Thursday, February 14, 2013

Steve Fuller & Isaac Asimov / What is Humanism?

My answers to the questions posed for this weeks talk by Professor Steve Fuller:

1.Why does Professor Fuller say (almost as a joke) that education is ‘a dying art’?

I think the answer to this question might lie in him referring to disciplin and the top down idea of education. The more knowledge is available on the net for free the less power old institutions have to enforce a certain goal. They also aren't able anymore to decide who deserves to be educated and transformed to be 'human'.

2.He talks about the ‘modern artifice’ of enhancement: how might this notion of becoming more ‘fully human’ via enhancement impact on the project of education?

If humans and especially their brains can be enhanced old elites are in danger of loosing their right of existence, although this might be argued, because probably the rich will be more able to pay for these enhancements. Equality always seems to cause fear of losing your identity and order, even people who could profit from a change of a situation often prefer no change.
Also imagine teachers and pupils being equally able and maybe just separated by how much time they put into their studies. This would definitely mean: learning together and old hierarchies breaking down.

3. Professor Fuller argues that there’s historical precedent for considering only some homo sapiens to be ‘human’: what are the political implications of this in contemporary times? And how might such a notion position education?

For an answer to this please go and read Seth Godin's post: Those People

4. He suggests that we are questioning the very existence of the ‘human’ because we have failed in the humanist project (for example, we are far from achieving racial, gender or class equality): do you believe this?

I hope we haven't failed it and we are just not there yet...

5.In claiming that ‘the old humanistic project should not be dropped’, Professor Fuller links his talk to our key theme of re-asserting the human. His stance seems to be that ‘you can only be morally credible’ if you are addressing issues of human freedom and equality. Thinking about education specifically, might we see MOOCs as an example of an ‘old humanistic project’, particularly in the promise they appear to offer for democratisation, equality of access and so on?

If we don't mess it up ( and there are some possibilities) I would say: Yes!

Humanity 2.0: defining humanity - Steve Fuller’s TEDx Warwick talk 

Come on...Listen to Isaac Asimov! How could we ever drop such a project?

Humanism: Making Bigger Circles with Isaac Asimov

Humanism: Making Bigger Circles with Isaac Asimov from American Humanist Association on Vimeo.

Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests.

Among the best-known Humanists are:
Isaac Asimov
Margaret Atwood
Arthur C. Clarke
Albert Einstein
Jean-Paul Sartre
Terry Pratchett
Gene Roddenberry
Carl Sagan
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Peter Ustinov
Kurt Vonnegut
Joss Whedon
Richard Dawkins
A. C. Grayling
Henry Morgentaler
Jonas E. Salk
Gore Vidal
Piers Anthony
Rod Serling
Steve Allen
Jane Asher
Oliver Stone
B. F. Skinner
R. Buckminster Fuller

 "Humanism, in all its simplicity, is the only genuine spirituality."


I just saw another excellent interview that @hopkinsdavid posted on his blog
and I will add it here too:

The Future of Education with Isaac Asimov, 1988 

#edcmooc, #Humanism, #IsaacAsimov, #Steve Fuller, #talks, #documentary  #LifeLongLearning

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