The concept of the Anthropocene – the age of humans - has emerged over the last two decades as a designation of the pervasive human influence on planetary processes. The debate about the Anthropocene illustrates how deeply engrained science and technology are in our ‘western’ or ‘modern’ culture, while highlighting our partly paradoxical views of its role. Scientific and technological developments are commonly agreed to be at the root of the Anthropocene, as cumulative innovations have allowed humans to intervene deeper and deeper into the functioning of the planet. At the same time, it is precisely to scientific and technological innovation we turn for providing solutions to the environmental crises of the Anthropocene.
What does and should the Anthropocene concept mean for how we understand the role of science and technology in our society? Should we view scientific and technological development more as cause of or solution to the Anthropocene, and why? Is it possible to balance both views? What could acknowledging that we live in the Anthropocene mean for how we evaluate specific contemporary proposals for scientific or technological innovations?
Type of research
While the emphasis lays on a conceptual exploration of the main research question (desk research of academic literature), students are encouraged to incorporate empirical case study work. What kind of student are you looking for? (study programme, skills, etc.) For this thesis, I am looking for philosophically-minded students who are interested in conceptual questions about what nature is and how humans should relate to nature. You are expected to develop your own more specific research question(s) within the broad theme outlined above and to look for examples and cases to support your conceptual analysis.