Published: July 14, 2022

In June, Professor of Philosophy David Hildebrand presented an invited, sponsored keynote entitled “Democratic Habits and the Challenges of Information Technologies” at the conference “Democratic Education Revisited” at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His paper argued that new, algorithmic and “big data” technologies are tracking and changing the nature of felt experience. Such changes both create new habits and displace older ones. This becomes dangerous insofar as some of those older habits furnish the temperament and skills needed for public inquiries. When the capacity of inquiry is debilitated, the capacity of self-government is undermined; we become less able listen to each other and to our experiences. Given this, the task for educators is to teach the skills of democratic inquiry, respect for experience, and new ways of being critical about the dangerous excesses of private technologies. Funding was provided by St. Gallen University and Philosophische Gesellschaft Ostschweiz.