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Introduction: Big Data – Digital Technology, Loads of Empirical Materials, and a Daring Vision

Editorial letter
Authors Christian Munthe
Urban Strandberg
Published in European Review
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 317-327
ISSN 1062-7987
Publication year 2019
Published at Center for Public Sector Research (CEFOS)
Department of Political Science
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 317-327
Language en
Keywords big data, digitalization, analytics, human nature, society, science, research, humanities, social science
Subject categories Technology and social change, Political Science, Theoretical philosophy, Practical philosophy


The daring vision of using big data technology to substantially advance the scientific understanding of human nature, individually and socially, and possibly solve age-old challenges of bridging the subjective and objective sides of human nature, rests on substantial assumptions about the concept of a human being. The daring big data vision may at the same time, in itself, serve to change the very concept of a human, regardless of how well the vision’s assumptions and prospects hold up to scrutiny. This issue of the European Review presents an attempt to critically engage with the question of how this complex situation affects the content and prospects of the vision of reconsidering humanity with the help of big data. In this introduction, the landscape of the issue is sketched and some general remarks of where the emerging map might take future research are made. In general, even if the assumptions of the daring big data vision turn out wanting, pragmatic factors may very well transform our own image of ourselves to fit it.

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