Call for Abstracts

ESDIT2022 Conference 6-7 October


Deadline for submission: 22 May 2022

Please submit your abstract for this conference via EasyChair

This conference comprises 13 tracks. The full track descriptions can be found at the bottom of the page.

  • Track 1: Ethics of human-like robots

    Track 1: Ethics of human-like robots (rights, moral considerations)

    Track chairs: Sven Nyholm (, and Cindy Friedman (

    The humanoid robots track aims to explore how humanoid robots may challenge, change, or disrupt concepts and aspects we typically associate with what it means to be human. Robots that look and behave like human beings are already being designed and created for a variety of purposes. As these robots are becoming increasingly more human-like, their “humanlikeness” may (re)shape our ideas of our own humanity. The questions this track will explore include: Will humanoid robots impact who we regard as agents and patients in the moral domain? Will this affect the way in which human beings interact with their social and material environment? Is the creation of humanoid robots a good or inherently bad idea?

  • Track 2: Fundamental issues in AI

    Track 2: Fundamental issues in AI ( Agency of AI, human-AI hybrids, intellectural history and evolution of the concept of AI, etc.)

    Track chairs: Kristy Claassen (, and Sven Nyholm (

    The purpose of this track is to reflect on how we should understand the idea of artificial intelligence. This concept keeps evolving. There are narrow and broad conceptions of what artificial intelligence is, and realistic and science fiction-inspired conceptions of what it can become. The term “artificial intelligence” was coined in a research proposal in 1955, but the idea of creating technologies that are intelligent or that can imitate intelligence goes back much further. It has also long been the stuff of fiction, such as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from 1818. Track presenters are encouraged to reflect critically on what we should understand by “artificial intelligence”, with an eye to the past and the present, as well as with an eye to what the future of AI should be.

  • Track 3: Technology and changing self-understanding

    Track 3: Technology and changing self-understanding

    Track chair: Matthew Dennis (

    The ESDiT self-understanding track will explore the capacity of socially disruptive technologies (SDTs) to improve how we understand the human condition. Recently, a host of technologies have been developed that claim to increase self-understanding in key ways. These technologies include those that provide insights into how our bodies function (fitness trackers), those that shed light on our psychological states (therapy chatbots, self-care apps), and technologies that show how our individual behaviours can be reliably predicted with the help of vast data sets (artificial intelligence, machine learning). This track aims to examine the ethical issues of using technologies to increase self-understanding, and will ask whether this results in living a more satisfying life.

  • Track 4: Democracy and technology

    Track 4: Democracy and technology

    Track chair: Gulzaar Barn (

    How have advancements in technology shaped democratic systems on a civil, corporate, national, and supranational level? Is there a sense in which democratic procedure relating to free and fair elections could be enhanced by the deployment of certain technologies, such as blockchain, through its security features? Do technology companies wield a level of power that is at odds with democracy, properly conceived? What impact is the data economy having on citizens’ lives? This track seeks to explore the various ways in which our democratic culture is being influenced by technological developments, and what if, anything, is wrong with this, as well as proposals on what could be done to mitigate harm. Further, as a result of fundamental technological disruption in democratic societies, should we revise our philosophical models of democracy?

  • Track 5: Social Justice and technology

    Track 5: Social Justice and technology

    Track chair: Patrik Hummel (

    Novel, state-of-the-art technologies are often framed as interacting with justice: they can cause, perpetuate, or amplify injustice within and across various domains. Under the right conditions, they could also promote rather than undercut justice, for example by correcting for human cognitive biases. Throughout, the impact of technology could shift the ways in which we think about justice in the first place. There are still gaps in our understanding of the interaction between technologies and justice, their conceptual foundations, and applied strategies for shaping relevant process in society, technology design, and governance. The “Social Justice and Technology” will investigate these questions and related issues.

  • Track 6: Control and technology

    Track 6: Control and technology

    Track chair: Emily Sullivan (

    How does technology shape control? Perhaps technology leads us to reimagine the very concept of control. Or maybe technology expands what we have control over. Perhaps some technologies take control away from individuals or society. When is a change in control an improvement? When is it problematic? How might non-Western conceptions of control impact technology development or diagnose problematic cases of control? This track addresses these issues and more. This track will consider the concept of control facing a wide variety of technologies and domain applications that, for example, range from the concept of control regarding environmental technologies to the control of information on social media. 

  • Track 7: The conceptual disruption of nature by (SDTs)

    Track 7: The conceptual disruption of nature by Socially Disruptive Technologies (SDTs)

    Track chairs: Jochem Zwier (, and Vincent Blok (

    In this track, we critically reflect on the question how Socially Disruptive Technologies (SDTs) disrupt our conceptualizations of and basic assumptions about nature. Current developments in synthetic biology and the increasing interest in geoengineering technologies, for instance, challenge conceptual dichotomies between nature and technology, natural and artificial, organism and artefact, the natural and the human realm. It is however unclear: what does such a disruption mean; what is precisely disrupted, and what triggers disruption? We invite papers to reflect on these questions in the context of SDTs that are assumed to disrupt the concepts of nature. 

  • Track 8: The technical mimesis of nature

    Track 8: The technical mimesis of nature (e.g. biomimicry, synthetic biology, Digital Twins)

    Track chairs: Paulan Korenhof (, and Vincent Blok (

    With nature as a hot-topic on the contemporary political and existential agenda, nature is playing an increasingly prominent role in emergent technology design. Many of these emergent technologies imitate nature in one way or the other in order to deal with contemporary sustainability challenges. Prominent examples of emergent nature-mimicking technologies are biomimetic technologies, synthetic biology, and Digital Twins. As the artificial intends to imitate the natural, this raises several questions: what is the relation between these two? What assumptions about nature and technology underpin this relation? And what are the transformative consequences for the technology, nature, and the human understanding of both? In this track we will critically explore the relation between nature and technology in technologies that imitate nature.

  • Track 9: The role of SDTs in Climate change and Climate recovery

    Track 9: The role of Socially Disruptive Technologies (SDTs) in Climate change and Climate recovery

    Track chairs: Dominic Lenzi (, and Vincent Blok (

    Socially Disruptive Technologies (SDTs) are often put forward as enablers of the transition toward a more Sustainable Society, including energy and climate engineering technologies. However, the implementation of these technologies can have destructive side effects elsewhere on the planet, or impose additional injustice. Similarly but less discussed, SDTs like AI, robotics and digital twins raise concerns with environmentally destructive side effects. What explains the generally destructive side effects of technological progress? How have sustainable SDTs been conceptualized as solutions, and how might they actually contribute to climate recovery?

  • Track 10: Criteria for Conceptual Engineering

    Track 10: Criteria for Conceptual Engineering

    Track chairs: Guido Löhr (, and Michael Klenk (

    Several authors in psychology and philosophy have recently asked the following question: When is it permissible to disrupt a conceptual status quo, either by linguistic interventions (intentionally change the meaning or use of words) or by introducing a new technology? The aim of this track is to find answers to this question.

  • Track 11: Moral Change and Technology

    Track 11: Moral Change and Technology

    Track chair: Elizabeth O’Neill (

    What is the relationship between technologies and moral change? By what mechanisms can technologies alter moral norms, values, concepts, practices, roles, relationships, emotions, and other elements of moral life? When do technologies hinder moral change, and when do they facilitate it?

    Moral change can occur at multiple levels, ranging from the level of psychological faculties to the level of societies. Philosophers have recently paid special attention to the phenomenon of moral revolutions, as a distinctive form of society-level moral change. Other important forms of society-level moral change include moral reform and moral drift (Baker, R. 2019. The structure of moral revolutions. MIT Press). What roles can technologies play in these or other types of society-level moral change? How can technologies hinder or facilitate moral change at the level of the individual—what roles can technologies play in moral learning and development over the course of the lifetime?

    Any moral change will be the result of a complex process involving many types of causes. Are there recurring patterns of interaction between technology and other causal factors, such as human agency and economic, political, or social phenomena? For this track we welcome submissions on the relationship between technologies and moral change, including historical or contemporary case studies.

  • Track 12: New approaches in Ethics of Technology

    Track 12: New approaches in Ethics of Technology

    Track chairs: Björn Lundgren (, and Philip Brey (

    The aim of this track is to present and discuss research on methods of ethics of technology. Specifically, we aim to explore new methods, or approaches, in ethics of technology that can shed light on both old and new ethical problems of technology. We are also interested in meta-methodological discussions about justification or limitations of various methods in ethics of technology.

  • Track 13: At the Intersection of ethics and STEM

    Track 13: At the Intersection of ethics and STEM

    Track chairs: Wijnand IJsselsteijn (, and Matthew Dennis (

    The ESDiT ‘At the Intersection of Ethics and STEM’ track will investigate the connection between the ethics of  and STEM perspectives. Since this is a new ESDiT track, we will begin the session by introducing our research aims and methods, as well as hosting an open discussion on future STEM track activities. We welcome contributions exploring how links between philosophy and the empirical disciplines can be strengthened, especially if these synergies inform the real-world design, deployment, and regulation of socially disruptive technologies. Potential topics include interdisciplinarity, x-phi and empirical philosophy, ethnographic research, ethics/green-washing, knowledge utilisation, and public-private partnerships.