20Feb

SEX, DESIRE, AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: MY TOP 5 FAVORITE SUBJECTS IN PHILOSOPHY – Anastasiia (UKRAINE)

Once I said about benefits of studying philosophy in the modern world, my friends started to ask me: “Okay, philosophy maybe is useful but which subjects do you really study? Boring readings of Plato and Kant? Thinking about the sense of the universe and trying to understand all these difficult phenomena that I even do not remember how to name?”

“Not at all,” said I.

I am thankful to the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Tartu for the full freedom of subjects to choose to fulfill my curriculum and also for very interesting and hot topics that they cover.You can find the full list of the courses offered by the philosophy departments of the University of Tartu on the official website. Here is my top 5 favorite subjects that I have studied in the UT:

1. ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF SEX

Are you sure that you know what is sex? Does virtual sex count as sex or is it just the exchange of pictures? What is sexuality? And can we call some sexual practice normal and good and some of them bad, so we will ban people from doing it? What is sexual harassment and infidelity? What is gender?

Philosophers deal with all these questions because sex is a very important part of our lives and we always forget first to answer to ourselves all these important questions.
That is why I decided to write my Master thesis on cybersex. This phenomenon has become more popular with the development of computers and it shifts our understanding of sex as contact between two bodies because in the virtual reality there are no bodies at all.

2. SHAME: CONCEPTUAL AND MORAL ASPECTS

We all feel shame at least once in life, but what shame is? And why do we feel shame about some things but not other ones? Does our feeling of shame depend on cultural background or do we all have the common sense of shame? And how can we fight shame?

Philosophers can suggest you a lot of theories to answer all these questions. As for me, I focused on body shame and body shaming and I have learned that women feel it more frequently because of sexual objectification, so their bodies do not truly belong to them but they are always on a gaze of society and, more often, male society.

3. DESIRE

I came to this course trying to understand why I desire something but do nothing to make my dreams come true. Sounds familiar?

And I have learned that there is a line between desire and dream, as well as the term desire you can define in different ways. Moreover, it is not so easy even with understanding what do we want. How can you be sure that you want exactly this thing and why do we sometimes feel so unhappy when we finally receive it?

Anyway, after this course, I beat some of my procrastination demons because I have more clear vision of my desires and dreams.

4. READINGS IN BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY

Buddhism and all Eastern religions have become extremely popular over last years but, as a philosopher and a critical thinker, before blindly accept their ideas and start to practice yoga and meditation, it is really important to understand what it is and what lies behind this popularity.

It was an amazing journey to the Buddha-doctrine, when I have studied their views on the universe, human being, and purpose of life. I believe that the more different theories we know, the easier it will be to develop your own life principles and views.

5. PHILOSOPHY OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Computers will conquer the world. Or maybe not? Or maybe they have already done this?
Anyway, it is extremely important in the contemporary world to understand what we are developing and how to work with it.
Can we really make an intelligent being? And if yes, how should we behave with it? Can we fall in love with a computer? And how should we judge the machine?

All this may sound a little bit futuristic, but self-driving cars are already on our streets and they will change the rules of traffic and our lives extremely. Nowadays philosophers try to solve all ethic problems that they will bring to the modern world.

And last but not least, it is not even the half of a list of my favorite subjects that you can study on philosophy faculty. Thus, I also love different courses related to politics where we discuss modern totalitarianism and Trump. As well as some of my classmates were trying to understand whether animals have soul and intelligence or study Philosophy of Food.

So, as you see, philosophy is not only Plato and Kant, it is a big world in which everyone finds something interesting to themselves. If you are a Russian speaker, you may subscribe to my telegram channel and learn more about philosophy and my experience as student at the UT.

If you are not, feel free to contact me and ask additional questions about the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Tartu.