Matching Items (15)

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A Political Critique of the Objectification of Science and Religion

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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

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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2018-05

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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.

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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

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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2018-05

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

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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

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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2017-12

Funds For Fiji: A Sustainability Analysis

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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

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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2015-12

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Anticipatory Gaming: Informing the Anticipatory Governance Process through Digital Media

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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

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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2013-05

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Examining the impact of media content, emotions, and mental imagery visualization on pre-trip place attachment

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Numerous studies have examined the attachments individuals have to the places they visit, and that those attachments are formed through experiencing a place in person. This study is unique in that it examines pre-trip place attachment formation via the use

Numerous studies have examined the attachments individuals have to the places they visit, and that those attachments are formed through experiencing a place in person. This study is unique in that it examines pre-trip place attachment formation via the use of mobile technology and social media. It proposes that media experienced through the use of a participant's smartphone can foster the development of positive emotions, which in turn, facilitates greater mental imagery processing that ultimately influences pre-trip place attachment formation. An experimental design was constructed to examine how text and video on a destination's Facebook page influences an individual's emotions, mental imagery, and subsequently attachment to that destination. Specifically, a 2 (narrative text vs. descriptive text) x 2 (short, fast-paced video vs. long, slow-paced video) between-subjects design was used. A total of 343 usable participant responses were included in the analysis. The data was then analyzed through a two-step process using structural equation modeling. Results revealed no significant influence of textual or video media on emotions although the choice in text has a greater influence on emotions than choice in video. Additionally, emotions had a significant impact on mental imagery. Finally, mental imagery processing had a significant impact on only the social bonding dimension of place attachment. In conclusion, while media had no significant impact on emotions, the effect of previous traveler's retelling of personal accounts on the emotions of potential travelers researching a destination should be examined more closely. Further, the study participants had no prior experience with the destination, yet emotions influenced mental imagery, which also influenced social bonding. Thus further research should be conducted to better understand how potential traveler's image of a destination can be affected by the stories or others.

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2013

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Visions for sustainable energy transformations: integrating power and politics in the Mediterranean Region

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This dissertation examines the nexus of three trends in electricity systems transformations underway worldwide—the scale-up of renewable energy, regionalization, and liberalization. Interdependent electricity systems are being envisioned that require partnership and integration across power disparities. This research explores how actors

This dissertation examines the nexus of three trends in electricity systems transformations underway worldwide—the scale-up of renewable energy, regionalization, and liberalization. Interdependent electricity systems are being envisioned that require partnership and integration across power disparities. This research explores how actors in the Mediterranean region envisioned a massive scale-up of renewable energy within a single electricity system and market across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It asks: How are regional sociotechnical systems envisioned? What are the anticipated consequences of a system for a region with broad disparities and deep sociopolitical differences? What can be learned about energy justice by examining this vision at multiple scales? A sociotechnical systems framework is used to analyze energy transformations, interweaving the technical aspects with politics, societal effects, and political development issues. This research utilized mixed qualitative methods to analyze Mediterranean electricity transformations at multiple scales, including fieldwork in Morocco and Germany, document analysis, and event ethnography. Each scale—from a global history of concentrating solar power technologies to a small village in Morocco—provides a different lens on the sociotechnical system and its implications for justice. This study updates Thomas Hughes’ Networks of Power, the canonical history of the sociotechnical development of electricity systems, by adding new aspects to sociotechnical electricity systems theory. First, a visioning process now plays a crucial role in guiding innovation and has a lasting influence on the justice outcomes. Second, rather than simply providing people with heat and light, electrical power systems in the 21st century are called upon to address complex integrated solutions. Furthermore, building a sustainable energy system is now a retrofitting agenda, as system builders must graft new infrastructure on top of old systems. Third, the spatial and temporal aspects of sociotechnical energy systems should be amended to account for constructed geography and temporal complexity. Fourth, transnational electricity systems pose new challenges for politics and political development. Finally, this dissertation presents a normative framework for conceptualizing and evaluating energy justice. Multi-scalar, systems-level justice requires collating diverse ideas about energy justice, expanding upon them based on the empirical material, and evaluating them with this framework.

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2015

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The wide adaptation of Green Revolution wheat

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"Wide adaptation" is an agricultural concept often employed and seldom closely examined. Norman E. Borlaug, while working for the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) on an agricultural project in Mexico in the 1950s, discovered that some tropical wheat varieties could be grown

"Wide adaptation" is an agricultural concept often employed and seldom closely examined. Norman E. Borlaug, while working for the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) on an agricultural project in Mexico in the 1950s, discovered that some tropical wheat varieties could be grown over broad geographic regions, not just in Central and South America but also in the Middle East and South Asia. He called this wide, or broad, adaptation, which scientists generally define as a plant type that has high yields throughout diverse environments. Borlaug soon made wide adaptation as a core pillar of his international wheat program. Borlaug's wheat program rapidly expanded in the 1960s, and he and his colleagues from the RF heavily promoted wide adaptation and the increased use of fertilizers in the Middle East and India. These events led to the green revolution, when several countries rapidly increased their wheat production. Indian wheat cultivation changed radically in the 1960s due to new technologies and policy reforms introduced during the green revolution, and farmers' adoption of 'technology packages' of modern seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation.

Just prior to the green revolution, Indian wheat scientists adopted Borlaug’s new plant breeding philosophy—that varieties should have as wide an adaptation as possible. But Borlaug and Indian wheat scientists also argued that wide adaptation could be achieved by selecting only plants that did well in high fertility and irrigated environments. Scientists claimed, in many cases erroneously, that widely adapted varieties still produced high yields in marginal, or resource poor, areas. Many people have criticized the green revolution for its unequal spread of benefits, but none of these critiques address wide adaptation—the core tenant held by Indian wheat scientists to justify their focus on highly productive land while ignoring marginal and rainfed agriculture. My dissertation describes Borlaug and the RF's research program in wide adaptation, Borlaug's involvement in the Indian wheat program, and internal debates about wide adaptation and selection under favorable environments among Indian scientists. It argues that scientists leveraged the concept of wide adaptation to justify a particular regime of research focused on high production agriculture, and that the footprints of this regime are still present in Indian agriculture.

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2015

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

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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

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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2014

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

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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

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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2016