The Medieval, Modern and Postmodern Pool Table

The pool hall is where Aristotle’s agency and Galileo’s causality meet.
The medieval pool table is not bounded by rubber. Moreover, to paraphrase a line from the film The Matrix, “There is no pool cue.” In order to reach the black ball, I would have to embark upon a quest. I would be the white ball and I would journey along the surface of the pool table. When I encountered one of the other balls I would ask it to reveal a sign to me. Sensing that I had purity of intentions, the ball would respond in kind and tell me what I needed to know to move closer to finding the black ball. According to Aristotle, if other balls were moved to join me in my quest, it would be because it was in their nature. If my intentions were not good, the other balls would be of no use to me and I would wander in danger of going off the edge into the abyss.  Continue reading

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Cybernetics and the Message of Digital Media

In honour of the centenary of the birth of Marshall McLuhan  (b. 1911) I’m posting this paper entitled Cybernetics and the Message of Digital Media that I wrote for my students when I taught at the Centre for Society, Technology and Values at the University of Waterloo. In the abstract I wrote, “With the potential for the message of digital media to become the medium of societal change, would Marshall McLuhan have feared becoming a cyborg produced by globalization? Should we? Let’s hope not.” At the SPT meeting in Denton, TX this past May I attended a panel entitled “Concerned Knowledge for Concerned People!” The panelists Ramon Queralto, Javier Bustamante and Antonio Calleja were from Spain, and Langdon Winner was the moderator. Of great interest to me was what they reported about the Real Democracy Now protests in Spain and how their character has been shaped by the participants use and experience of digital media (ICTs). Although I wrote my paper seven years ago, I believe my conclusions about digital media, feedback and social change are more relevant then ever. It can be downloaded here.

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Technology, Theology and the Human Person

I attended the biennial meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Technology at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX from May 26th to the 29th and gave a paper entitled Technology, Theology and the Human Person: The contribution of theological anthropology to the philosophy of technology. It was the first time since I started attending North American meetings in 2003 that there was a track for religion and technology. I took the opportunity to present a paper that integrates my studies in engineering, philosophy and theology. The paper can be downloaded here: PDF or HTML. The audio can be downloaded here (8.6 MB 0:30:05).

Mark Morley SPT2011 UNT

Mark Morley moderating SPT2011 panel UNT

SPT2011 May 26-29 UNT

EESAT Building, University of North Texas, Denton, TX

EESAT Building, University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Town Square, Denton, Texas

Town Square, Denton, Texas

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World Communications Day Homily

While giving my homily on World Communications Day, which in Canada falls on the Ascension of the Lord, I announced that, today, I would begin a blog. Thus, it seemed fitting that this first blog post should make available the text of the homily, which can be accessed here.

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