erhardt | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by erhardt

Respecting the Data

Eyeo Festival logo

I was lucky enough to attend Eyeo Festival this year thanks to the Ford Foundation. There were many thought provoking and inspiring talks as well as conversations over Minneapolitan cuisine. One of the recurring themes I picked up on was how to respect data when doing data visualization, illustration, or art. This came up in different ways and under different names among speakers whom I saw talk. Furthermore there was tension and contradiction across the talks about the type of and level of respect due to data.

When Identities Turn Violent

Facing History and Ourselves hosted a Day of Learning "Reimagining Self and Others" at Harvard Law School on May 10, 2013. This is a summary of the "When Identities Turn Violent" segment featuring historian of genocide Omer Bartov and sociologist of religion Jose Casanova.

Anthony Appiah on the Ethics of Diversity

Facing History and Ourselves hosted a Day of Learning "Reimagining Self and Others" at Harvard Law School on May 10, 2013. This is a liveblog of the opening presentation by Anthony Appiah, a philosopher at Princeton University, whose latest book is The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.

Appiah begins by framing the ethics of diversity with motivating questions that go back to Aristotle's ethics: 1) What is it for a life to go well? 2) What is human well-being? These are tied to Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia, which is poorly translated as 'happiness' but is more robust, representing the successful life, or flourishing life.

To work through the ethics of diversity, Appiah suggests three ethical principles:

  1. Everybody matters (this was not true in Aristotle's Athens, he only spoke of free, adult males)
  2. We owe everyone respect for their human dignity: we must bear in mind the facts about them that should shape how we treat them
  3. Each person is in charge of managing his or her own life

Transnational Dimensions of Spreadable Media

Liveblog of the MiT8 panel on Transnational Dimensions of Spreadable Media moderated by Sam Ford. Notes with Rodrigo Davies and others.

Nancy Baym, Music Without Borders: Globalization and its Contents

Nancy introduces two current, competing frames of music consumers: Pirates vs Customers. We ask, are musicians getting paid enough? But the question frames musicians as producers, as manufacturers.

How do musicians understand their interactions and relationships with their audiences? How have social media affected these things? What is the broader system of values into which money fits?

Philosophy and Civic Engagement

Last Friday, April 26, 2013, I attended the Philosophy and Civic Engagement symposium at Tufts University. Three speakers looked at different philosophical aspects of civic engagement: Anthony Laden of the University of Illinois at Chicago discussed the importance of reasoning as a social, interactive practice in democratic citizenship, Meira Levinson of Harvard Graduate School of Education investigated the pros and cons of redefining civic action beyond public activities, and Peter Levine of Tufts University and CIRCLE discussed the philosophical aspects of his forthcoming book: We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. Below are my notes from their talks.