It has been over three decades that Vilém Flusser expanded his philosophy of photography into a prophetic vision of humanities' leap into a universe of technical images. Revisiting the notion of the future of writing (and, as a consequence, the end of history) as well as the notion of a return of image-based thinking allows for directly questioning how digital technologies change the possible answers to the age-old quest of what it means to be human. This philosophically driven exploration of the digitalized world that we now inhabit is the goal of my paper. Using Flusser's unique phenomenological approach I will investigate the ways in which knowledge is formulated and how understanding is shaped by our altered being in the (digital) world. Flusser foresaw and anticipated but never actually experienced the fully connected existence of Homo Digitalis and engaging his ideas now is more important than ever. A separate but connected line of inquiry is the question of absence and presence, a dynamic that is at once at the core of how humans communicate and inhabit the world and a central concern of the effects of technology on us. The goal is to go beyond the cataloging of potential or already visible problems of digital technologies' impact on human psychology and think about the state of being that we are in now in a concrete and phenomenological way.
Phenomenology, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophy of Communication, Digital World
Technologies and Human Usability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Lecturer, Department of International Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, United States