Søren Riis, associate professor of philosophy at Roskilde University in Denmark, will deliver Gonzaga University’s Rukavina Lecture in Philosophy at 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Jundt Art Museum, Room 110. His lecture, titled “The End of Technology and the Task of Nature,” is free and open to the public.
Riis, who holds a Ph.D. from Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany, has developed a philosophical research focus on technologies, how they co-shape society and the way we humans think. He has co-authored and co-edited “New Waves in Philosophy of Technology” (2008). Recently he published a critical examination and interpretation of German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s (1889–1976) understanding of technology. Heidegger’s ideas have had a major influence on the development of contemporary European philosophy.
Heidegger died prior to the cloning of the sheep Dolly and before genetic entrepreneur Craig Venter started his experiments on creating synthetic life, and Heidegger never explicitly discussed living technologies. However, by reinterpreting Heidegger’s notion of “modern technology,” Riis will discuss how it is possible to philosophically assess living technologies and to recognize ways in which Heidegger anticipates this phenomenon with his notion of cybernetics. Riis will discuss how living technology is not just one more technology but rather the perfection of technology as understood by Aristotle.
The Rukavina Lecture Series is named for Gonzaga philosophy Professor Emeritus Thomas F. Rukavina who came to Gonzaga in 1958 as the only lay professor of philosophy and retired from teaching in 1999.