One_day workshop on Actions and Artefacts

Technical artefacts are ubiquitous in modern society, and we act with them all the time. Consequently, a clear account of what it means to act with an artefact, and an understanding of the ways in which artefacts can influence our actions is of great importance to the analysis of many practical ethical issues, such as the distribution of responsibility, the enhancement of human capacities, and the way artefacts make us behave more morally or immorally. However, while analytic action theory has offered many suggestions as to what actions are and how they are brought about, the role of artefacts in (influencing) actions has neverbeen systematically investigated. This workshop will investigate this role of artefacts and its implications for some of the ethical issues mentioned. To do so, it will bring researchers together from theoretical and practicalphilosophy and human-technology interaction, approaching the theme in a multidisciplinary way.

9:30 – Welcome with coffee and tea
10:00 – Introduction by Auke Pols, MSc (TU/e)

10:20 – Prof. Jennifer Hornsby (Birkbeck, University of London): Actions and Activities.
11:10 – Prof. dr. Cees Midden (TU/e): Persuasive Technology and Unconscious Influences on Action.

12:00 – Lunch

13:00 – Dr. Bart Streumer (University of Reading): Artefacts and Normativity.
13:50 – Dr. Joel Anderson (Utrecht University): Can Artefacts Extend Willpower?

14:40 – End of workshop

The workshop will be followed at 16:00 by the public defence of the dissertation of Auke Pols on the same topic, titled Acting with Artefacts. The defence will take place in the Auditorium of Eindhoven University of Technology, room 5.

Participation in the workshop is free, though you are required to register. For registration, please contact Rianne Schaaf at For questions about the workshop please consult the workshop webpage or contact Auke Pols at

The workshop is generously sponsored by the TU/e Philosophy & Ethics group, the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology and the Netherlands School for Research in Practical Philosophy.

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