Perspectives on Ethics: Klaus Günther

Perspectives on Ethics

Freedom in a Universe of Echoes?

When we are going online, we cannot avoid that our data are collected. Private and (some) governmental organizations use these data to produce a personal profile of you and me, some for observation and surveillance, others for mirroring and continuously confirming my individual preferences, choices, my activities, thoughts, emotions by offering corresponding products. Something similar happens in social networks. Many users are looking for other people who confirm what they are thinking, saying and doing. Others participate in groups which are constituted by a shared world view or at least a shared view on some issues, whose members encourage each other to maintain their view. Of course it always happens that these people are confronted with information or with views which are different, which do not coincide with what they are thinking. But in a universe of echoes, dissent and dissonance, criticism and contestation are only one more opportunity to confirm or slightly modify one´s own view, but not to change it or to give it up. Conspiracy theories are the most prominent examples of such a method. In my presentation, I shall ask for the consequences to our freedom. When we make a choice in a universe of echoes – is this still a free choice? Or does freedom require the experience of dissent, contestation, and even of failure and learning? If the answer to the last question were yes, then freedom would be lost in a universe of echoes.

Klaus Günther
Goethe-Universitãt Frankfurt a.M.
Faculty of Law & Excellence Cluster “Normative Orders”

Mon, Sep 17, 2018
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin