Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Calling all Philosophers(2.0)

Bolter gives an analysis of the conflict between words and images and reviews philosophical theories of the self as they relate to virtual reality. Any attempt to relate the virtual self to ancient philosophers like Descartes or Plato (in Zettl's piece) will fall extraordinarily short in explaining this new dimension of living.

The shadows in Plato's cave that the people in the cave grew up believing in project images that mirrored reality; these images appeared to those who had only seen shadows as reality. But we live in a world now where the shadows are becoming more and more real; BUT we know they are fake, unlike Plato's cave dwellers. Descartes ideas about the self and issues concerning the body and the mind do not concern the 21st century man. We are capable of creating a digital body as a reflection of the mind as well as the body.

Its a new world, and we need new philosophers to interpret the implications that the digital world will have on our generation and those following. Not even the most pensive of academics during the Renaissance or during the Age of Reason could interpret the new technologies impact, so the new academia must stop trying to tie ancient philosophy to the digital universe. Ask the youth of the nation what implications these new technologies have on their lives, because it is their lives that have been most deeply impacted by the new digital world.

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

But must we throw the baby out with the bath water? Philosophers have framed the questions, and it's worth considering what they have had to say so you don't have to start all over again from the beginning. Some things change, some things remain the same, but when you throw out everything that's been done before, you wind up saying it's all new--that's where you get a lot of hype and boosterism about new technologies.