New technologies like artificial wombs and period trackers raise questions about the feminist significance of such developments. What is their emancipatory potential? Artificial wombs hold the promise of greater equality between people, more possibilities for same sex couples to have children, and fewer high-risk pregnancies, but they also fundamentally transform the meaning of ‘womanhood'. And what about FemTech? Period trackers are celebrated and promoted as emancipatory technologies in health. But do these technologies, and the companies behind them, really empower their target audience? In this talk we discuss feminist philosophical perspectives on technologies that promise to emancipate and liberate, and yet may not live up to these promises.
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Julia Hermann is a philosopher and political scientist by training and received her PhD in 2011 from the European University Institute in Florence (Department of Political and Social Sciences) with a thesis entitled "Being Moral: Moral Competence and the Limits of Reasonable Doubt". She held research and teaching positions at the European Intra-University Centre of Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice, Maastricht University, Utrecht University and Eindhoven University of Technology. In the past, she worked on topics such as moral justification, the later Wittgenstein's relevance for issues in moral philosophy, moral progress, evolutionary explanations of morality, the role of context in ethics, the ethics of citizen science, and the technological disruption of epistemic certainty. Her current research on the ways in which new and emerging technologies, in particular biomedical technologies, affect fundamental concepts is funded by the NWO gravitation programme "The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies”. She is the vice-chair of the Organisation of Ethicists in the Netherlands (VvEN) and an author of the blog Justice Everywhere.
Naomi Jacobs is currently a PhD student at the Department of Philosophy & Ethics and Human-Technology Interaction at Eindhoven University of Technology. Her research focuses on technologies for health-related behaviour change in vulnerable people. Previously she obtained a bachelor-degree in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, and completed a Research Master in Philosophy at Utrecht University. Together with Elize de Mul and Lisa Doeland she wrote the book ‘Onszelf voorbij, kijken naar wat we liever niet zien’ (Arbeiderspers 2018). Together with Jenneke Evers she wrote an ethical reflection on ’The Vulnerability of FemTech’ (Podium voor Bioethiek, 2019). She will defend her thesis 'Values and Capabilities: Ethics by Design for Vulnerable People' on September 29th 2021.
Marjolein Lanzing is Assistant Professor Philosophy of Technology at the University of Amsterdam. She finished her PhD-research 'The Transparent Self': A Normative Investigation of Changing Selves and Relationships in the Age of the Quantified Self at the 4TU Center for Ethics and Technology (University of Technology Eindhoven).