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The Eighth CSO Workshop: Towards Post-human Society?

The eighth annual Centre for Social Ontology workshop will take place at the Grenoble Ecole de Management from January 7th to January 10th, 2019. It will be followed by an open seminar on Friday the 11th of January, in room C241, from 9am to 5pm. The seminar is convened by Prof. Ismael Al-Amoudi (GEM, social and organisational studies) and will feature professors Margaret Archer (Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, social theory), Pierpaolo Donati (Bologna, sociology), Jamie Morgan (Leeds-Beckett, philosophy and economics), Doug Porpora (Drexel, media studies) and Colin Wight (Sydney, international relations).

The open seminar will feature a morning roundtable session regarding the CSO’s current project on post-human society, followed by an afternoon general discussion around the question ‘Towards post-human society?’ to generate informed dialogue with attendees. Finally, between 3pm and 5pm, the five guest speakers will be available for individual 30 minutes discussions. Do not hesitate to discuss with them either a research project of yours for which you would like their input, or questions you may have about their own research, about realist approaches to social science, etc.

Those interested in attending can register here. Given that places are limited to a maximum of 35 participants, please register early. Please use the first sheet of the Google Doc to register for the open seminar, and the second page to register for the individual sessions should you wish to do so.

Programme:

09.00 WELCOME + presentation of the CSO and its two projects to date (Prof. Al-Amoudi)
09.30 Discussion
10.00 COFFEE BREAK
10.15 Roundtable: Towards post-human society? (Profs Archer, Donati, Morgan, Porpora and Wight)
12.15 LUNCH
13.30 General discussion: Towards post-human society?
15.00 END OF PLENARY, START OF INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
15.00-15.30 Afternoon individual meetings #1 (Boxes 102; 103; 104; 110; 111; 112)
15.45-16.15 Afternoon individual meetings #2 (Boxes 102; 103; 104; 110; 111; 112)
16.30-17.00 Afternoon individual meetings #3 (Boxes 102; 103; 104; 110; 111; 112)
17.00 END OF AFTERNOON INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS

Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina

This volume is the first of a trilogy which investigates, from a broadly realist perspective, the place, and challenges, of the human in contemporary social orders. The authors, all members of the Centre for Social Ontology, ask what is specific about humanity’s nature and worth, and what are their main challenges in contemporary societies?

Examining the ways in which recent advances in technology threaten to blur and displace the boundaries constitutive of our shared humanity, Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina explores the philosophical and ethical questions raised by these developments, and discusses the dangers posed by the combination of transhumanism with post-humanist social theories and antihumanist practices, institutions and ideologies.

Find out more on the publisher’s website here.

The Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize for 2017

We are delighted that our book Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing was awarded the Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize for 2017. This is what the prize committee said about the book:

This is an edited collection on the nature of morphogenic society, the ethics of flourishing, and the relationship between social change and ethics. It is a rich dialogue which can stimulate further debate about flourishing under modern social conditions. While there is some unevenness in the 13 chapters, the book is worthy of the Cheryl Frank prize for how it pulls together and focuses a strong group of critical realists writing about ethical issues. Its approach differs from other critical realist work in the field by Christian Smith and Andrew Sayer. It is the final volume in a series of five that includes volumes on social morphogenesis, late modernity, generative mechanisms, and the crisis of normativity. Recognised as the culmination of this broader achievement, Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing is nonetheless judged on its own merits for the prize.

Find out more about the book here.. It was the final volume in our Social Morphogenesis series.

The Seventh CSO Workshop

The seventh annual Centre for Social Ontology workshop took place  at the University of Tromsø from January 9th to January 11th. It was followed by a workshop with colleagues from UiT Tromsø which can be viewed online here.

Doug Porpora, ‘What the Media are Saying’
Pierpaolo Donati, ‘ Human Enhancement and the Technological Matrices: the Hybridization of Identities, Social Relations and Organizations.
Mark Carrigan, The Human Ghost in the Machine that Learns
Margaret Archer, Considering AI Personhood
Andrea Maccarini, Transhuman social forms, cognitive advantages, post-human Sociability and feedback mechanisms.
Emmanuel Lazega, Fire and Forget Swarms; A.I. and the new wave of militarily driven Bureaucratization of Society.
Ismael Al-Amoudi, Public Policy, Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Problems

The Social Morphogenesis Book Launch

Postmodernity. Second modernity. Network Society. Late modernity. Liquid modernity. Such concepts have dominated social thought in recent decades, with a bewildering array of claims about social change and its implications. But what do we mean by ‘social change’? How do we establish that such change is taking place? What does it mean to say that it is intensifying? These are some of the questions which the Social Morphogenesis project has sought to answer in the last five years, through an inquiry orientated around the speculative notion of ‘morphogenic society’.

In our book launch on May 30th 2017 at the British Library, contributors to the project gathered in order to reflect on their contributions and the project as a whole. Here are podcasts from the talks on the day:

You can see live tweets from the event here.

Find out more about the book series: http://www.springer.com/series/11959

Social Morphogenesis: Five Years of Inquiring Into Social Change

Postmodernity. Second modernity. Network Society. Late modernity. Liquid modernity. Such concepts have dominated social thought in recent decades, with a bewildering array of claims about social change and its implications. But what do we mean by ‘social change’? How do we establish that such change is taking place? What does it mean to say that it is intensifying? These are some of the questions which the Social Morphogenesis project has sought to answer in the last five years, through an inquiry orientated around the speculative notion of ‘morphogenic society’.

In this launch event, contributors to the project discuss their work over the last five years and the questions it gas addressed concerning social change. The day begins with an introductory lecture by the convenor of the project, Margaret S. Archer, before a series of thematic panels presenting different stands of the project. It concludes with a closing session in which participants share three issues the project raised for them, as well as a general discussion.

At the end of the day, there will be a wine reception to which all participants are invited. There will also be an opportunity to purchase discounted copies of the books from Springer.

Book here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/social-morphogenesis-five-years-of-inquiring-into-social-change-tickets-33813890256

Participants:
Ismael Al-Amoudi
Margaret S. Archer
Mark Carrigan
Pierpaolo Donati
Emmanuel Lazega
Andrea M. Maccarini
Jamie Morgan
Graham Scambler (Chair)

More speakers to be confirmed.

The Social Morphogenesis project was funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation through six years of support for the Centre for Social Ontology. This support was generously extended to enable this book launch.

Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing

contentThis book, the last volume in the Social Morphogenesis series, examines whether or not a Morphogenic society can foster new modes of human relations that could exercise a form of ‘relational steering’, protecting and promoting a nuanced version of the good life for all. It analyses the way in which the intensification of morphogenesis and the diminishing of morphostasis impact upon human flourishing. The book links intensified morphogenesis to promoting human flourishing based on the assumption that new opportunities open up novel experiences, skills, and modes of communication that appeal to talents previously lacking any outlet or recognition. It proposes that equality of opportunity would increase as ascribed characteristics diminished in importance, and it could be maintained as the notion of achievement continued to diversify. Digitalization has opened the cultural ‘archive’ for more to explore and, as it expands exponentially, so do new complementary compatibilities whose development foster yet further opportunities. If more people can do more of what they do best, these represent stepping stones towards the ‘good life’ for more of them.

Table of contents

Introduction: Has a Morphogenic Society Arrived? – Margaret Archer

Human Flourishing and Human Morphogenesis: A Critical Realist Interpretation and Critique – Philip S. Gorski

Some Reservations About Flourishing – Douglas Porpora

Reflexivity in a Just Morphogenic Society: A Sociological Contribution to Political Philosophy – Ismael Al-Amoudi

The Morphogenic Society as Source and Challenge for Human Fulfillment

Does Intensive Morphogenesis Foster Human Capacities or Liabilities? – Margaret Archer

What Does a ‘Good Life’ Mean in a Morphogenic Society? The Viewpoint of Relational Sociology

Flourishing or Fragmenting Amidst Variety: And the Digitalization of the Archive – Mark Carrigan

Corporations, Taxation and Responsibility: Practical and Onto-Analytical Issues for Morphogensis and Eudaimonia – A posse ad esse? – Jamie Morgan and William Sun

Networks and Commons: Bureaucracy, Collegiality and Organizational Morphogenesis in the Struggles to Shape Collective Responsibility in New Sharing Institutions – Emmanuel Lazega

Eudaimonic Bubbles, Social Change and the NHS – Tony Lawson

The Will to Be: Human Flourishing and the Good International Society – Colin Wight

Creating Common Good: The Global Sustainable Information Society as the Good Society – Wolfgang Hofkirchner

Celebration of critical realism at UCL

All are welcome to this special celebration of Critical Realism (CR) and the works of its originator, Professor Roy Bhaskar. The event will see the launch of new books on the subject and an introduction to a new member of the UCL community. Chairing the proceedings will be Hilary Wainwright, the sociologist, political activist and socialist feminist, best known for being editor of Red Pepper magazine.

The afternoon will begin with a welcome to Professor Margaret Archer, who is joining UCL, by Professor David Voas, Head of the Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education and Professor Priscilla Alderson, UCL Institute of Education.

Registration and more details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebration-of-critical-realism-at-ucl-tickets-31540549633

The Sixth CSO Workshop: Humanism Under Threat

The sixth annual Centre for Social Ontology workshop took place from the 3rd to 6th January 2017 in central London. The papers will be published as the first in a new volume of books, with full details to be confirmed soon.

Maggie Archer:  Bodies, Persons and Transhumans: Why do these Distinctions Matter?

Doug Porpora: Vulcans, Klingdoms, and Humans: What does Humanism Encompass?

Phil Gorski: The Meta-ethics of Transhumanism. Does the ethics of human flourishing provide sufficient leverage to critique radical Transhumanism?

John Latsis: Needs, Wants and the ethics of human enhancement

Pierpaolo Donati: Transcending the Human: Why, Where and How?

Emmanuel Lazega: Transhumanist Interventions: A formula for a divided social order?

Mark Carrigan: The Evisceration of the Human in the Digital Social Sciences

Colin Wight: Death, Dreams and Destruction: the illusions of Posthumanist Warfare.

Jamie Morgan:  A.I. and the failure adequately to define the Human

Ismael Al-Amoudi: Dehumanisation and organisation studies

Wolfgang Hofkirchner: Imagined Futures gone astray; An ontological analysis