Professor Sylvie Delacroix Inaugural Lecture

Arts Lecture Room 3 - Arts Building (rm127)
Wednesday 19 October 2022 (17:30-18:30)
Habitual Ethics-315

Habitual Ethics? 

What if data-intensive technologies' ability to mould habits with unprecedented precision is also capable of triggering some mass disability of profound consequences? What if we become incapable of modifying the deeply-rooted habits that stem from our increased technological dependence?

Join Professor Sylvie Delacroix for her Inaugural lecture, based on her recent publication 'Habitual Ethics?'

Following Professor Delacroix's talk, there will be an inter disciplinary academic panel to discuss topic, with Professor Heather Widdows, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) and John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics and Professor Chris Baber, School of Computer Science and Chair of Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.

The event will be chaired by Professor Lisa Webley, Head of Birmingham Law School

Further detail on 'Habitual Ethics?'

On an impoverished understanding of habit, the above questions are easily shrugged off. Habits are deemed rigid by definition: 'as long as our deliberative selves remain capable of steering the design of data-intensive technologies, we'll be fine'. To question this assumption, this open access book first articulates the way in which the habitual stretches all the way from unconscious tics to purposive, intentionally acquired habits. It also highlights the extent to which our habit-reliant, pre-reflective intelligence normally supports our deliberative selves. It is when habit rigidification sets in that this complementarity breaks down.

The book moves from a philosophical inquiry into the 'double edge' of habit - its empowering and compromising sides - to consideration of individual and collective strategies to keep habits at the service of our ethical life. Allowing the norms that structure our forms of life to be cotton-wooled in abstract reasoning is but one of the factors that can compromise ongoing social and moral transformations. Systems designed to simplify our practical reasoning can also make us 'sheep-like'.

Drawing a parallel between the moral risk inherent in both legal and algorithmic systems, the book concludes with concrete interventions designed to revive the scope for normative experimentation. It will appeal to any reader concerned with our retaining an ability to trigger change within the practices that shape our ethical sensibility.

The eBook editions of this book are available open access under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence on Open access was funded by the Mozilla Foundation.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities