REI Colloquium – Philipp Höfele

REI Colloquium – Philipp Höfele
Apr 5, 2022
– 2:00PM

“The Imitation of Nature by Technology: Ontological and Ethical Questions regarding a Concept of Sustainability”

By Philipp Höfele, Postdoctoral Researcher at Penn State

The technological imitation of nature has experienced an enormous boost in recent years. Under terms such as biomimicry, biomimetics, bionics or bioinspiration, technologies are being developed that imitate functions of living nature. These developments are often accompanied by the biomimetic promise of sustainable as well as ethically and socially acceptable technologies that are intended to respond to problems in the so-called Anthropocene. But fulfillment of this promise is not automatic in the case of such technologies. The unquestioning imitation of nature can even contain dangers, as the criticism of the naturalistic fallacy or of the following-nature argument shows. On the one hand, this necessitates a differentiated ethical evaluation of these technologies, which does not let nature alone set the standard, even if orientation towards nature has advantages. On the other hand, the underlying concept of imitation must also be questioned on a theoretical level. In what respects are these technologies imitative and what implications does this have for the human-technology-nature relationship? The talk aims to provide some answers to these practical-ethical as well as theoretical questions that arise with regard to nature-imitating technologies in the Anthropocene.

This event is open to the public. To attend, please send a request for the Zoom link to by noon on the day of the event.

Topic(s): General, Global Issues, Sustainability, Technology