Blog 4

For this blog post, I watched “Arkangel”, from the Netflix series, Black Mirror. 

In this episode, a mother got a “chip” inserted into her child which allowed her to track her by GPS, view the world from her eyes, and “filter” out things that she did not want her child to see. The mother had a tablet in which she could control all of these features. Things seemed to work out in her favor as she could protect her daughter, until around age 10. The daughter became curious as to what she could not see, because of the “filter” being on. When the mother decided it was time to turn off the filter and pack away her tablet, that is when the daughter felt free. She became more open to the real world and was exposed to “bad” things for the first time. As years went on, she became a teenager, and as we all know, that is when we become more exposed to things that mothers wish they could know about. Long story short, and in my attempt to not “spoil” the episode, her mother began surveillancing her daughter again, without her knowing. She saw things that she wished she didn’t, and decided to be the overprotective mother that she is, and try to control things again. I would even say that she was being watched in one of the most extreme ways, as in her health was being closely surveilled as well. 

This episode made me think about Panoptican. As the guards in the jail are surveillancing the inmates, they know they are being watched, but not when. As the girl grew up, she did not know that she was being watched, but she in fact, was. When the daughter was young, she was to act as though she was always being watched, because she knew that she was, which is the same concept as the prisoners. Is this a good thing, though? For the prisoners, maybe. It gives them a sense that they should all be on best behavior at all times, but that makes sense for them, as their rights have been taken away, for the reasoning of being a criminal. But, as a free human, I believe that is an unhealthy way of living and can do serious damage to mental health, leaving a person in a constant state of being on edge. 

https://philtech.michaelreno.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FoucaultPanopticismKaplan.pdf

Blog Post 3

“The overall aim was to make the prison a place for the constitution of a body of knowledge that would regulate the exercise of penitentiary practice. The prison has not only to know the decision of the judges and to apply it in terms of the established regulations: it has to extract unceasingly from the inmate a body of knowledge that will make it possible to transform the penal measure into a penitentiary operation; which will make of the penalty required by the offence a modification of the inmate that will be of use to society. The autonomy of the carceral régime and the knowledge that it creates make it possible to increase the utility of the penalty, which the code had made the very principle of its punitive philosophy: “The governor must not lose sight of a single inmate, because in whatever part of the prison the inmate is to be found, whether he is entering or leaving, or whether he is staying there, the governor must also justify the motives for his staying in a particular classification or for his movement from one to another. He is a veritable accountant. Each inmate is for him, in the sphere of individual education, a capital invested with penitentiary interest”. (Foucault, 13). 

When reading this passage, many thoughts run through my mind, as I have known people close to me who have gone in and out of the system. I have heard stories of guards abusing their power, and some who use their power as good to try and correct the behavior of inmates. I feel as though inmates are used as “puppets” often. Someone I know who was in the system, has told me stories that I thought only happened in movies. One story was, while she was incarcerated, she was taunted and denied her daily medication, because the guards claimed that they should all be treated like murderers since they were all in jail. Another, was that they would make the inmates get on their knees and beg for toilet paper, for the purpose of enjoyment from the guards. 

While there are “good” guards, there are also those who abuse their power. Why is this? I believe there is a view that the guard is the superior (in a way, they are), but they want to make sure that the prisoners believe this. The system has lost track of what they should be doing. Instead of, in a way, wasting the time the inmates are in jail, why not try to use this as a way to help them? As stated in the passage above, the inmate should be modified to be a use to society. For example, if a person is in jail for DUI’s, why not set up programs for alcohol abuse? If a prisoner is in for drugs, why not set them up for substance abuse? The list goes on. Why use the time as a way to degrade or worsen a person, rather than attempt to better them? Is the reason of this human greed or is it because we have been brainwashed into believing that degrading is the best form of technology to use on the inmates?

https://philtech.michaelreno.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FoucaultPanopticismKaplan.pdf

Mini Project 1

As human beings, we believe that we have a dominance over the world upon us. In Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, he discusses standing-reserves. “Thus when man, investigating, observing, ensnares nature as an area of his own conceiving, he has already been claimed by a way of revealing that challenges him to approach nature as an object of research, until even the object disappears into the objectlessness of standing-reserve” (Heidegger, 19). I interpret this as a reason we, humans, use the world and its nature for our own use, even if it is destroying things that should be treated with respect and taken care of. After all, what makes humans so superior?

I decided to jump into the issue of the cruelty and mistreatment of cows. “In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year. When still very young, many cows are branded (burned with hot irons), dehorned (their horns are gouged out or cut or burned off), and castrated (male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums)—all without painkillers” (PETA). Not only are these cows being abused, but also traumatized. Some may argue, “well they are just animals”. Why do we, as humans, not see that they have feelings, emotions, and feel pain like the rest of us? “Once they have grown large enough, cows raised for beef are sent to massive, filthy outdoor feedlots, where they are fattened for slaughter. Cows on dairy farms are repeatedly artificially impregnated (in order to keep their milk flowing) and then traumatically separated from their newborn calves until finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to be killed, too” (PETA). Why do we hurt another living, breathing being within nature for our own benefits? 

Why can’t we cut back on the consumption, or at least push these farmers/industries to form a less cruel approach to the slaughter? Do humans really need steaks, hamburger, and milk to live? These days, people are starting to live a lifestyle of veganism and being vegetarian. Though, this is not the only answer to this problem. There are alternatives to big industry farming, such as local farms, which can often be found in farmers markets in rural areas.

The reflection of standing-reserve on this topic can be interpreted by realizing that we are using our power over animals, and not just cows. We use our (what is believed to be) domination in nature and destroying it for our own benefit. This is a good medium for the reflection of standing-reserve, because whether you care or not about these animals or what they are being put through, it shows that we, as humans, are using other beings as a standing-reserve, to be looked upon as a challenge and “objects of research”. 

The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger

Photo: https://oldmooresalmanac.com/keep-cows-happy/ 

Blog Post #2

Always Check the Weather

In southern Pennsylvania, you never know where those mountains will take ya. 

It was early monday morning, 

We got ready for a float, but not on a boat.

We went rolling down the river with our tubes tied together.

Though before departure, not a soul bothered to check the weather. 

Some sipping brew, while I drank Mountain dew, 

But that may or may not be true.

After a while, the sky turned angry,

Yet to go was still another mile. 

 Lighting came striking, we started to wish we were biking. 

Stranded afloat, we became concerned for our safety. 

We tried to tough it out, but began to scout- for a shelter nearby.

We swam to shore, then began to tour. 

We came across a young couple, who drove us to our cabin, in their station wagon. 

As we arrived to our destination, I started to feel sane,

But never looked at the river the same. 

Always check the weather.

-Jaylynn Bellefy

Blog Post #1

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post for Phi Tech ! I will be tackling the questions: What’s technology? Who cares/Why should anyone care how “technology” is defined?

Technology in this time of day will often be thought of as a cell phone, a piece of machinery, cars, etc. Fact of the matter, technology is all around us, and we use it every day, whether we realize it or not. When you leave your house or bedroom, you open and close a door, which is technology. You sit in a reclining chair to watch some TV, you are using technology. It is all around us.

According to Val Dusek, there are different kinds of definitions for technology. There are real, stipulative, reportative, and précising definitions. A real definition comes from the Ancient Greek Philosophers, Plato and Aristotle held the notion of the real definition,”which assumes that there is a real structure of the world that corresponds to our words and that a correct definition will math the real nature of things”(Dusek, 26) The stipulative definition is quite an opposite view of the real definition, as it claims that the definition is about words, not things. The reportative definition is a report of how the word is used, and there is no way to make up an arbitrary definition of it. Lastly, the précising definition, “retains the core ordinary meaning of the word”(Dusek,28).

People should care about how technology is defined because it gives a better understanding as to how certain parts of life work and the reasoning of their lives being simpler. Whether people look at technology as a good or bad thing, is, in my opinion, completely up to the persons beliefs. It is often thought that technology makes one lazier, but it in fact, still requires time and energy to use technology. I personally do not look at technology as a good or bad thing, because in ways it can consume a persons life, but at the same time we need it to live a simpler life. Technology is very much necessary and there are technological advances happening every day.

Source:

Val Dusek, “What is technology? Defining or Characterizing Technology”.

Welcome to my PHI & Tech Blog!

Hello everyone, my name is Jaylynn Bellefy and I will be using this blog for my Philosophy and Technology class at University of Mary Washington for the Fall 2020 semester. I hope everyone has a great semester!