For the restart of our events, the department of Philosophy and Technology has chosen to collaborate with the TU/e Study Association AnArchi. Chairman Prof. ir. Jac van den Broek has reached out to Associate Professor Jacob Voorthuis. Together, they invite you to join this event on Friday, June 11th, where StudyAssociation AnArchi organizes her 24th Philosophical Table. This time, it is our pleasure to take a seat at one of these ‘round table meetings’ at the TU/e to discuss the theme PLASTICS. This theme has its origins on the KIVI Community website.

The discovery of plastic has been a revolutionary moment in the history of man and science. Plastic promised ultimate independence between man and nature: no longer did we depend on natural materials like wood, stone and ivory, since we were finally able to fully produce a raw material ourselves that fulfills all our wishes and demands. The possibilities were endless: whether it concerned cheap mass-production of products, packaging of food, or later even the production of computers and medicins, without plastics we would not have been where we are now.

And yet plastic no longer has the status it has had in its glory days. Plastics acquire an increasingly negative reputation. Not only are they often associated with inferior mass production, but especially concerning reports on the health risks, environmental damage and danger for biodiversity dominate the public debate on plastics. Recently, microplastics in cosmetics, with their largely unknown health effects, get a lot of attention.

That brings us to a huge dilemma: our current way of living is largely determined by the use of plastics, while at the same time it is this material that potentially threatens our life and environment. Architecture, where a lot of standardized elements are currently made of plastic – from sealing bands to insulation material, and from facade cladding to rainwater drainage – has to change fundamentally, would we decide to no longer use plastics. That makes the discussion more profound than plastic alone: it forces us to think about our norms and values. What are we willing to sacrifice to sustain or even improve our way of life? Aren’t we too hard on plastic – the material which in the end has brought us power over natural conditions? Or, on the other hand, are we going far enough in protecting our health and our environment?

Led by teacher the in Architecture and Philosophy Jacob Voorthuis (TU/e), and in cooperation with KIVI, we will explore the theme of Plastics during an interactive online Philosophical Table in a hybrid arrangement. From student to engineer and from amateur to philosopher, everyone is welcome during this stimulating and eye-opening discussion. Hope to welcome you June 11th at 16:00!