Author Archives: Udo Pesch

What kind of science is afforded by technology?

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze tekst] To a certain extent, science can be seen as the application of technology that helps to arrive at new knowledge. First of all, scientists use instruments to experiment with and to … Continue reading

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The language of the voiceless: Some questions about ecological ethics

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] We humans are not who we thought we were, not nearly as rational, special and intentional as we imagined ourselves to be. Instead, we are intrinsically connected with all the life … Continue reading

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Social change and moral values: A modest research program to change the world

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] In order to bring about desirable social change, it is necessary to know what is morally desirable and what is social change. Unfortunately, ethics and social sciences fall short here: ethics … Continue reading

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The Myths of the Nation-State

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Commentaries on geopolitical developments often seem to start from a classical understanding of the nation-state, which is based on the convergence of central government, the idea of cultural-social unity and a … Continue reading

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Responsibility in a complex world

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Responsibility has many facets, and it is typical of our current moral system that those facets interact so that people can be held responsible for their individual choices. This makes it … Continue reading

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Green shame

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] There’s an increasing amount of talk about ‘green shame’: the negative emotion you experience when you make choices that are not environmentally friendly. Wouldn’t it be sensible to stimulate this emotion … Continue reading

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The stories we tell ourselves

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Stories are omnipresent. Our lives present themselves to us in the shape of a narrative, in which we are the hero and which guide us in our actions. Not only do … Continue reading

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The problem of polarization: the sense and nonsense of debates about new technology

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] In debates about new technologies, one camp usually entertains unrealistic expectations of the benefits, while an opposed camp comes emphasizes the dangers that are just as unrealistic. This gives rise to … Continue reading

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Climate Change, Covid-19, and the Apocalypse

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] All too often, the climate problem is presented in apocalyptic terms. That is unjustified, because we have long been dealing with the ecological and social effects of climate change. Moreover, such … Continue reading

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The idealistic fallacy of the autonomous self

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] As a counterpart to the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ you could speak of the ‘idealistic fallacy’, which − strangely enough – seems not have been introduced yet in ethics. This fallacy boils down … Continue reading

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The corona crisis as the big degrowth experiment

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Until recently, the deliberate shrinking of the economy seemed only an unrealistic hypothesis. However, the corona crisis offers opportunities to take concrete steps towards such a ‘degrowth’ economy. However, the idea … Continue reading

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The moral charge of made institutions

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] The free market, representative democracy and modern science can be seen as institutions that were once designed to guard important moral conditions. The individuals who function within those institutions are forced … Continue reading

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The value of values: What ethics can learn from the corona crisis

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] The corona crisis has led to a recalibration of the major social values in most countries. These values were traded off and subsequently action has been taken. In principle, ethics would … Continue reading

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Some chattering about the public debate on social media

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Isn’t it the case that the public debate has shifted from conventional media to social media – from paper to digital. After all, everyone can make themselves heard on the internet. … Continue reading

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Issues in the relationship between science and politics

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] What political controversies such as the ones involving climate change, vaccination or nitrogen deposition show is that knowledge issues within a political context are not about what valid knowledge is, but … Continue reading

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Making things and discourses. An answer to the question: What is philosophy?

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] For a long time I had to think about what philosophy actually is as a field of study. I know the familiar definitions, but those are just salespitches. They do not … Continue reading

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The eternal Golden Age: The discursive corruption of the Dutch self-image

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] The Netherlands is often seen as a very tolerant country, where the right to individual self-determination comes first. The roots of Dutch tolerance and the desire for freedom are believed to … Continue reading

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A new way for the political left: Towards a wiser and richer society?

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Given today’s problems, you could expect left-progressive parties to be successful, because they focus on today’s major political issues: justice and sustainability. But they have no success at all. Perhaps because … Continue reading

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The amorality of organizations

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] Organizations are an inseparable part of our social life. Yet they are strange, as they do not fit into the moral system that has been developed since the Enlightenment. In that … Continue reading

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Causes versus understandings: Why self-driving cars may not be a good idea

[Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze post] To explain human behavior you can start from causes, such as our evolutionary instincts, learned reflexes or statistical regularities. However as we our actions are also informed by the way we … Continue reading

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