CFP – Reimagining AI: Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology – 2022 Special Issue

We are delighted to announce the call for papers for the 2022 Special Issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology (Routledge).


Reimagining AI 

Many important philosophical conceptions have been drastically changed since the consumer computing revolution of the 1980s and 1990. These include metaphysical, epistemological and ethical concerns such as personhood, identity, truth, and trustworthiness; but they also include aesthetic and phenomenological concerns, from perception, experience and imagination, through to debates on the social, cultural, and economic value of the artwork in an age of networks. Digital space is created from huge collections of pure data points, which can be used, manipulated, and moved by AI systems. These systems do not distinguish between a person and abstractions created by the person, and they do not offer rights or protection to digital citizens, nor are they necessarily programmed to place value in truth, experience, and affect. One of the key philosophical challenges we face today, by virtue of such issues, is that of re-imagining what it means to share a world with AI systems.  

For this special issue of the Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, we invite submissions of no more than 8000 words on the topic of Reimagining AI. As befits the title of the journal, we expect these submissions to relate to aesthetics and phenomenology specifically, but the scope for how this is done is broad, and we will consider submissionsfrom any philosophical/computational/aesthetic/art practice school or tradition.  

Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that deals with feeling, sensory experience, sensation and sensibility; Phenomenology is the branch that deals with the description of lived experience. These branches meet across key topoi including perception, imagination, ideation, and ‘the given’ (whether in the computational sense of ‘data’, or the phenomenological sense of a ‘semantic given’). The question we pose to you is this: how does the emergence of AI in our networked world affect these topoi, and what acts of philosophical and artistic re-imagination are required to meet the opportunities and threats emerging thereby? 

Questions we seek to explore include, but are in no way limited to:  

  • How is our thinking of AI determined by its logical structures? What form would a pictographic view on AI take? What would its potential be? 
  • How can the key strengths and virtues of the discipline of philosophy impact the situation described above?  
  • Is ‘Artificial Intelligence’ a misleading term? Does it reify or mystify discrete computational processes that should in fact be separated? Should we jettison all talk of ‘AI’?  
  • Is AI the deus ex machina of our contemporary world? How does it relate to technological solutionism?  
  • What is the dialectical relationship between General AI and Narrow AI?  
  • Reimagining the language of algorithm. What different forms could algorithms take? 
  • How can innovative forms of practice-led art practice address impact the situation described here? 
  • How influential is computer science in re-imagining our world? 
  • What is the role of philosophical and artistic practices in relation to computer science today? 
  • In what ways can philosophy and art practice contribute to empowering individuals and the human collective to think, act, imagine and envisage in ways that encounter and use technology responsively, with increased awareness and skill?  
  • What relevance do key philosophical skills such as conceptual analysis, inference patterning, imaginative variation, and the ability to toggle between different levels of complexity and abstraction have for our increasingly networked future? 
  • What relevance do key aesthetic/art practice skills such as perceptual awareness, expressivity, and familiarity and articulacy across different forms of media (new and old) have for our increasingly networked future? 

The special issue will be split into three parts, each with its own editor: concept-focused approaches (‘theoretical’ philosophy, broadly conceived); applied approaches (‘practical’ philosophy, broadly conceived); and artistic approaches (with an emphasis on practice-led work). 

Logistical details:  

Submission format:  

The Editorial Team: Dr Tina Röck (Philosophy, University of Dundee); Prof Natasha Lushetich (Art and Media, University of Dundee); Dr Dominic Smith (Philosophy, University of Dundee).  

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