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Conference theme

In the sense of materiality, humans have always, historically and globally, lived with
technologies, from the techn of Aristotle to Foucaults posited technologies of power. In a
similar vein, technology has, some might argue, always been part of nursing practices,
comprised as they frequently are of networks of assessments and interventions involving
artefacts and machines.
Technology has also entered the academic health care discourse as a philosophical question.
What had hitherto been predominantly conceptualized as a dyadic relation between
practitioners and patients has become an intriguing triad: technology has unwittingly become
the third and increasingly more than negligible part of the practitioner-patient relationship. In
medicine, Stanley Joel Reiser (2009) announced the triadic relationship between
practitioners, patients and machines as one of the most difficult of all associations to master
in health care. In nursing, Alan Barnard and Rozzano Locsin (2007) edited an insightful
collection on the practice, concepts and issues surrounding technology. Indeed the
omnipresence of technology in human life is well-captured in a fascinating collection edited
by Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen and Evan Selinger (2007) in which philosophers engaged with
technology reflect on the socio-political necessity of philosophizing both the history and
future of human-technology relations.
While technology continues to be a recurrent theme discussed through social science and
philosophical lenses, these analyses often tend to rely on dystopian or utopian tropes. If the
use and development of technology seeks to enhance the human condition, and does so for
patients and practitioners, it is hard to imagine areas including practice, education and
research - that are no longer technologically mediated, and indeed generate technology itself
in an increasing symbiosis. What are the implications of this for patienthood and for nursing
now and in the future? How we seek to understand technology as an actor in health care is a
challenge for nursing as a practice and discipline in all its aspects. What is the person and
person-centered care when we increasingly, through prostheses and implants, become
cyborgs, a fusion between human and machine? What is embodiment in a digitalized health
care world and what does this mean for health in more general terms?
Through our plenary speakers, the 2015 IPONS conference intends to critically examine
philosophical foundations for analyzing the very concept of technology and to discuss
frameworks that allow technology to be examined without utopian and dystopian pretexts. In
this respect, it is partly a continuation of the 2014 IPONS conference, and in a way that
carries the debate forward into thinking the future.
Our hope is for fulsome multidisciplinary dialogue and so we also invite philosophical papers
for concurrent sessions that will theorize, investigate, analyze or explore these questions as
well as other related philosophical nursing issues.