Being-in-the-Web: A Philosophical Investigation of Digital Existence in the Virtual Age
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Wilhelm S. Wurzer
autonomy, Castells, computing ethics, digital divide, DMCA, Heidegger, Homeland Security Act, Marcuse, Patriot Act, philosophy of technology, privacy, surveillance
The dissertation project has a twofold purpose. The first goal is to chronicle philosophical similarities and continuity between the essentialist, dystopian and constructivist critiques of technology as exemplified by Heidegger, Marcuse and Castells respectively. The second goal is to apply insights from the various critiques in the areas of autonomy, privacy and surveillance to current practices facilitated by Internet technologies. The general argument throughout maintains that Heidegger, Marcuse and Castells provide conceptual tools for understanding the ways in which Internet technologies can be used for the purposes of creative interactivity and/or totalitarian forms of surveillance.
This project offers four modest contributions to research in the philosophy of technology. They are:
1. An attempt to identify the ways in which Heidegger's theoretical forces of enframing and standing-reserve manifest at work accompanied by an exploration of two possible "saving power" candidates: the cyberpunks and hackers.
2. Chapter III includes new readings from Douglas Kellner's recent compilations/translations of Marcuse's early work: Some Social Implications of Modern Technology (1941) and The Problem of Social Change in the Technological Society (1961).
3. Chapter IV demonstrates that Marcuse's theoretical prediction concerning the age of total administration is relevant for understanding current trends in legislation and technological development; as part of that effort detailed philosophical analyses of post-9/11 legislation are provided.
4. This project offers an attempt to draw out the philosophical relevance of Manuel Castells' work on "the network society."
Bowser, D. (2004). Being-in-the-Web: A Philosophical Investigation of Digital Existence in the Virtual Age (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1576