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AI and ethics

Live Facebook discussion at SCSU VizLab on ethics and technology:

Join our discussion on #technology and #ethics. share your opinions, suggestions, ideas

Posted by InforMedia Services on Thursday, November 1, 2018

Heard on Marketplace this morning (Oct. 22, 2018): ethics of artificial intelligence with John Havens of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which has developed a new ethics certification process for AI:

Ethics and AI

***** The student club, the Philosophical Society, has now been recognized by SCSU as a student organization ***

Could it be the case that a random decision is still better then predetermined one designed to minimize harm?

similar ethical considerations are raised also:

in this sitcom (full movie)

This TED talk:



IoT (Internet of Things), Industry 4.0, Big Data, BlockChain,

IoT (Internet of Things), Industry 4.0, Big Data, BlockChain, Privacy, Security, Surveilance

peer-reviewed literature;

Keyword search: ethic* + Internet of Things = 31

Baldini, G., Botterman, M., Neisse, R., & Tallacchini, M. (2018). Ethical Design in the Internet of Things. Science & Engineering Ethics24(3), 905–925.

Berman, F., & Cerf, V. G. (2017). Social and Ethical Behavior in the Internet of Things. Communications of the ACM60(2), 6–7.

Murdock, G. (2018). Media Materialties: For A Moral Economy of Machines. Journal of Communication68(2), 359–368.

Carrier, J. G. (2018). Moral economy: What’s in a name. Anthropological Theory18(1), 18–35.

Kernaghan, K. (2014). Digital dilemmas: Values, ethics and information technology. Canadian Public Administration57(2), 295–317.

Koucheryavy, Y., Kirichek, R., Glushakov, R., & Pirmagomedov, R. (2017). Quo vadis, humanity? Ethics on the last mile toward cybernetic organism. Russian Journal of Communication9(3), 287–293.

Keyword search: ethic+ + autonomous vehicles = 46

Cerf, V. G. (2017). A Brittle and Fragile Future. Communications of the ACM60(7), 7.

Fleetwood, J. (2017). Public Health, Ethics, and Autonomous Vehicles. American Journal of Public Health107(4), 632–537.

HARRIS, J. (2018). Who Owns My Autonomous Vehicle? Ethics and Responsibility in Artificial and Human Intelligence. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics27(4), 599–609.

Keeling, G. (2018). Legal Necessity, Pareto Efficiency & Justified Killing in Autonomous Vehicle Collisions. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice21(2), 413–427.

Hevelke, A., & Nida-Rümelin, J. (2015). Responsibility for Crashes of Autonomous Vehicles: An Ethical Analysis. Science & Engineering Ethics21(3), 619–630.

Getha-Taylor, H. (2017). The Problem with Automated Ethics. Public Integrity19(4), 299–300.

Keyword search: ethic* + artificial intelligence = 349

Etzioni, A., & Etzioni, O. (2017). Incorporating Ethics into Artificial Intelligence. Journal of Ethics21(4), 403–418.

Köse, U. (2018). Are We Safe Enough in the Future of Artificial Intelligence? A Discussion on Machine Ethics and Artificial Intelligence Safety. BRAIN: Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence & Neuroscience9(2), 184–197. Retrieved from


2018 CTS Transportation Research Conference

Keynote presentations will explore the future of driving and the evolution and potential of automated vehicle technologies.


more on AI in this IMS blog

AI and autonomous cars as ALA discussion topic

and privacy concerns

the call of the German scientists on ethics and AI

AI in the race for world dominance

The monopoly of the tech giants

Here’s the real danger that Facebook, Google, and the other tech monopolies pose to our society

Jamie Bartlett, October 1, 2018,

distributed computing + power encryption = the future of Internet

the Dark Net is going mainstream, liberty, freedom, democracy; neither entirely dark, not entirely light, both things

The threat that tech monopolies pose to democracies is about more than the prices they charge: it’s the concentration of power, data and control over the public space — and their ability to wield this power over a growing number of economic activities, especially in the infrastructure and technologies of the future. The following companies operate as either monopolies or oligopolies in their respective fields: Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify. Integrated into everything, everywhere, their technology will blanket the world.

cultural hegemony.” That is, where domination can be achieved through controlling the ideas and assumptions available to the public. The idea, associated with philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci

In 1995, left-wing academics Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron detailed the philosophy and ideas of the new tech wunderkinds, christening it “The Californian Ideology.” This ideology represented a fusion of the cultural bohemianism of San Francisco and entrepreneurial free market zeal.

All you needed to get to utopia was a belief in “disruption,” the idea that progress is achieved through smashing up old industries and institutions and replacing them with something new and digital.

Money and ideas in Silicon Valley have a very complicated relationship. Silicon Valley runs according to a Faustian pact: money in exchange for world-changing ideas.

Over the years, the big tech firms have very carefully cultivated the Californian Ideology. Even though they are massive multi-billion-dollar corporations with huge PR teams, they pitch themselves as anti-establishment.The worse these companies behave and the richer they become, the more they spend on looking cool and talking about fairness and community.

And to whom do we look in order to solve our collective social problems? It’s no longer the state, but the modern tech-geek superhero.

Total victory for the monopoly is not over economics or politics. It’s over assumptions, ideas and possible futures.

more on social media in this IMS blog

coding ethics unpredictability

Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code

by  Thu 30 Aug 2018

Between the “dumb” fixed algorithms and true AI lies the problematic halfway house we’ve already entered with scarcely a thought and almost no debate, much less agreement as to aims, ethics, safety, best practice. If the algorithms around us are not yet intelligent, meaning able to independently say “that calculation/course of action doesn’t look right: I’ll do it again”, they are nonetheless starting to learn from their environments. And once an algorithm is learning, we no longer know to any degree of certainty what its rules and parameters are. At which point we can’t be certain of how it will interact with other algorithms, the physical world, or us. Where the “dumb” fixed algorithms – complex, opaque and inured to real time monitoring as they can be – are in principle predictable and interrogable, these ones are not. After a time in the wild, we no longer know what they are: they have the potential to become erratic. We might be tempted to call these “frankenalgos” – though Mary Shelley couldn’t have made this up.

Twenty years ago, George Dyson anticipated much of what is happening today in his classic book Darwin Among the Machines. The problem, he tells me, is that we’re building systems that are beyond our intellectual means to control. We believe that if a system is deterministic (acting according to fixed rules, this being the definition of an algorithm) it is predictable – and that what is predictable can be controlled. Both assumptions turn out to be wrong.“It’s proceeding on its own, in little bits and pieces,” he says. “What I was obsessed with 20 years ago that has completely taken over the world today are multicellular, metazoan digital organisms, the same way we see in biology, where you have all these pieces of code running on people’s iPhones, and collectively it acts like one multicellular organism.“There’s this old law called Ashby’s law that says a control system has to be as complex as the system it’s controlling, and we’re running into that at full speed now, with this huge push to build self-driving cars where the software has to have a complete model of everything, and almost by definition we’re not going to understand it. Because any model that we understand is gonna do the thing like run into a fire truck ’cause we forgot to put in the fire truck.”

Walsh believes this makes it more, not less, important that the public learn about programming, because the more alienated we become from it, the more it seems like magic beyond our ability to affect. When shown the definition of “algorithm” given earlier in this piece, he found it incomplete, commenting: “I would suggest the problem is that algorithm now means any large, complex decision making software system and the larger environment in which it is embedded, which makes them even more unpredictable.” A chilling thought indeed. Accordingly, he believes ethics to be the new frontier in tech, foreseeing “a golden age for philosophy” – a view with which Eugene Spafford of Purdue University, a cybersecurity expert, concurs. Where there are choices to be made, that’s where ethics comes in.

our existing system of tort law, which requires proof of intention or negligence, will need to be rethought. A dog is not held legally responsible for biting you; its owner might be, but only if the dog’s action is thought foreseeable.

model-based programming, in which machines do most of the coding work and are able to test as they go.

As we wait for a technological answer to the problem of soaring algorithmic entanglement, there are precautions we can take. Paul Wilmott, a British expert in quantitative analysis and vocal critic of high frequency trading on the stock market, wryly suggests “learning to shoot, make jam and knit

The venerable Association for Computing Machinery has updated its code of ethics along the lines of medicine’s Hippocratic oath, to instruct computing professionals to do no harm and consider the wider impacts of their work.

more on coding in this IMS blog

Teacher Brand and Digital Reputation

Rise and Shine! How to Boost Your Teacher Brand and Digital Reputation

By Kasey Bell     Apr 5, 2016

Five tips to help you create a personal brand and a positive digital reputation

1. What will they find when they Google you?

2. What is branding?

Your brand is what you represent, the content that you share, your audience, your Personal Learning Network (PLN), and your teaching philosophy. You want your brand to demonstrate that you are trustworthy, and offer quality content, insightful comments, and experience. Your brand tells your audience that what you offer is of value. Together, the elements that create your brand should communicate a distinct, cohesive story. For instance, when you visit any of my social media profiles, you will see a consistent message. The avatar and logo for my website Shake Up Learning are more recognizable than my face, and that’s intentional. That isn’t to say that every brand needs an avatar. But do find a creative way to tell your personal story.

3. Choose the right platforms

There is no right or wrong platform. Choosing where you want to build your online presence depends on the audience that you want to engage. If you want to reach parents and school community stakeholders, Facebook is a strong bet. If you want to reach other educators, Twitter and Pinterest are big winners. The bottom line is that you don’t have to use them all. Find and connect with your audience where your audience resides.

4. Claim your social media real estate

Before you settle on a username, check that it’s available on all of the social media platforms that you want to use—and then keep it consistent. You will lose your audience if you make it hard to find you. Also keep your handle simple and short, and try to avoid special characters. When a new platform arrives, claim your username early even if you aren’t sure that you will maintain a presence there.

5. Optimize your social media profiles

Guy Kawasaki, co-author of The Art of Social Media, khas nearly 1.5 million followers on Twitter alone, and he offers effective social media tips in his book. Here are the basics:

  • Add a picture of your face or logo. Your picture validates who you are. No more eggheads! Using the default egg avatar on Twitter says you don’t have a brand, and doesn’t tell your audience that you are trustworthy.
  • Use your real name. Sure, you can lie, but that isn’t going to help you build a brand and online presence. Many platforms allow you to show your name as well as your handle.
  • Link to your website, blog or page. Don’t have one? Get one! You may not be ready to start a blog, but anyone can easily set up an page—which is like an online resume.
  •  Compose a meaningful bio, which will help others find and follow you. It should describe your experience in the field of education and highlight topics that you follow like Maker EdGoogle Apps, or edtech.
  • Add a cover image. Choose an image that tells your story. Who are you? What do you do that sets you apart? Canva is a graphic design tool that makes creating a cover image easy. It offers ready-made templates in the right size for all of the major social media platforms.
  • Be consistent across all mediums. You want your followers to see the same brand on all of your social media profiles. This also means you shouldn’t change your profile picture every five minutes. Be recognizable.

Tools to build your brand and online presence

  • A quick and easy personal homepage that shows your audience who you are and how to connect with you.
  •  Canva: An easy-to-use design tool for creating images, with templates for social media.
  •  Fiverr: A marketplace for services that you can use to commission a logo, avatar, or web design.
  •  Wix: A free website builder.
  •  Weebly: A free website builder.
  •  Buffer: A free web tool for sharing and scheduling content across multiple social media platforms.
  •  Nuzzel: A free web tool that lets you see the content trending among the people you follow.
  •  The Art of Social Media: A guide to creating a compelling social media presence, by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.
  •  What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube: Tips for preserving your digital reputation, by Erik Qualman.
  •  What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube: Advice for students on protective their digital reputations, by Erik Qualman.

more on digital citizenship in this IMS blog

social media cheat sheet and content calendar

Disruption in Higher Education

What to Expect in an Era of Disruption in Higher Education

Jim Black President & CEO of SEM Works

1. Determine what the customer craves and deliver it. In the case of college and university students, there are limits. Balancing student wants and desires with what they actually need to be successful students and engaged citizens can, in fact, be extremely challenging. “The customer is always right” philosophy practiced by many businesses simply does not fit with the mission of postsecondary institutions. Instead, the role of educators is to advance and apply knowledge, facilitate the exploration of ideas, foster cognitive dissonance, prepare students as lifelong learners and productive workers, and even, hold them accountable for their actions or inactions. Ideally, the college experience should be transformational—helping students become the best person they can be. With that said, failing to align teaching methods, curriculum, academic programs, and institutional services with the needs and expectations of students is a perilous path.

2. Create unexpected value. Incumbent institutions tend to focus on known problems (e.g., student attrition causation factors, poor service delivery, cumbersome processes, undersubscribed programs, insufficient class availability). True disruption seldom occurs in this space. Creating value where it did not exist before or was not expected spawns disruption. In the private sector, such intuitive value ideation is seen in Disney’s “Imagineering” the attractions in its theme parks, Apple’s invention of the iPhone, and Airbnb’s alternative to staying with the multitudes at expensive, disturbingly uniform hotel chains. This is what the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy characterize as swimming in the “blue ocean”, where there are few, if any, competitors (Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R., 2005). No disruptor is found in the “red ocean” crowded with similar competitors.

3. Avoid being average. If your school is one of the elite, well-known few, with highly selective admissions, it is not average. However, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not fit this profile. They have to find other ways to distinguish themselves. A capstone student experience, an innovative curriculum, guaranteed internship placement or study abroad, digital career portfolios, or a unique pricing model represent just a few examples. While it would be ideal to find something that makes your institution distinctive throughout the nation or the world, that is highly improbable. A more attainable goal is to position your institution uniquely among your direct competitors.

4. Identify the potential for expansion. As it relates to student enrollment growth, expansion opportunities are usually found within one or more of four domains: (1) thorough penetration of your existing primary market, where the institution and its academic programs have a strong presence, (2) the introduction of new programs into your primary market, (3) promotion of the institution and existing programs in a new market, and (4) diversification—new programs and new markets. Each domain has inherent risks and potential rewards. Risk levels are illustrated in Figure 1 and are described here.

Primary market penetration possesses the lowest risk, requires the least investment of resources, and has the fastest return on investment. Depending on an institution’s primary market, this domain also may produce only modest new enrollments. Option two, mounting new programs in an institution’s existing primary market has risks associated with conducting the proper market research to determine student and industry demand as well as market saturation. Another common risk relates to the degree to which new program offerings are adequately promoted. An obvious upside to this domain is that the institution already has visibility in the market. Taking the current program array to a new marketrequires the time and resources to develop a presence where none has previously existed. Sending recruiters to a new territory once or twice a year is woefully insufficient. Creating such visibility requires a sustained physical presence with area recruiters or alumni volunteers, targeted advertising, networking with schools and other organizations in the region, and strategic partnerships. Finally, diversification carries with it the highest level of risk because it involves assuming all the risks of launching new programs in a market with no prior visibility. If executed effectively, however, this domain can generate an abundance of new students.
market expansion risk

5. Disruption always comes at a cost. It is true that your institution may create a disruption by leveraging existing technologies and human capital. Yet, no organization can avoid the cultural and real costs associated with unlearning old ways, creating new programs and business models, scaling innovations, or marketing a new approach. These costs must be weighed judiciously against potential benefits of such a paradigm shift. Once a decision is made to pull the trigger, the change process must be managed carefully with the upfront inclusion of key stakeholders.

6. Equate disruption with innovation, not extinction. The rise of educational disruptors can be unsettling. If disruption is simply perceived as a threat to the way of life in the academy or ignored, the results will be devastating for many higher education institutions. Conversely, if disruption pushes college leaders and enrollment managers out of their comfort zone and they reinvent their institutions, the educational experience of students will be greatly enhanced. In a time of creative destruction, the winners are those who exert extraordinary efforts to go beyond traditional norms, which is not always the early adopters of a new educational model or practice.

7. Successful disruptors pursue four disciplines simultaneously. The four disciplines translated into the higher education lexicon include low costs, relational connections with students, program innovations, and rapid time-to-market. Of these, student connections is the only discipline college and universities excel at consistently. To thrive in a future with a seemingly infinite number of nimble disruptive innovators, educators must compete in the other three disciplines as well.

more about higher ed in this IMS blog

future of Internet

Can the Internet be saved?
In 2014 Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, proposed an online ‘Magna Carta’ to protect the Internet, as a neutral system, from government and corporate manipulation. He was responding after revelations that British and US spy agencies were carrying out mass surveillance programmes; the Cambridge Analytica scandal makes his proposal as relevant as ever.

Luciano Floridi, professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute, explains that grey power is not ordinary socio-political or military power. It is not the ability to directly influence others, but rather the power to influence those who influence power. To see grey power, you need only look at the hundreds of high-level instances of revolving-door staffing patterns between Google and European governmentsand the U.S. Department of State.

And then there is ‘surveillance capitalism’. Shoshana Zuboff, Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School, proposes that surveillance capitalism is ‘a new logic of accumulation’. The incredible evolution of computer processing power, complex algorithms and leaps in data storage capabilities combine to make surveillance capitalism possible. It is the process of accumulation by dispossession of the data that people produce.

The respected security technologist Bruce Schneier recently applied the insights of surveillance capitalism to the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook crisis.

For Schneier, ‘regulation is the only answer.’ He cites the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect next month, which stipulates that users must consent to what personal data can be saved and how it is used.

more on the Internet in this IMS blog

second IMS podcast on technology in education

Second IMS podcast on technology in education: Constructivism

Today’s vocast will be broadcasted live at:

Adobe Connect      |     Facebook Live   |       Twitter (#IMSvodcast) |

and will be archived at:

SCSU MediaSpaceYouTube   (subscribe for the channel for future conversations)

IMS vodcast technology in education

Posted by InforMedia Services on Thursday, February 22, 2018

Student-centered learning theory and practice are based on the constructivist learning theory that emphasizes the learner’s critical role in constructing meaning from new information and prior experience.

  • What is it?
  • Why do we have to know about it
  • Can we just disagree and stick to behaviorism?
  • Is it about student engagement?
  • Is it about the use of technology?
  • Resources
      Crompton, Muilenburg and Berge’s definition for m-learning is “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.”
    • The “context”in this definition encompasses m-learnng that is formalself-directed, and spontaneous learning, as well as learning that is context aware and context neutral.
    • therefore, m-learning can occur inside or outside the classroom, participating in a formal lesson on a mobile device; it can be self-directed, as a person determines his or her own approach to satisfy a learning goal; or spontaneous learning, as a person can use the devices to look up something that has just prompted an interest (Crompton, 2013, p. 83). (Gaming article Tallinn)Constructivist Learnings in the 1980s – Following Piage’s (1929), Brunner’s (1996) and Jonassen’s (1999) educational philosophies, constructivists proffer that knowledge acquisition develops through interactions with the environment. (p. 85). The computer was no longer a conduit for the presentation of information: it was a tool for the active manipulation of that information” (Naismith, Lonsdale, Vavoula, & Sharples, 2004, p. 12)Constructionist Learning in the 1980s – Constructionism differed from constructivism as Papert (1980) posited an additional component to constructivism: students learned best when they were actively involved in constructing social objects. The tutee position. Teaching the computer to perform tasks.Problem-Based learning in the 1990s – In the PBL, students often worked in small groups of five or six to pool knowledge and resources to solve problems. Launched the sociocultural revolution, focusing on learning in out of school contexts and the acquisition of knowledge through social interaction
    • Socio-Constructivist Learning in the 1990s. SCL believe that social and individual processes are independent in the co-construction of knowledge (Sullivan-Palinscar, 1998; Vygotsky, 1978).
    • 96-97). Keegan (2002) believed that e-learning was distance learning, which has been converted to e-learning through the use of technologies such as the WWW. Which electronic media and tools constituted e-learning: e.g., did it matter if the learning took place through a networked technology, or was it simply learning with an electronic device?
  • Discussion
    • Share with us practical examples of applying constructivist approach in your class
    • Would one hour workshop on turning existing class assignments into constructivist-based class assignments be of interest for you?


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

Lin Chun China expert

Chun, L. (2017). Discipline and power: knowledge of China in political science. Critical Asian Studies49(4), 501-522. doi:10.1080/14672715.2017.1362321

Lin Chun or ResearchGate:

p. 501 – is political science “softer” than the other soft social sciences?
thus…  political science “may never live up to its lofty ambition of scientific explanation and prediction. Indeed, like other social sciences, it can be no more than a ‘ science in formation’ permanently seeking to surmount obstacles to objectivity.”

p. 502 disciplinary parochialism
the fetishes of pure observation, raw experience, unambiguous rationality, and one-way causality were formative influences in the genesis of the social sciences. the ‘unfortunate positivism” of such impulses, along with the illusion of a value-free science, converged to produce a behavioral revolution in the interwar period Behaviorism was then followed through an epistemological twist, by boldly optimistic leaps to an “end of ideology” and ultimately to a claimed “end of history” itself.

p. 503
early positivism was openly underpinned by an European condescension toward Asians’ “ignorance and prejudice.” Behind similar depictions lay a comprehensive Eurocentric social and political philosophy.
this is illustrated its view of China through the grand narrative of modernization.

p. 504
Robert McNamara famously reiterated that if World War I was a chemist’s war and Word War II a physicist’s, Vietnam “might well have to be considered the social scientists’ war.”

Although China nominally remains a communist state, it has doubtlessly changed color without a color revolution.

p. 505
In the fixed disciplinary eye, “China” is to specific to produce anything generalizable beyond descriptive and self-containing narratives. The area studies approach, in contrast to disciplinary approaches, is all about cultural, historical, and ethnographic specificities.

If first-hand information contradicts theoretical conclusions, redress is sought only at the former end (my note – ha ha ha, such an elegant but scathing criticism of [Western] academia).

The catch [is] that Chinese otherness is in essence not a matter of cultural difference (hence limitations of criticizing Eurocentrism and Orientalism) and does not merely reproduce itself by inertia.
Given a long omitted self-critical rethinking of the discipline’s parochial base, calling for cross-fertilizing alone would be fruitless or even lead only to a one-way colonization of seemingly particularistic histories by an illusive universal science.

p. 506
political culture, once a key concept of political science’s hope for unified theorization, has turned out to be no answer
Long after its heyday, modernization theory – now with its new face of globalization – remains a primary signifier and legitimating benchmark. To those, who use it to gauge developments since 1945, private property and liberal democracy are permanent, unquestioned norms that are to be globally homogenized.
Moreover, since modernity is assumed to be a liberal capitalists condition, the revolutionary nationalism of an oppressed people remaking itself into a new historical subject noncompliant with capitalism cannot be modernizational.

p. 507
Political scientists and historical sociologists… saw the communist in power as formidable modernizers, but distinguished the Maoist model from the Stalinist in economic management and campaign politics.
Their analyses showed how organic connections between top-down mobilization and bottom-up participation cultivated in an active citizenry and high intensity politics. My note: I disagree here with the author, since such statement can be arbitrary from a historical point of view; indeed, for a short period of time, such “organic connection” can produce positive results, but once calcitrated (as it is in China for the past 6-7 decades), it turns stagnant.

p. 510
the state’s altered support base is essentially a matter of class power, involving both adaptive cultivation of new economic elites and iron-fist approaches to protest and dissent. By the same weight of historical logic, the party’s internal decay, loss of its founding ideological vision and commitment, and collusion with capital will do more than any outside force ever could do to destroy the regime.
That the Party stays in power is not primarily because the country’s economy continues to grow, but is more attributable to a residual social reliance on its credentials and organizational capacities accumulated in earlier revolutionary and socialist struggles. This historical promise has so far worked to the extent that cracks within the leadership are more or less held in check, resentment against local wrongs are insulated from central intentions, and social policies in one way or another respond to common outcries, consultative deliberations, and pressure groups.

p. 511
The word “madness” has indeed been freely employed to describe nations and societies judged inept at modern reason, as found in contemporary academic publications on epi- sodes of the PRC history.
My note: I agree with this – the deconstructionalists: (Jaques Derrida, Tzvetan Todorov) linguistically prove the inability of Western cultures to understand and explain other cultures. In this case, Lin Chun is right; just because western political scientist cannot comprehend foreign complex societal problems and/or juxtaposing them to their own “schemes,” prompts the same western researchers to announce them as “mad.”

p. 513aa
This is the best and worst of times for the globalization of knowledge. In one scenario, an eventual completion of the political science parameters can now seal both knowledge, sophisticatedly canalized, and ideology, universally uncontested – even if the two are never separable in the foundation of political science. In another scenario, causes and effects no longer rule out atypical polities, but the differences are presented as culturally incompatible. In either case, the trick remains to let anormalies make the norms validate preexist- ing disciplinary sanctions.

p. 514
Overcoming outmoded rigidities will nurture a robust scholarship committed to universally resonant theories.

more on China in this IMS blog

learning and educational technology

Modern​ ​Learning:​ ​Re-Discovering​ ​the Transformative​ ​Promise​ ​of Educational​ ​Technology

By​ ​Steve​ ​Hargadon​ ​(​@stevehargadon​) Survey​ ​and​ ​Report:​ ​​​​ ​|​

  • When do you believe technology enhances learning, and when do you believe
    it does not?
  • How has technology impacted your own learning?
  • Does your school, library, or organization have a specific learning philosophy that guides ed-tech purchases and implementation? If yes, what is that philosophy?
    More than 450 responses were received (those that agreed for their answers to be
    shared publicly can be seen at

For the purposes of this report, “educational technology” (often abbreviated as “ed tech”) is assumed to refer principally to the use of modern electronic computing and other high-tech, mostly Internet-enabled, devices and services in education.

Observation​ ​1​:​ ​There​ ​is​ ​general​ ​agreement​ ​that there​ ​are​ ​good​ ​and​ ​pedagogically-sound​ ​arguments  or​ ​the​ ​implementation​ ​and​ ​active​ ​use​ ​of​ ​ed​ ​tech; and​ ​that​ ​technology​ ​is​ ​changing,​ ​and​ ​will​ ​change, education​ ​for​ ​the​ ​better.

Observation​ ​2​:​ ​There​ ​is​ ​general​ ​agreement​ ​that technology​ ​is​ ​not​ ​always​ ​beneficial​ ​to​ ​teaching​ ​and learning.

When it becomes a distraction.
● When there is little or no preparation for it.
● When just used for testing / score tracking.
● When used for consuming and not creating, or just for rote learning.
● When “following the education trends: everyone else is doing it.”
● When the tech is “an end rather than means” (also stated as, ”when I don’t have a plan or learning goal…”). We found this very significant, and it is the focus of Observation 6.
● When there is a lack of guidance in how to effectively use new ed tech tools (“when there is no PD”). This is the focus of Observation 4.
● Finally, when it “gets in the way of real time talk / sharing.” Forgetting that the tech “cannot mentor, motivate, show beauty, interact fully, give quality attention, [or] contextualize.” Also: ”outcomes related to acquiring the skills and attitudes cannot be enhanced by technology.” As mentioned in the introduction, this would be missing the “human factor.” One respondent
captured this as follows: “3 reasons tech innovation fails: Misunderstanding Human Motivation, Human Learning, or Human Systems.”

Observation​ ​3​:​ ​The​ ​benefits​ ​of​ ​ed​ ​tech​ ​to​ ​educator learning​ ​are​ ​described​ ​much​ ​more​ ​positively,​ ​and much​ ​less​ ​ambiguously,​ ​than​ ​are​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​to student​ ​learning.

  • reduced their isolation by helping them to connect with their peers;
    ● allowed them to feel part of larger educational movements;
    ● afforded them opportunities to become contributors.

Observation​ ​4​:​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​good​ ​professional development​ ​for​ ​educational​ ​technology.

Observation​ ​5​:​ ​Educational​ ​technology​ ​is​ ​prone​ ​to grandiose​ ​promises.

Observation​ ​6​:​ ​Some​ ​significant​ ​percentage​ ​of educational​ ​technology​ ​purchases​ ​do​ ​not​ ​appear​ ​to have​ ​a​ ​pedagogical​ ​basis.


Networked information technology has rendered the words “teacher” and “student” more ambiguous. YouTube tutorials and social-media discussions, just to cite a couple of obvious examples, have made it abundantly clear that at any given moment anyone—regardless of age or background—can be a learner or a teacher, or even both at once.

more on educational technology in this IMS blog

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