jr. (Ed.), Why we can’t wait (pp. 77–100). New York: Mentor.Google Scholar
  31. Laplace, P. S. (1951 [1812]). A philosophical essay on probabilities (trans: Truscott, F. W., & Emory, F. L.). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  32. Lundby, K. (2014). Mediatization of communication. In K. Lundby (Ed.), Mediatization of communication (pp. 3–35). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar
  33. Mackenzie, C. (2008). Relational autonomy, normative authority and perfectionism. Journal of Social Philosophy, 39(4), 512–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Meyrowitz, J. (1993). Images of media. Hidden ferment—and harmony—in the field. Journal of Communication, 43(3), 55–66.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01276.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Peat, D. (1991). Einstein’s moon. Bell’s theorem and the curious quest for quantum reality. Chicago: Contemporary Books.Google Scholar
  36. Plato. (1914). The apology. Plato in twelve volumes (Vol. 1, pp. 68–145) (trans. H. N. Fowler, introduction by W. R. M. Lamb). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Pratt, S. L. (2008). Pluralism. In J. Lachs & R. B. Talisse (Eds.), American philosophy. An encyclopedia (pp. 594–596). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Ryckman, T. (2005). The reign of relativity. Philosophy in physics 1915–1925. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Simon, J. (2015). Distributed epistemic responsibility in a hyperconnected era. In L. Floridi (Ed.), The onlife manifesto. Being human in a hyperconnected era (pp. 145–159). London: Springer Open.Google Scholar
  40. Thorseth, M. (2008). Reflective judgment and enlarged thinking online. Ethics and Information Technology, 10, 221–231.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-008-9166-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vallor, S. (2016). Technology and the virtues. A philosophical guide to a future worth wanting. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zevenbergen, B., Mittelstadt, B., Véliz, C., Detweiler, C., Cath, C., Savulescu, J., & Whittaker, M. (2015). Philosophy meets Internet engineering. Ethics in networked systems research. GTC workshop outcomes paper. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media and CommunicationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations