Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Hololens in academic library

Blurred Lines—between virtual reality games, research, and education

p. 5 a LibGuide was created that provided a better description of the available software for both the Microsoft Hololens and the HTC Vive and also discussed potential applications for the technology.

Both the HTC Vive and the Hololens were made bookable through the library’s LibCalendar booking system, streamlining the booking process and creating a better user experience.

When the decision was made to bring virtual and augmented reality into the McGill University Library, an important aspect of this project was to develop a collection of related software to be used alongside the technology. In building this software collection a priority was placed on acquiring software that could be demonstrated as having educational value, or that could potentially be used in relation to, or in support of, university courses.

For the Microsoft Hololens, all software was acquired through Microsoft’s Online Store. The store has a number of educationally relevant HoloLens apps available for purchase. The app ARchitect, for example, gives a basic sense of how augmented reality could be used for viewing new building designs. The app Robotics BIW allows user to simulate robotic functions. A select number of apps, such as Land of the Dinosaurs and Boulevard, provide applications for natural history and art. There were a select number of apps related to science, mathematics and medicine, and others with artistic applications. All of the HoloLens applications were free but, compared to what is available for virtual reality, the experiences were much smaller in size and scope.

For the HoloLens, a generic user account was created and shared with person who booked the HoloLens at the time of their booking. After logging into this account – which could sometimes prove to be a challenge because typing is done using the headset’s gesture controls – the user could select a floating tile which would reveal a list of available software. An unresolved problem was that users would then need to refer to the HoloLens LibGuide for a detailed description of the software, or else choose software based on name alone, and the names were not always helpful.

For the Microsoft HoloLens, the three most popular software programs were Land of the Dinosaurs, Palmyra and Insight Heart. Insight Heart allow users to view and manipulate a 3D rendering of a high-resolution human heart, Land of the Dinosaurs provided an augment reality experience featuring 3D renderings of dinosaurs, and Palmyra gave an augmented reality tour of the ancient city of Palmyra.

p. 7 Though many students had ideas for research projects that could make use of the technology, there was no available software that would have allowed them to use augmented reality in the way they wanted. There were no students interested in developing their own software to be used with the technology either.

p. 8 we found that the Microsoft HoloLens received significant use from our patrons, we would recommend the purchase of one only for libraries serving researchers and developers.


Getting Real in the Library: A Case Study at the University of Florida

Samuel R. Putnam and Sara Russell GonzalezIssue 39, 2018-02-05

Getting Real in the Library: A Case Study at the University of Florida

As an alternative, Microsoft offers a Hololens with enterprise options geared toward multiple users for $5000.

The transition from mobile app development to VR/AR technology also reflected the increased investment in VR/AR by some of the largest technology companies in the world. In the past four years, Facebook purchased the virtual reality company Oculus, Apple released the ARKit for developing augmented reality applications on iOS devices, Google developed Google Cardboard as an affordable VR option, and Sony released Playstation VR to accompany their gaming platform, just to name a few notable examples. This increase of VR/AR development was mirrored by a rise in student interest and faculty research in using and creating new VR/AR content at UF.


Arnhem, J.-P. van, Elliott, C., & Rose, M. (2018). Augmented and Virtual Reality in Libraries. Rowman & Littlefield.
360 degree video in library instruction
Hammady, R., & Ma, M. (2018). Designing Spatial UI as a Solution of the Narrow FOV of Microsoft HoloLens: Prototype of Virtual Museum Guide. In Proceedings of the 4th International AR & VR Conference 2018. Springer. Retrieved from
‘HoloMuse’ that engage users with archaeological artefacts through gesture-based interactions (Pollalis, Fahnbulleh, Tynes, & Shaer, 2017). Another research utilised HoloLens to provide in-situ assistant for users (Blattgerste, Strenge, Renner, Pfeiffer, & Essig, 2017). HoloLens also used to provide magnification for low vision users by complementary finger-worn camera alongside with the HMD (Stearns, DeSouza, Yin, Findlater, & Froehlich, 2017). Even in the medical applications, HoloLens contributed in 3D visualisation purposes using AR techniques (Syed, Zakaria, & Lozanoff, 2017) and provide optimised measurements in medical surgeries(Pratt et al., 2018) (Adabi et al., 2017). Application of HoloLens extended to visualise prototype designs (DeLaOsa, 2017) and showed its potential in gaming industry (Volpe, 2015) (Alvarez, 2015) and engaging cultural visitors with gaming activities (Raptis, Fidas, & Avouris, 2017).
van Arnhem, J.-P., & Spiller, J. M. (2014). Augmented Reality for Discovery and Instruction. Journal of Web Librarianship, 8(2), 214–230.


Evaluating the Microsoft HoloLens through an augmented reality assembly application
Proceedings Volume 10197, Degraded Environments: Sensing, Processing, and Display 2017; 101970V (2017)
Event: SPIE Defense + Security, 2017, Anaheim, California, United States
To assess the HoloLens’ potential for delivering AR assembly instructions, the cross-platform Unity 3D game engine was used to build a proof of concept application. Features focused upon when building the prototype were: user interfaces, dynamic 3D assembly instructions, and spatially registered content placement. The research showed that while the HoloLens is a promising system, there are still areas that require improvement, such as tracking accuracy, before the device is ready for deployment in a factory assembly setting.
Pollalis, C., Fahnbulleh, W., Tynes, J., & Shaer, O. (2017). HoloMuse: Enhancing Engagement with Archaeological Artifacts Through Gesture-Based Interaction with Holograms. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 565–570). New York, NY, USA: ACM.
Gračanin, D., Ciambrone, A., Tasooji, R., & Handosa, M. (2017). Mixed Library — Bridging Real and Virtual Libraries. In S. Lackey & J. Chen (Eds.), Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (pp. 227–238). Springer International Publishing.
We use Microsoft HoloLens device to augment the user’s experience in the real library and to provide a rich set of affordances for embodied and social interactions.We describe a mixed reality based system, a prototype mixed library, that provides a variety of affordances to support embodied interactions and improve the user experience.


Dourish, P. (n.d.). Where the Action Is. Retrieved November 23, 2018, from
embodied interactions
Computer science as an engineering discipline has been spectacularly successful. Yet it is also a philosophical enterprise in the way it represents the world and creates and manipulates models of reality, people, and action. In this book, Paul Dourish addresses the philosophical bases of human-computer interaction. He looks at how what he calls “embodied interaction”—an approach to interacting with software systems that emphasizes skilled, engaged practice rather than disembodied rationality—reflects the phenomenological approaches of Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and other twentieth-century philosophers. The phenomenological tradition emphasizes the primacy of natural practice over abstract cognition in everyday activity. Dourish shows how this perspective can shed light on the foundational underpinnings of current research on embodied interaction. He looks in particular at how tangible and social approaches to interaction are related, how they can be used to analyze and understand embodied interaction, and how they could affect the design of future interactive systems.


Pollalis, C., Fahnbulleh, W., Tynes, J., & Shaer, O. (2017). HoloMuse: Enhancing Engagement with Archaeological Artifacts Through Gesture-Based Interaction with Holograms. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 565–570). New York, NY, USA: ACM.
HoloMuse, an AR application for the HoloLens wearable device, which allows users to actively engage with archaeological artifacts from a museum collection
pick up, rotate, scale, and alter a hologram of an original archeological artifact using in-air gestures. Users can also curate their own exhibit or customize an existing one by selecting artifacts from a virtual gallery and placing them within the physical world so that they are viewable only using the device. We intend to study the impact of HoloMuse on learning and engagement with college-level art history and archeology students.

Dugas, Z., & Kerne Andruld. (2007). Location-Aware Augmented Reality Gaming for Emergency Response Education: Concepts and Development. ResearchGate. Retrieved from


Library Spaces II: The IDEA Lab at the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center

more on Hololens in this IMS blog

Social Credit System

Social Credit System

China ‘social credit’: Beijing sets up huge system

26 October 2015

China’s “Social Credit System” Will Rate How Valuable You Are as a Human

What people can and can’t do will depend on how high their “citizen score” is.

Dom GaleonDecember 2nd 2017

China has started ranking citizens with a creepy ‘social credit’ system — here’s what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you

Alexandra Ma Oct. 29, 2018, 12:06 PM

How does China’s social credit system work?

China is taking digital control of its people to chilling lengths

Social credit system from AP DealFlow

China’s Social Credit System: The Quantification of Citizenship from Morgan Reede

Digital Surveillance in China: From the Great Firewall to the Social Credit System from Aarhus University

Charles Taylor

Taylor, C. (2017). Our evolving agenda. Philosophy & Social Criticism43(3), 274-275. doi:10.1177/0191453716680433

 Neo-Kantian ethics, for its part, tends to separate issues of the good life from what it considers the central questions of justice.

The reigning neo-liberal ideology, and the order it lauds, is meant to produce a maximization of wealth, and hence of means to fulfil our goals, without asking in what ways our frenetic attempts to increase GNP run counter to some of our most important goals: solidarity, the ability to discern and pursue a truly meaningful and fulfilling life, in keeping with our endowment and inclinations. We are either induced to neglect these in favour of playing our part in increasing GNP and/or we never pause to consider questions about what kind of life is best for us and, above all, what we owe to each other in this department

One of the central issues that arises in this context is that of democracy. After 1945, and then 1989, and then again in 2011 with the Arab Spring, we had the sense that democracy was on the march in history. But not only have many of the new departures been disappointing – Russia, Turkey, Egypt – but democracy is beginning to decay in its historic heartlands, where it has been operative for more than a century.

Inequalities are growing; in fact, democracy has been sacrificed to the supposed path of more rapid growth, as defined by neo-liberalism. This has led to a sense of impotence among non-elites, which has meant a drop in electoral participation, which in turn increases the power of money in politics, which leads to an intensified sense of impotence, and so on.

Taylor, C. (1998, October). The Dynamics of Democratic Exclusion. Journal of Democracy. p. 143.

Liberal democracy is a great philosophy of inclusion. It is rule of the people, by the people, and for the people, and today the “people” is taken to mean everybody, without the unspoken restrictions that formerly excluded peasants, women, or slaves. Contemporary liberal democracy offers the spectacle of the most inclusive politics in human history. Yet there is also something in the dynamic of democracy that pushes toward exclusion. This was allowed full rein in earlier democracies, as among the ancient republics, but today is a cause of great malaise.

The basic mode of legitimation of democratic states implies that they are founded on popular sovereignty. Now, for the people to be sovereign, it needs to form an entity and have a personality. This need can be expressed in the following way: The people is supposed to rule; this means that its members make up a decision-making unit, a body that takes joint decisions through a consensus, or at least a majority vote, of agents who are deemed equal and autonomous. It is not “democratic” for some citizens to be under the control of others. This might facilitate decision making, but it is not democratically legitimate.

In other words, a modern democratic state demands a “people” with a strong collective identity. Democracy obliges us to show much more solidarity and much more commitment to one another in our joint political project than was demanded by the hierarchical and authoritarian societies of yesteryear.

Thinkers in the civic humanist tradition, from Aristotle through Hannah Arendt, have noted that free societies require a higher level of commitment and participation than despotic or authoritarian ones. Citizens have to do for themselves, as it were, what the rulers would otherwise do for them. But this will happen only if these citizens feel a strong bond of identification with their political community, and hence with their fellow citizens.

successive waves of immigrants were perceived by many U.S. citizens of longer standing as a threat to democracy and the American way of life. This was the fate of the Irish beginning in the 1840s, and later in the century of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. And of course, the long-established black population, when it was given citizen rights for the first time after the Civil War, was effectively excluded from voting through much of the Old South up until the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

Multiculturalism and Postmodernism

For although conservatives often lump “postmodernists” and “multiculturalists” together with “liberals,” nothing could be less fair. In fact, the “postmodernists” themselves attack the unfortunate liberals with much greater gusto than they direct against the conser-vatives.

the two do have something in common, and so the targets partly converge. The discourse of the victim-accuser is ultimately rooted in certain philosophical sources that the postmodernists share with procedural liberalism—in particular, a commitment to negative liberty and/or a hostility to the Herder-Humboldt model of the associative bond. That is why policies framed in the language of “postmodernism” usually share certain properties with the policies of their procedural liberal enemies.

The struggle to redefine our political life in order to counteract the dangers and temptations of democratic exclusion will only intensify in the next century (My note: 21st century). There are no easy solutions, no universal formulas for success in this struggle. But at least we can try to avoid falling into the shadow or illusory ways of thinking. This means, first, that we must understand the drive to exclusion (as well as the vocation of inclusion) that democratic politics contains; and second, that we must fight free of some of the powerful philosophical illusions of our age. This essay is an attempt to push our thought a little ahead in both these directions.


Taylor, C., & And, O. (1994). Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition.



Taylor, C. A. (1996). Theorizing Practice and Practicing Theory: Toward a Constructive Analysis of Scientific Rhetorics. Communication Theory (10503293)6(4), 374-387.


Taylor, C., & Jennings, I. (2005). The Immanent Counter-Enlightenment: Christianity and Morality. South African Journal Of Philosophy24(3), 224-239.

a passage from Paul Bénichou’s fa mous work Mo rales du grand siècle: ‘Hu man kind re presses its mis ery when ever it can; and at the same time for gets that hu mil i at ing mo ral ity by which it had con demned life, and in do ing so had made a vir tue of ne ces sity.2 ’ In this ver sion, the la tent hu man ist mo ral ity suc ceeds in es tab – lish ing it self, and in so do ing helps to throw the theo log i cal-as cetic code onto the scrap heap. On this view, it is as if the hu man ist mo ral ity had al ways been there, wait ing for the chance to over throw its op pres sive pre de ces sor.

The re la tion ship was something like the fol low ing: As long as one lived in the en – chanted world, where the weather-bells chimed, one felt one self to be in a world full of threats, vul ner a ble to black magic in all its forms. In this world God was for most be liev ers the source of a pos i tive power, which was able to de feat the pow ers of evil. God was the chief source of coun ter-, or white, magic. He was the fi nal guar an tor that good would tri umph in this world of man i fold spir its and pow ers. For those com pletely ab sorbed in this world, it was prac ti cally im pos si ble not to be – lieve in God. Not to be lieve would mean de vot ing one self to the devil. A small mi nor – ity of truly re mark able – or per haps truly des per ate – peo ple did in deed do this. But for the vast ma jor ity there was no ques tion whether one be lieved in God or not – the pos i – tive force was as real a fact as the threats it coun ter acted. The ques tion of be lief was a ques tion of trust and mem ber ship rather than one of the ac cep tance of par tic u lar doc – trines. In this sense they were closer to the con text of the gos pels.

more on philosophy in this IMS blog

intelligence measure

Intelligence: a history

Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots

Stephen Cave

To say that someone is or is not intelligent has never been merely a comment on their mental faculties. It is always also a judgment on what they are permitted to do. Intelligence, in other words, is political.

The problem has taken an interesting 21st-century twist with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The term ‘intelligence’ itself has never been popular with English-language philosophers. Nor does it have a direct translation into German or ancient Greek, two of the other great languages in the Western philosophical tradition. But that doesn’t mean philosophers weren’t interested in it. Indeed, they were obsessed with it, or more precisely a part of it: reason or rationality. The term ‘intelligence’ managed to eclipse its more old-fashioned relative in popular and political discourse only with the rise of the relatively new-fangled discipline of psychology, which claimed intelligence for itself.

Plato conclude, in The Republic, that the ideal ruler is ‘the philosopher king’, as only a philosopher can work out the proper order of things. This idea was revolutionary at the time. Athens had already experimented with democracy, the rule of the people – but to count as one of those ‘people’ you just had to be a male citizen, not necessarily intelligent. Elsewhere, the governing classes were made up of inherited elites (aristocracy), or by those who believed they had received divine instruction (theocracy), or simply by the strongest (tyranny).

Plato’s novel idea fell on the eager ears of the intellectuals, including those of his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was always the more practical, taxonomic kind of thinker. He took the notion of the primacy of reason and used it to establish what he believed was a natural social hierarchy.

So at the dawn of Western philosophy, we have intelligence identified with the European, educated, male human. It becomes an argument for his right to dominate women, the lower classes, uncivilised peoples and non-human animals. While Plato argued for the supremacy of reason and placed it within a rather ungainly utopia, only one generation later, Aristotle presents the rule of the thinking man as obvious and natural.

The late Australian philosopher and conservationist Val Plumwood has argued that the giants of Greek philosophy set up a series of linked dualisms that continue to inform our thought. Opposing categories such as intelligent/stupid, rational/emotional and mind/body are linked, implicitly or explicitly, to others such as male/female, civilised/primitive, and human/animal. These dualisms aren’t value-neutral, but fall within a broader dualism, as Aristotle makes clear: that of dominant/subordinate or master/slave. Together, they make relationships of domination, such as patriarchy or slavery, appear to be part of the natural order of things.

Descartes rendered nature literally mindless, and so devoid of intrinsic value – which thereby legitimated the guilt-free oppression of other species.

For Kant, only reasoning creatures had moral standing. Rational beings were to be called ‘persons’ and were ‘ends in themselves’. Beings that were not rational, on the other hand, had ‘only a relative value as means, and are therefore called things’. We could do with them what we liked.

This line of thinking was extended to become a core part of the logic of colonialism. The argument ran like this: non-white peoples were less intelligent; they were therefore unqualified to rule over themselves and their lands. It was therefore perfectly legitimate – even a duty, ‘the white man’s burden’ – to destroy their cultures and take their territory.

The same logic was applied to women, who were considered too flighty and sentimental to enjoy the privileges afforded to the ‘rational man’.

Galton believe that intellectual ability was hereditary and could be enhanced through selective breeding. He decided to find a way to scientifically identify the most able members of society and encourage them to breed – prolifically, and with each other. The less intellectually capable should be discouraged from reproducing, or indeed prevented, for the sake of the species. Thus eugenics and the intelligence test were born together.

From David Hume to Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud through to postmodernism, there are plenty of philosophical traditions that challenge the notion that we’re as intelligent as we’d like to believe, and that intelligence is the highest virtue.

From 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Terminator films, writers have fantasised about machines rising up against us. Now we can see why. If we’re used to believing that the top spots in society should go to the brainiest, then of course we should expect to be made redundant by bigger-brained robots and sent to the bottom of the heap.

Natural stupidity, rather than artificial intelligence, remains the greatest risk.

more on intelligence in this IMS blog

philosophy and technology

Philosophy’s influence on technology design – and why it needs to change

How we communicate is as important as why

Communication technology has tapped into a very human need to be liked and appreciated.

Why should any of this matter to designers, manufacturers, and users of technology? A narrow view of why we communicate inevitably limits the sorts of we build. Interestingly, many of the things we do with technology are byproducts of what they were originally designed for (e.g. the internet emerged as the result of a US Defence project researching possibilities for network packets). Once we drop our preconceived ideas that transmitting information is their only purpose – an assumption that carries with it a shortsighted vision – the possibilities of what we could create are endless.
There is a difference between understanding the words a speaker has said, and understanding the speaker – understanding the “why” as well as the “what”.


SOCIO-INT15- 2nd INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES will be held in Istanbul (Turkey), on the 8th, 9th and 10th of June 2015 is an interdisciplinary international conference that invites academics, independent scholars and researchers from around the world to meet and exchange the latest ideas and discuss issues concerning all fields of Education, Social Sciences and Humanities.


SOCIO-INT15 provides the ideal opportunity to bring together professors, researchers and high education students of different disciplines, discuss new issues, and discover the most recent developments, new trends and researches in education, social sciences and humanities.

Academics making efforts in education, subfields of which might include higher education, early childhood education, adult education, special education, e-learning, language education, etc. are highly welcomed. People without papers can also participate in this conference as audience so long as they find it interesting and meaningful.

Due to the nature of the conference with its focus on innovative ideas and developments, papers also related to all areas of social sciences including communication, accounting, finance, economics, management, business, marketing, education, sociology, psychology, political science, law and other areas of social sciences; also all areas of humanities including anthropology, archaelogy, architecture, art, ethics, folklore studies, history, language studies, literature, methodological studies, music, philosophy, poetry and theater are invited for the international conference.

Submitted papers will be subject to peer review and evaluated based on originality and clarity of exposition.

Skip to toolbar