Matching Items (13)

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A Political Critique of the Objectification of Science and Religion

Description

This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In

This essay explores the role of religion, science, and the secular in contemporary society by showing their connection to social and political legitimacy as a result of historical processes. In Chapter One, the essay presents historical arguments, particularly linguistic, which confirm science and religion as historically created categories without timeless or essential differences. Additionally, the current institutional separation of science and religion was politically motivated by the changing power structures following the Protestant Reformation. In Chapter Two, the essay employs the concept of the modern social imaginary to show how our modern concept of the political and the secular subtly reproduce the objectified territories of science and religion and thus the boundary maintenance dialectic which dominates science-religion discourse. Chapter Three argues that ‘religious’ worldviews contain genuine metaphysical claims which do not recognizably fit into these modern social categories. Given the destabilizing forces of globalization and information technology upon the political authority of the nation-state, the way many conceptualize of these objects religion, science, and the secular will change as well.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Disillusioned By Engineering, or "Why Do Capable People Leave Engineering?"

Description

This study, using personal experience as a basis for curiosity, seeks to explore why some portion of engineering students change their majors, whom I am calling "switchers." Another set of

This study, using personal experience as a basis for curiosity, seeks to explore why some portion of engineering students change their majors, whom I am calling "switchers." Another set of students are "persisters," or students who are still currently enrolled in engineering but have considered other paths. In collecting data, two students from each set, within the author's social network, were interviewed. Articles primarily concerning attrition and retention within engineering education were surveyed in this study. The literature's reasons for leaving engineering were tabulated and used to code these interviews, then the trends outside of this table were studied. The literature and all interviewees both stated that engineering students struggle with poor teachers, poor teaching methods, poor curriculum, and a lack of time. Outside of the literature, job prospects caused the interviewed students to feel trapped in engineering. Whether to take this study beyond the exploratory stage, and how to do that, is being considered currently.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

Funds For Fiji: A Sustainability Analysis

Description

The purpose of this project was to document and explain what and why the 2014 School of Human Evolution and Social Change study abroad group experienced what they did in

The purpose of this project was to document and explain what and why the 2014 School of Human Evolution and Social Change study abroad group experienced what they did in Fiji. Fiji is a third world country and it lacks important infrastructure that prevents many in Fiji form accessing basic medical supplies and medical treatment. Lack of infrastructure and, therefore, medical access and supplies is a result of the tumultuous ethnopolitical atmosphere that prevails in Fiji. Living with the Fijian locals in Votua Village made their struggle personal to the study abroad group. As a result, the group returned inspired to US determined to make an impact on the people that had made such a lasting impact on them. A new campus organization was created and nearly $4,600 was raised in order to help provide medical aid to the villagers in Fiji. The student's reaction in Fiji was westernized, but the program is not a complete and utter failure; students work directly with the villagers to acquire items they actually need. This ensures little waste and that the money collected is used efficiently. However, the student's project is not entirely sustainable; the implementation of the Funds For Fiji response has the potential to create lasting, unintended consequences. To make the program more sustainable, students need to figure out a way to broaden project involvement and to broaden the scope of the project to impact more people on the island of Fiji. Video Link https://youtu.be/9asWtj1u2BQ

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

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The Facebook Revolution: A Case Study in the Need for New Forms of Social Responsibility in the Way Private Owners Manage Essential Public Services.

Description

This paper uses Facebook as a case study for other technological and social media companies given factors presented by the Digital Age. Three different pillars are used to analyze the

This paper uses Facebook as a case study for other technological and social media companies given factors presented by the Digital Age. Three different pillars are used to analyze the company. First an examination of the manipulation of users on Facebook by Russian actors is presented. Next, the paper examines whether Facebook is promoting civic participation for good. Lastly, an analyzation of the rising trend of hate speech and extremists using the site is presented. This examination of Facebook then posed three questions regarding companies in the Digital Age as a whole. The first was "What is the extent of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Age?" The second was, "What special obligations do for-profit companies have when it comes to safeguarding the privacy of individuals, or at least insuring that their stored information does not harm them?". The last question presented was, "How Can the Profit Motive and Corporate Morality Co-Exist in the Digital Age?" The findings of this case study showed that due to different factors that are presented in the Digital Age, these ideals of Corporate Social Responsibility, Privacy and Corporate Morality may be even more challenging to uphold during this Age of Information. Due to this fact, companies such as Facebook have an even greater responsibility to abide by these ideals of Corporate Social Responsibility, Privacy and Corporate Morality. This is because of an even larger potential for negative effects due to technological change. Regardless of the possibility for regulation by government, third-party organization or by the organizations themselves, Digital Age Corporations have the duty to protect their users from harm and maintain these three ideals.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Anticipatory Gaming: Informing the Anticipatory Governance Process through Digital Media

Description

Science fiction themed video games, specifically Role Playing Games (RPGs) like Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX:HR), that focus on an emerging technology, contain features that help to better inform anticipatory

Science fiction themed video games, specifically Role Playing Games (RPGs) like Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX:HR), that focus on an emerging technology, contain features that help to better inform anticipatory governance. In a game like DX:HR, players vicariously experience human-enhancement technology and its societal effects through their in-game character. Acting as the character, the player explores the topic of human-enhancement technology in various ways, including dialogue with non-player characters (NPCs) and decisions that directly affect the game's world. Because Deus Ex: Human Revolution and games similar to it, allow players to explore and think about the technology itself, the stances on it, and its potential societal effects, they facilitate the anticipatory governance process. In this paper I postulate a theory of anticipatory gaming, which asserts that video games inform the anticipatory governance process for an emerging technology. To demonstrate this theory I examine the parts of the anticipatory governance process and demonstrate RPG's ability to inform it, through a case study of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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The soft megamachine: Lewis Mumford's metaphor of technological society and implications for (participatory) technology assessment

Description

This dissertation explores the megamachine, a prominent metaphor in American humanist and philosopher of technology, Lewis Mumford's Myth of the Machine series. The term refers critically to dynamic, regimented human

This dissertation explores the megamachine, a prominent metaphor in American humanist and philosopher of technology, Lewis Mumford's Myth of the Machine series. The term refers critically to dynamic, regimented human capacities that drive scientific and technical innovation in society. Mumford's view of the nature of collectives focuses on qualities and patterns that emerge from the behavior of groups, societies, systems, and ecologies. It is my aim to reenergize key concepts about collective capacities drawn from Lewis Mumford's critique of historical and modern sociotechnical arrangements. I investigate the possibility of accessing those capacities through improved design for Technology Assessment (TA), formal practices that engage experts and lay citizens in the evaluation of complex scientific and technical issues.

I analyze the components of Mumford's megamachine and align key concerns in two pivotal works that characterize the impact of collective capacities on society: Bruno Latour's Pasteurization of France (1988) and Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power (1962). As I create a model of collective capacities in the sociotechnical according to the parameters of Mumford's megamachine, I rehabilitate two established ideas about the behavior of crowds and about the undue influence of technological systems on human behavior. I depart from Mumford's tactics and those of Canetti and Latour and propose a novel focus for STS on "sociotechnical crowds" as a meaningful unit of social measure. I make clear that Mumford's critique of the sociotechnical status quo still informs the conditions for innovation today.

Using mixed mode qualitative methods in two types of empirical field studies, I then investigate how a focus on the characteristics and components of collective human capacities in sociotechnical systems can affect the design and performance of TA. I propose a new model of TA, Emergent Technology Assessment (ETA), which includes greater public participation and recognizes the interrelationship among experience, affect and the material in mediating the innovation process. The resulting model -- the "soft" megamachine --introduces new strategies to build capacity for responsible innovation in society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The Carnegie Image Tube Committee and the Development of Electronic Imaging Devices in Astronomy, 1953-1976

Description

This dissertation examines the efforts of the Carnegie Image Tube Committee (CITC), a group created by Vannevar Bush and composed of astronomers and physicists, who sought to develop a photoelectric

This dissertation examines the efforts of the Carnegie Image Tube Committee (CITC), a group created by Vannevar Bush and composed of astronomers and physicists, who sought to develop a photoelectric imaging device, generally called an image tube, to aid astronomical observations. The Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism coordinated the CITC, but the committee included members from observatories and laboratories across the United States. The CITC, which operated from 1954 to 1976, sought to replace direct photography as the primary means of astronomical imaging.

Physicists, who gained training in electronics during World War II, led the early push for the development of image tubes in astronomy. Vannevar Bush’s concern for scientific prestige led him to form a committee to investigate image tube technology, and postwar federal funding for the sciences helped the CITC sustain development efforts for a decade. During those development years, the CITC acted as a mediator between the astronomical community and the image tube producers but failed to engage astronomers concerning various development paths, resulting in a user group without real buy-in on the final product.

After a decade of development efforts, the CITC designed an image tube, which Radio Corporation of American manufactured, and, with additional funding from the National Science Foundation, the committee distributed to observatories around the world. While excited about the potential of electronic imaging, few astronomers used the Carnegie-developed device regularly. Although the CITC’s efforts did not result in an overwhelming adoption of image tubes by the astronomical community, examining the design, funding, production, and marketing of the Carnegie image tube shows the many and varied processes through which astronomers have acquired new tools. Astronomers’ use of the Carnegie image tube to acquire useful scientific data illustrates factors that contribute to astronomers’ adoption or non-adoption of those new tools.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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The value of a STEM PhD

Description

The quality and quantity of talented members of the US STEM workforce has

been a subject of great interest to policy and decision makers for the past 40 years.

Recent research indicates

The quality and quantity of talented members of the US STEM workforce has

been a subject of great interest to policy and decision makers for the past 40 years.

Recent research indicates that while there exist specific shortages in specific disciplines

and areas of expertise in the private sector and the federal government, there is no

noticeable shortage in any STEM academic discipline, but rather a surplus of PhDs

vying for increasingly scarce tenure track positions. Despite the seeming availability

of industry and private sector jobs, recent PhDs still struggle to find employment in

those areas. I argue that the decades old narrative suggesting a shortage of STEM

PhDs in the US poses a threat to the value of the natural science PhD, and that

this narrative contributes significantly to why so many PhDs struggle to find career

employment in their fields. This study aims to address the following question: what is

the value of a STEM PhD outside academia? I begin with a critical review of existing

literature, and then analyze programmatic documents for STEM PhD programs at

ASU, interviews with industry employers, and an examination the public face of value

for these degrees. I then uncover the nature of the value alignment, value disconnect,

and value erosion in the ecosystem which produces and then employs STEM PhDs,

concluding with specific areas which merit special consideration in an effort to increase

the value of these degrees for all stakeholders involved.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Making better students: ADHD in higher education and the biopolitics of stimulant medication

Description

According to my 2016 survey of ASU undergraduate students, 33% have used stimulant medications (e.g. Adderall or Ritalin) without a prescription to study. I view this practice as a ste

According to my 2016 survey of ASU undergraduate students, 33% have used stimulant medications (e.g. Adderall or Ritalin) without a prescription to study. I view this practice as a step towards cognitive enhancement, which is the deliberate application of biotechnology to radically alter the human condition. From a foresight perspective, the ability to actively improve human beings, to take our evolutionary destiny into our own hands, may be a turning point on par with agriculture or the use of fossil fuels. The existential risks, however, may be greater than the benefits—and many of the most radical technologies have made little documented progress.

I turn to an actual example where people are trying to make themselves marginally better at academic tasks, as a guide to how future transformative development in human enhancement may be incorporated into everyday practice. This project examines the history and context that led to the widespread use of stimulant medication on college campuses. I describe how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), for which stimulant medication is prescribed and diverted, governs students, negotiates relationships between parents and school authorities, and manages anxieties resulting from a competitive neoliberal educational system. I extend this archeology of ADHD through the actions and ethical beliefs of college students, and the bioethical arguments for and against human enhancement. Through this work, I open a new space for an expanded role for universities as institutions capable of creating experimental communities supporting ethical cognitive enhancement.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Fetal risk, federal response: how fetal alcohol syndrome influenced the adoption of alcohol health warning labels

Description

In the fifteen years between the discovery of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in 1973 and the passage of alcohol beverage warning labels in 1988, FAS transformed from a medical diagnosis

In the fifteen years between the discovery of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in 1973 and the passage of alcohol beverage warning labels in 1988, FAS transformed from a medical diagnosis between practitioner and pregnant women to a broader societal risk imbued with political and cultural meaning. I examine how scientific, social, moral, and political narratives dynamically interacted to construct the risk of drinking during pregnancy and the public health response of health warning labels on alcohol. To situate such phenomena I first observe the closest regulatory precedents, the public health responses to thalidomide and cigarettes, which established a federal response to fetal risk. I then examine the history of how the US defined and responded to the social problem of alcoholism, paying particular attention to the role of women in that process. Those chapters inform my discussion of how the US reengaged with alcohol control at the federal level in the last quarter of the twentieth century. In the 1970s, FAS allowed federal agencies to carve out disciplinary authority, but robust public health measures were tempered by uncertainty surrounding issues of bureaucratic authority over labeling, and the mechanism and extent of alcohol’s impact on development. A socially conservative presidency, dramatic budgetary cuts, and increased industry funding reshaped the public health approach to alcoholism in the 1980s. The passage of labeling in 1988 required several conditions: a groundswell of other labeling initiatives that normalized the practice; the classification of other high profile, socially unacceptable alcohol-related behaviors such as drunk driving and youth drinking; and the creation of a dual public health population that faced increased medical, social, and political scrutiny, the pregnant woman and her developing fetus.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016