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Talk for students on the philosophy of smartphones by MSU Philosophy’s Prof. Tiger Roholt

Posted in: English Department, Events

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2023 – 7:00 – 8:00 P.M.

MSU Philosophy’s Professor Tiger Roholt will talk about his new book “Distracted from Meaning: A Philosophy of Smartphones” with MSU Honors Program Director Lee Behlman

10 free copies of Distracted from Meaning will be given away in a raffle to MSU students at this event.

Dr. Tiger Roholt, a philosopher at MSU, writes books and essays about meaningfulness, technology, art and music.

“This is no neo-Luddite broadside against smartphones but a clear and careful philosophical exploration of what makes life meaningful and how smartphone use can either serve or undermine such meaning. Taking aim at the heart of our present age, Roholt’s book is consistently insightful and provocative.” – Iain Thomson, Professor of Philosophy, University of New Mexico.

Here’s a book summary from the publisher:
When our smartphones distract us, much more is at stake than a momentary lapse of attention. Our use of smartphones can interfere with the building-blocks of meaningfulness and the actions that shape our self-identity.

By analyzing social interactions and evolving experiences, Roholt reveals the mechanisms of smartphone-distraction that impact our meaningful projects and activities. Roholt’s conception of meaning in life draws from a disparate group of philosophers – Susan Wolf, John Dewey, Hubert Dreyfus, Martin Heidegger, and Albert Borgmann. Central to Roholt’s argument are what Borgmann calls focal practices: dinners with friends, running, a college seminar, attending sporting events. As a recurring example, Roholt develops the classification of musical instruments as focal things, contending that musical performance can be fruitfully understood as a focal practice.

Through this exploration of what generates meaning in life, Roholt makes us rethink the place we allow smartphones to occupy in the everyday. But he remains cautiously optimistic. This thoughtful, needed interrogation of smartphones shows how we can establish a positive role for technologies within our lives.

This event is sponsored by the MSU Honors Program; all are invited to attend!