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Cut and Paste: Making Sense of our Digital Realities

Posted: September 18, 2018

2018 Gilbert Ryle Lecture Series

Man smiling in front of wood backdrop
Professor Floridi; photo courtesy of Ian Scott

Event Details

  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018
    4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Trent University, Symons Campus

Members of the Department of Philosophy and Trent Philosophy Society are pleased to announce the first of three Ryle Lectures

Cut and Paste: Understanding the Digital Revolution

Imagine someone asking whether the water is fresh or salty in the estuary where the river meets the sea. That someone has not understood the special nature of the place, which is where the water is brackish and the mangroves grow. Our infosphere is like that place: it is both analog and digital, both online and offline. We spend an increasing amount of our time in the infosphere, living onlife (e.g., Facebook has 2.2 billon users who are onlife on average one hour every day).  The new digital realities we inhabit and experience have been brought about by the digital revolution, and in the first lecture, I shall analyse its nature and scope. I shall suggest that the power of the digital to create the infosphere and the onlife experience is due to its ability to “cut and paste” analog realities, which we thought were either naturally inseparable but are now increasingly decoupled, like presence and location, or naturally separate, like personal information and personal identity, which are now intrinsically coupled. In the following two lectures I will analyse two special cases of this “cut and paste”.

delivered by

Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford

Professor Floridi directs the Digital Ethics Lab of the Oxford Internet Institute, and is Professorial Fellow of Exeter College. He is also Turing Fellow and Chair of the Data Ethics Group of the Alan Turing Institute and has recently served as ethics adviser to companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google, the UK government and the European Union on cutting edge policy issues surrounding the ethics of digital technologies. His areas of expertise include digital ethics, the philosophy of information, and the philosophy of technology. Among his recent books, all published by Oxford University Press (OUP): The Fourth Revolution - How the infosphere is reshaping human reality (2014), winner of the J. Ong Award; The Ethics of Information (2013); The Philosophy of Information (2011). His most recent book, The Logic of Information, will be published by OUP in 2019.

The Gilbert Ryle Lecture Series was established by the Philosophy Department at Trent in 1977 in honour of the late Gilbert Ryle. This year’s lectures are supported by the Office of Provost & VP Academic, the Dean of Humanities, the Cultural Studies Department, Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics, Lady Eaton College, and by funds from members, alumni, and friends of the Department of Philosophy.