Man and Machine: The Relationship between Humans and Technology in Philosophy and the Arts

full name / name of organization: 
Marja Harmanmaa / International Society for the Study of European Ideas

THE 13th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ISSEI (International Society for the Study of European Ideas), July 2 – 6, 2012, University of Cyprus, Cyprus


From Greek mythology to today's cultural theorists the impact of technology on humankind has been of great interest. Attitudes towards progress, exemplified by technology, have varied, and still do, between fear of the change that it inevitably brings, and an all-embracing enthusiasm due to the vast potential attributed to the "machine".

Technology has been seen as a "Moloch" that would enslave men (Friz Lang, "Metropolis"), or as a means of increasing man's power and making him master of the universe (especially during the Enlightenment). According to Herbert Marcuse, technology, intended as a "social process", interfered in social relationships by weakening individuality, and generating nonhuman values. Haraway sees it differently. For her, the machine is an essential part of humans, transformed into cyborgs that challenge the established politics of gender identities.

This multidisciplinary workshop invites papers dealing with the representation of technology — the most concrete evidence of science and progress — in philosophy and the arts in all historical periods. Suitable topics might be related to modernity in general, technology as a means of power, or the machine as a monster; addressing questions of how technology is or has been seen to change humans is particularly welcome.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an approximately 300-word abstract and your CV to chair Marja Härmänmaa, e-mail address

Dr. Marja Härmänmaa
University Lecturer in Italian
University of Helsinki