Ecology, Technology and Economy: Sources of Fear and Hope
Is philosophy the only thing that can save us?
lecture (in Dutch) on 5 May 2022
Since its inception, Western philosophy has reflected on nature. Did philosophy merely establish that man is upsetting nature or the ecological process? Or did its thinking, which also determined technological and economic development, provoke this ecological evolution? Is the collapse of biodiversity, the climate crisis or the pandemic an irreversible process about which we can still do little? Or does philosophy offer a way out so that we can deal with nature again as human beings?
The question thus arises as to whether our concerns about ecology, technology and the economy should lead to a kind of lamentation. Or can we, on the contrary, find hopeful answers in them? Rediscovering the sources of reason and virtue seems more important than ever in the creation of a new humanism.
On 5 May, 20 years after the untimely death of his colleague Jef Van Gerwen, Hendrik Opdebeeck will dwell on these questions on the occasion of his own emeritate as professor. Opdebeeck articulated these questions throughout his career, partly in the same tradition as Van Gerwen. During 40 years he did this not only with his thousands of students of economics, philosophy and political & social sciences. In addition to his numerous publications on meaning in economics, technology and ecology, he further elaborated on this issue and sought answers via the Chair of Economics of Hope. He established this at the University of Antwerp in the context of the interuniversity SPES forum for pleasure in economics, of which he was a co-founder and 20 years the chairman.