WSU Common Reading presents David Shier on “Being Human Virtually” March 21

March 16, 2018

PULLMAN, Wash.–David Shier, associate dean of the Honors College at Washington State University, will present “Being Human Virtually” at 7:00 p.m. Wed., March 21, in Todd 130, hosted by the Common Reading Program. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The lecture develops topics Shier taught in his fall Honors course, “Me, Myself, and AI.”

According to Shier, the gravitational pull of digital/virtual worlds is undeniable; they grab our attention and pull us right in. We can expect to live increasingly significant parts of our lives in these high-powered, immersive environments. We are by now accustomed to thinking about the enormous impact on the ways we organize our daily lives, our commerce, our communications, and our societies. But we also need to ask ourselves about how these technologies may be transforming us as people, profoundly changing the way we experience the world, our sense of self, and even our concept of what it is to be human.  This lecture will consider just a few of the ways in which life on the digital/virtual frontier is transforming the human experience—from electronic communication, to our ideas of agency, and ultimately to ways we are literally becoming cyborgs.

Shier earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Wayne State University and researches mainly philosophy of language, early analytic philosophy, and philosophy of sports. His favorite publication, “Is golf inherently irrational,” appeared in 2010 in the volume Philosophy and Golf. His paper titled “Beyond ‘crude pragmatism’ in sports coaching: Insights from C.S. Pierce, William James, and John Dewey: A commentary” was published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching in December 2016.

Shier came to WSU in 1995 from Detroit. He taught regularly in the Honors College while he was on faculty in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. He joined Honors full-time in 2016 to be associate dean in charge of curriculum, course scheduling, and faculty.

The WSU-wide Common Reading Program is exploring the theme of “frontiers of technology, health, and society.” This year’s book, Ready Player One, highlights applications of technology in a variety of fields and encourages students to explore ethical dilemmas and changing senses of identity that arise in an increasingly digital world. Experts, such as Shier, are invited to make presentations to students on subjects that bridge their expertise and topics raised in the book.

The Common Reading Program began in 2006-07 in Pullman. It helps students, their teachers, and the community better engage in academically centered critical thinking, communication, research, and learning around a body of shared information, as presented in a single, specially selected book. Check upcoming Common Reading and related events at

MEDIA: Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program co-director, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488,

Jordan Maxwell, Communications and Marketing Associate, WSU Undergraduate Education,