Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Digital Thurs Dec 1 Digital Philosophy: From Blogging about Philosophy to Gaming (which will be next week's class)

Babich and Bateman: Last of the Continental Philosophers

as of 6 Dec. 2016 

Babich and Bateman: What is Continental Philosophy?

Interactive Assignment in two parts

Part One
Please follow the above link, and after reading the discussion on Chris Bateman's blog, add some brief reflections in the comments section of the blog. Please keep comments relevant to the topics discussed there.

Part Two
Secondly, please return to this blog page and (in the comments section below), kindly offer a brief response to one or all of the following questions on digital media and philosophy. 

The dialogue form has been part of philosophy since Plato but what difference, if any, does online conversation make? What difference would a face-to-face conversation make (or not make)? Given Illich's and Postman's and so many others remarks on print media, does the digital change a thing?  

Besides the chance for interactive engagment what does the digital mediatization of philosophy entail and what is its working 'effect' (cue here Heidegger on the 'working' of the artwork, Benjamin's aura or The Halleluia Effect, The Interface Effect, all sundry other effects?) 

You are invited to add any other further reflection you might like.

Richard J. Lane, “The TechnologicalSystem of Objects” (from Lane, Jean Baudrillard (Taylor & Francis 2008 [2000])
Chris Bateman’s Blog: http://blog.ihobo.com/  


  1. The dialogue form is an effective way to present multiple perspectives on any given topic, and the question-answer form can make the information easier to understand and process. Viewing the conversation live or as a video could clarify the way the speakers feel about certain things. One huge aspect that is missing from the printed form of dialogue is the voice inflection and body language. This is arguably just as important as the words being spoken. Hesitation, sarcasm, irritation, unsteadiness, and confidence are easily discernible when listening to or participating in a conversation. Human beings are so used to discerning these feelings that one may not even consciously realize it as it is happening. The transcription of a stand-up comedy routine would not be nearly as funny as watching a video or a live performance, and listening to President Obama speaking about police brutality is much more moving than reading a transcription. The listener would absolutely gain further insight into how the speakers feel about the conversation topic if the transcription was made available as a video.
    The digital mediatization of philosophy may be beneficial to the general public because texts have become so easily attainable. However, since anyone and everyone has the ability to comment on these ideas and post their own interpretations and ideas in forums viewed by large numbers of people, I believe that this digitization also opens the door to a possibility for serious misunderstanding of philosophical texts. It is difficult for the average digital media user to tell the difference between truth and misrepresentation.
    -Taylor Hampton

  2. Online conversation poses an incredible benefit and threat to discussion in the modern era. It allows for fleshed out, often researched dialogue between parties, often across hours or days. The online conversation allows for thought to occur, and thus for reasonable debate to occur. However, the threat that it poses is just that; it makes for an unrealistic form of debate and makes it difficult to gather real-time personal data. The data I reference is that of facial expression, pauses in speech, breath, passion, body language, etc. These simply cannot be communicated in online conversation, making it much more intellectual than face-to-face, but less raw and romantic. Facebook has experimented with conflict resolution through scripted messaging, and has found that certain combinations of words will garner a response from the offended party significantly more often; but since this is such a perfect system, it eliminates the unpredictability of real life decision making in conversation. Online dialogue simply comes down to that statistic- decision making time. Of course digital media changes perception of text, because of these factors. Even spoken word media like the nightly news makes use of voice tone and body language and the other intangibles that let the audience know what is being conveyed. Such has led to the development of fake news, showing the leftist bubble that it is not a universal skill to discern reliable information, whether it be in unpredictable live conversation or online media.
    Joe Bricker (jmb8)

  3. I sincerely agree with Joe's comments. This ability to formulate coherent and well thought out responses online is at the forefront of my mind, simply because that is exactly what I did on Chris' blog post and now am doing right here. Had this been a face to face interaction our ability to think and respond in real time would not have produced as refined responses. However, what one gains in "intelligence", one may lose in meaning. Some of the most meaningful exchanges are not necessarily important due to what is said, but rather how it is said (ex. tone of voice or volume of voice). These items are absent when carrying on a conversation over digital media. Having read Chris' blogpost, comments and responses in my own voice rather than hearing it in his, I am less connected to him on a personal level and as a result less equipped to whole-heartedly agree or disagree with his dialog. -- Gregory LaRosa

  4. The idea of continental versus analytical philosophy is as stark as it is bewildering. However, my bewilderment and confusion only further confirms Babich's point, that our society has become dominated with the quest for a definite answer. The thought that there are practices out there for nothing but deepening questions is both shocking and exciting. It keeps in check our eagerness when we foam at the mouth for answers, but also lets us explore the question into unknown territory; what is nothing? What is a question? I hope to take this meta and near zen-like approach to my work as an actor after having read this interview.
    -Nicholas Podany

  5. I agree with Joe in that the time factor in online conversation is perhaps the biggest difference in face-to-face vs digital conversation. Having unlimited time to respond to another in casual conversation can turn the digital conversation into a game, more or less. Having time to construct a letter or formal response is very good, however as it allows for the cracks of miscommunication to be filled. Digital communication can be a good thing in formal situations, but I agree would be dangerous if it completely replaced casual conversation--the subtleties in facial expression, vocal inflexion, and timing are simply too specific to be authentically replicated by a machine. Even if it could, that unique trait/ability of human communication would no longer be practiced and thus become extict. Whether or not losing this depth in our methods of communication is bad or not is a matter of opinion, of course, but here is mine.

    Nate Sparks