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UMFK to offer honors seminar conference

December 12, 2003

NR03194

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will host an honors seminar conference entitled "Technology-Its Rhetoric, Narcissism, and Social Narcosis ".

The first session of the conference, being chaired by Vladimir Suchan, professor of political science and public safety, was held on December 15th on the UMFK campus. The second session will be held in the Grindle Conference room in Cyr Hall on the UMFK campus December 18 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon.

Research papers are being presented by ten students in Suchan's sixteen week Honors philosophy of technology course which began in September.

"Technology has become the dominating form of social practice, organization, and control," said Suchan. "It is a source as well as a tool for producing an unprecedented mass of wealth and power. Control over technology becomes control over both human and non-human nature. Yet, despite this tremendous importance of technology, the ethical, political, social, cultural, and philosophical questions of technology are discussed relatively little."

The purpose of the course was to tap into those deeper human questions and to charter possible answers by studying some of the texts available including The Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Man a Machine by La Mettrie, which also offer most challenging and stimulating accounts about the nature of technology.

Among the questions explored during the course were: "Is technology essentially connected to our drive for power?" "Do we have a choice about technological progress and its practices?" " Whence did technology come and where is it taking us?"

And as a way of approaching the host of critical issues, the course introduced students to the nature of philosophical inquiry understood as "critical self-discovery and a reflective struggle with inherited orientations."

Among the students presenting their research papers are Jesse Burdge, a freshman from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania; Stephen Dean, a sophomore from Milo, Maine; Clinton King, a senior from Jay, Maine; Blake Lagasse, a freshman from Caribou, Maine; Priyanka Pisharoti, a junior from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Also presenting research papers are Sarah Smith, a senior from Fort Kent Mills; Martin Voigt, a freshman from New Gloucester, Maine; Catherine Whitsel a sophomore and Michelle Richardson, a senior both from Eagle Lake; and Scott Wright of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Honors Seminar Conference is open to the public. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Suchan at 834-6018.