Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Philosophy and the Climate Crisis: An Agenda for Change

New publication in Public Philosophy Journal - September 2023

Learn how philosophy needs to change in order to address the climate crisis. Join us in this paper to reshape academic philosophy for a climate just world! This article addresses the urgent need for philosophical academia to respond to the climate crisis. It emphasises three main points:

  1. Methodological Framework: The article argues that the climate crisis can serve as a methodological framework for doing philosophy. In other words, it suggests that the crisis should be viewed as a lens through which philosophy engages with the world. This implies that philosophical inquiries and discussions should be deeply informed by and focused on addressing climate-related issues.
  2. Accelerating Philosophy: The article suggests that we should overcome long-established practices and institutional obstacles that prevent philosophical thought from adapting more quickly and being put to work in the right places at the right time.
  3. All in for climate action: The article calls upon all areas of philosophy to address the climate crisis. It asserts that every subfield of philosophy, from metaphysics to philosophy of mind, can play a valuable role in the struggle against the climate crisis. This implies that philosophical research and teaching should incorporate climate-related considerations and actively contribute to addressing the crisis.

New article in Big Data & Society (open access): “Predictive Privacy: Collective Data Protection in the Context of AI and Big Data”

I am excited to announce the release of my latest article on predictive privacy. In this paper, I tackle the challenge posed by big data and artificial intelligence, which allow predictions to be made about individuals based on anonymous data from many people.

Going beyond my 2021 article in Ethics & Information Theory, this paper elaborates more closely on the philosophical and legal implications of predictive privacy. It presents a refined definition of the term and argues for the construction of predictive privacy as a new protected good.

Predictive analytics has significant potential for abuse, leading to social inequality, discrimination, and exclusion. Current data protection laws do not adequately address these risks, leaving the use of anonymized mass data largely unregulated. My paper introduces the concept of ‘predictive privacy’ as a data protection approach to counter these risks.


“Social Media Advertising for Clinical Studies: Ethical and Data Protection Implications of Online Targeting” (with Theresa Willem)

In this article, we discuss the data ethics and privacy implications of online advertising on social media.

Using the example of online advertising for clinical trials (research on new drugs or therapies), our study shows that personalized advertising allows platforms such as Google or Facebook to train predictive models for the diseases in question. These can be applied to any people, including users who have never seen the ads themselves, to predict whether they suffer from the disease in question.

Abstract: Social media advertising has revolutionised the advertising world by providing data-driven targeting methods. One area where social media advertising is just gaining a foothold is in the recruitment of clinical study participants. Here, as everywhere, social media advertising promises more yield per money spent because the technology can better reach highly specialised groups. In this article, we point out severe societal risks posed by advertising for clinical studies on social media. We show that social media advertising for clinical studies in many cases violates the privacy of individual users (R1), creates collective privacy risks by helping platform companies train predictive models of medical information that can be applied to all their users (R2), exploits the weaknesses of existing guidelines in (biomedical) research ethics (R3) and is detrimental to the quality of (biomedical) research (R4).

More interesting articles:

Okt 12, 2022 - Prädiktive Privatheit: Kollektiver Datenschutz im Kontext von Big Data und KI (in German)

Sept 8, 2022 - Deutschlandfunk Nova – Broadcast Lecture Hall (in German)

Aug 29, 2022 - Live on radio WDR5 – The Philosophical Radio (in German)