Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Freiburg – Penn State Collaboration Development Program 2018

You are here:
Freiburg – Penn State Collaboration Development Program 2018

Freiburg – Penn State Collaboration Development Program 2018

The Philosophy in the Age of the New Wars event being hosted as a collaboration between the Penn State philosophy department and the University of Freiburg philosophy department, has received a grant from the PSU Global Programs in the framework of the Freiburg-Penn State Collaboration Development Seed Funding Program 2018.


Ever since Plato, the development of philosophical thought reveals a rich tradition of confronting fundamental questions related to war, peace, and the human condition. However, it is arguably with the advent of a modern conception and experience of warfare that war and, more generally, violent strife in its various forms (as struggle for recognition, as power of negativity, etc.), has firmly become entrenched as a fundamental philosophical concern. Since the 20th -century, transformations in military technology, social forms of organization, cultural modes of perception, and the practice of warfare itself have accelerated and amplified the centrality as well as urgency of the philosophical significance of war. Yet, as many military historians and theorists of conflict have recently argued, over the past 20 years we have been witnessing another stage of radical transformation in the history of warfare under the heading of “the New Wars.” Advances in robotic and drone technology, cyber-warfare, and the sprawling fragmentation of conflict have substantially altered both how we think about war and how war is pursued. What, however, are the philosophical consequences and implications of this phenomenon of “the New Wars”? How have transformations in warfare, technology, and the culture of war changed philosophical thinking? How might philosophical thinking come to terms with such transformations?

The aim of this research project between the philosophy departments at Penn State and Freiburg is to explore these questions through an approach combining various philosophical methods of analysis and argumentation in conjunction with an inter-disciplinary outreach to other related fields of study (history, cultural studies, security studies, etc.). The aim of this project to develop a novel field of philosophical research by drawing on and challenging established frameworks for the conceptualization of warfare, violence, and the human condition. 

This project will focus three mutually orthogonal theme of research: War and Technology, War and Subjectivities, War and Institutions.