Study of a new anthropological dimension for the digital age

As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many scholars and scientists have left the country. More than 30 Ukrainian researchers displaced by the war have temporarily joined the University of Luxembourg mainly as research fellows and in some cases under temporary contracts funded by the FNR. In this series of interviews, we briefly present the researchers and their work.

Kseniia Fedorova is a PhD researcher at the Odesa Mechnikov National University in Odesa, Ukraine. She is now a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Humanities of the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at the University of Luxembourg.

What is your research field and which specific topic are you working on?

My research interests are focused on the philosophy of technology, philosophical anthropology, contemporary French philosophy, and philosophy for children. More specifically, the topic of my research work can be identified as the study of a new anthropological dimension for the digital age based on contemporary French philosophy. The complexity of the digital world makes researchers rethink their strategies and approaches in socio-humanitarian knowledge. The world has changed and it’s important to analyse all the processes that we face today from the philosophical point of view. However, the philosophers encounter some problems and one of the biggest ones is that philosophical methodologies from earlier times the previous years are outdated. My aim is to create or re-invent the philosophical-anthropological approach to analyse the human’s position in the digital world.

What would you like to achieve in your research work here?

The last six months have been tough for every Ukrainian and each of us is trying to find his or her own mission to help the country come to victory as soon as possible. It took me a while to define my personal social mission but now I see it clearly. My own -weapon- in this war is my work as a researcher. At the University of Luxembourg, I have an opportunity to continue the work on my thesis, absorb the centuries-old experience of one of the most cosmopolitan and open countries in Europe, learn from colleagues, adopt their scientific style and working methods, be in a safe and supportive academic environment, analyse cultural codes in order to use all knowledge and experience gained to support the Ukrainian nation. I do believe that now my voice sounds louder than ever and gives an opportunity to remind about democratic values and freedoms for which we are fighting every day. I am immensely grateful to the University of Luxembourg for this opportunity and to all the people who tirelessly support me and help me to adapt and feel at home.

Will your research have a potential impact on people’s everyday life?

My research in the sphere of the philosophy, namely philosophical anthropology, will give the society an understanding of roots of the modern cultural expressions, will show the development of kinds of arts in connection with historical events, will give an insight into the mentality of nations. The results of my research will hence add to determining people’s perception of the environment, worldview orientations and everyday behaviour.

Moreover, the University of Luxembourg provided me a great opportunity to apply my theoretical developments in practice and prove the importance of philosophical reflections today. I was offered to participate in the Augmented Artwork Analysis project (FNR INTER). The main idea of which is to develop a digital tool for the visitors of museums to be guided in front of the paintings. This project could be a valuable area for my investigations in contemporary philosophical policy.

What do you think is the biggest contribution your work can bring?

It no longer seems necessary to convince people of the power of digital interventions in the production of human experience, global social transformations, or countless information flows. In the context of new conditions with strong anthropological stakes, it is time to take a fresh look at the person. In this regard, it is also important to highlight the concept of the transformative power of technique, which is becoming increasingly actual in given the technologisation of society. Nowadays one must admit that it is essential to develop our human practices and become aware of how they should be in the modern world. Besides, these findings are necessary for restructuring the education system and creation a new digital education where philosophy for children reveals itself. The goal of philosophy for children is not to distribute knowledge but to acquire know-how: to stimulate questions and learn to "think well". As a result, it seems possible for us to reinvent maturity in order to interact sustainably with digital technologies.