CFP: Special Issue: Toward a Philosophy of Blockchain Technology
Click here for CFP
, Metaphilosophy (John Wiley & Sons)
, due: October 1, 2016 (4,000-5,000 words)
The Internet has been one of the most transformative existences in the contemporary world and modernity. Monnin and colleagues attempted to articulate some of the philosophical aspects of the Internet in Toward a Philosophy of the Web. Whereas a clear first phase of the Internet could be formulated as the free and widespread transfer of information, a new and emerging phase of the Internet could be shaped as the secure and decentralized transfer of value. Blockchain technology is one means of enabling secure value transfer across networks; blockchains are the distributed ledger software that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. More broadly the ability to transfer value across networks in ways that obviate the need for traditional intermediaries could come to allow all human interaction regarding value transfer and contractual engagement to be instantiated in blockchains for quicker, easier, less costly, and less risky execution. Blockchains could become a tracking register for much of world activity; essentially the whole of a society's memory, a tool for more profoundly automating human patterns, and integrating human and technological activity.
Just as the Internet was a revolutionary occurrence in reality that triggered a rethinking of self, world, materiality, embodiment, the individual and society, subjectivation, objectification, potentiality, temporality, and other philosophical topics, blockchains too warrant philosophical inquiry. Many philosophical topics might be probed, including and extending beyond the classical fields of study in ontology, epistemology, and axiology/ethics. Ontology most broadly treats questions of existence; what is blockchain technology, how might it be characterized, how is it being created, implemented, and adopted; how does it operate in the world; definitions, classifications, teleology, possibilities, and limitations. Epistemology deals with knowledge; are there new kinds of things that blockchain technology is helping us to know, like what for example; and with what proof or truth standard; how do we know; what new knowledge is required to engage with blockchain technology? Axiology, ethics, and aesthetics concern how blockchain technology is valorized, taken up, and regarded; what aspects are being valued, and over or undervalued and why; what behavioral norms are arising; what constitutes a blockchain aesthetics, what aspects are seen and valued as beautiful, elegant, or aesthetically pleasing? A philosophy of blockchains might also be quite practical, and aim to provide a concise definition of what the technology is and its purpose and dimensions.
The scope of this CFP is to consider a wide variety of philosophical approaches, schools, methods, and fields, and as such invites the broad philosophical investigation of topics related to blockchain technology. This special journal issue welcomes submissions of long (approximately 8,000 words) and short papers (approximately 4,000 words) addressing these and other related topics:
- - Organizational models: hierarchical, decentralized, hybrid, complex adaptive systems
- - Inter-agent coordination systems, human-technology relations, algorithmic reality
- - Individual and society: digital social realities, social contracts, and rules of law
- - Blockchains and cognition, learning, artificial intelligence, automated memory
- - Parts-whole; global-local; atomism-holism; plurality-monolithicity; materialism-idealism; digital-physical realities; immune systems (porous-fixed)
- - Intelligent agent reputation systems, consensus trust, network systems, checks and balances, good-agent behavior; automation economy
- - Blockchains and automation: smart contracts, Dapps, DAOs, DACs, DCOs, DASs
- - Blockchain-enabled technology entities: IOT, drones, robotics, cognitive enhancement
- - Blockchains and mining: decentralized participative ecosystems, innovation
- - Blockchain temporality: blocktime, programmable time, contingent time, futurity, historicity, virtual reality, cloud computing, temporal multiplicity
- - Blockchain sociality: social good-social pathology; abundance-scarcity; transcendence-immanence; microaggression-recognition
- - Blockchain language grammars; forms of life; organicism; virtue; happiness (hedonic-eudaemonic); personal utility functions, actualization
- - Blockchain Aesthetics: digital morality, computational ethics modules; moral pluralism
- Long paper (approximately 8,000 words without references)
- Short paper (approximately 4,000 words without references)
- De Filippi, P. (2014). Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet? The Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Harvard University. April 15, 2014.
- Halpin, H. and Monnin, A. Eds. (2014). Philosophical Engineering: Toward a Philosophy of the Web. London UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Swan, M. (2015). Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy. Sebastopol CA: OReilly Media.
- Swan, M. (2015). Blockchain Consensus Protocols. Bitcoin meetup. May 6, 2015.
- Swan, M. (2015). Blocktime - Magic Blockchains, but for Time? Blocktime Arbitrage. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
- Swan, M. (2015). VR Chains and DAC Brains: Upload your Mind as a VR AI DAC. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.
- Swan, M. Blockchain Thinking: The Brain as a DAC (Decentralized Autonomous Corporation). Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE 2015; 34(4): 41-52.
- Swanson, T. (2015). Consensus as a service: a brief report on the emergence of permissioned, distributed ledger systems.
Special Journal Issue Co-Editors
- Melanie Swan, Philosophy and Economic Theory, New School for Social Research, New York, NY USA. Questions?
- Primavera De Filippi, The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, Boston MA USA