Being Human and Being Technical: Reflecting on Contemporary Technology was the theme of the First Annual Adamson-Ateneo de Manila Philosophical Colloquium held at the Escaler Hall of Ateneo de Manila University last September 11 and was participated in by students, researchers, and professors from various universities in Metro Manila.
Fr. Gregg Bañaga, Jr., C.M., President of Adamson University, welcomed the delegates through a video presentation. Dr. Agustin Rodriguez, chairperson of the Ateneo’s Philosophy Department, then introduced the colloquium’s theme via a commemoration of the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, and elucidated technology’s innovations and effects, especially on the marginalized.
In the plenary session, Dr. Remmon Barbaza from Ateneo spearheaded the first discussion about Technology and Human Dwelling, using the perspective of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger with an allusion to Water ethics. He was followed by Prof. Alvin Tan from Adamson who presented a paper entitled An Ethical Critique of the Politics of Technology, which revolved around the nature, neutrality, and ambivalence of technology.
Succeeding the plenary was a two-part discussion held at the Escaler and Ching Tan halls simultaneously. The first part of the discussions began with the research presentation by AdU Prof. Raniel Reyes about Cybersex and Human Sexuality using Marshal Mcluhan and Karol Wojtyla’s philosophies as his interlocutors. The serious atmosphere of the crowd shifted when Reyes illustrated an example of a cybersex encounter, before becoming alarmed about the debilitating effects of cybersex on human society. Reyes was followed by Ateneo professors Jacqueline Jacinto and Rowena Azada-Palacios who presented their discussions on Remediating Identity in the Web and Social Networking in Cyberspace, respectively.
The second part of the discussion followed the order of presentation of the first one, with Prof. Crisanto Regadio (AdU) making his presentation on Searching for the Grassroots Ethical Values on Environmentalism in the Philippines, tracing the theorization of environmentalism in the Philippines, with an integral thrust to the dominance of Western capitalist discourse. Ateneo professors Charlene Tan and Eileen Tupaz then followed, presenting their papers entitled Human Scale Technology (Tan) and Logos and Mythos: The Asymmetry Between the Technological and Historical Imaginations (Tupaz). A question-and-answer exchange was conducted after each concurrent discussion.
The colloquium ended by equipping the participants not only with profound contemporary philosophical reflections but also with a sheer sense of awareness on what technology can really do in shaping and determining our human condition, making the event an enriching experience. It also opens the possibility that philosophical conferences should not be solely confined to the walls of higher educational institutions but also become a useful avenue for participative and fruitful discourses with teachers and students of different schools to establish philosophical friendships. Prof. Raniel SM. Reyes