Technological Possibilities and the Promise of Utopia

Thank you to everyone who came along to our lectures this year! We’re finished up for 2019 but have another lecture series in the works for 2020, so stay tuned!

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Technological Possibilities and the Promise of Utopia

A Public Philosophy Lecture Series

Once a month, April-September 2019 at The Moon Café, Northbridge.

Free entry, although bookings are essential. No knowledge of philosophy is required; all are welcome to attend!


We live in a world of rapid technological development. New technological instruments have changed our everyday lives in countless ways, while technological thinking has transformed the world in which we live. Advancements in technology allow us to save time and offer us many conveniences, but they have also contributed to some of our most pressing current social issues, such as global warming, mass surveillance and big data.

What is the meaning of technology though? Is technology simply instrumental? What does it mean to think technologically and how does this way of thinking play out in our social and political spheres? Being confronted with large social and political issues today, we often see technology as a saving grace, but can it offer solutions to the problems we face?

In this series of lectures, we hope to raise questions about what technology is, and how it shapes our visions of the future. Will technology allow us to realise a better future or, as some have suggested, is it leading us into a “new dark age”?

In this series of lectures, we hope to open up a space of dialogue in order to engage with the way technology is shaping our modern world. Throughout we will discuss the possibility of seeing our shared future differently.

Each lecture will last roughly one hour and will be followed by questions and conversation. We invite you to join us for a night of ideas, discussion and drinks as we ask what it means to be human in the modern world.

Part 6 of 6, 2 September 2019

The Ghosts of Utopias: Past, Present, and Future

Dr Mark Jennings

LECTURE ABSTRACT: Both before and after Thomas More wrote his “little, true book” describing the inhabitants of the island of “Utopia” (literally “no such place”), people have been attempting to realise ideal visions of life together. More was writing satirically and critically, yet his work is animated by an ideal vision that is grounded upon … something. What is the history of our ideas about utopia? Rambling through the Judeo-Christian tradition, the thought of the Classical Greeks, the Renaissance, and finally arriving at modernity, in this session we will try to comprehend some of this history. Perhaps this can help us diagnose the world we find ourselves in, and possibly imagine another one.