"Revolution? What Revolution?" Successes and limits of computing technologies in philosophy and religion

Ess, Charles (2004) "Revolution? What Revolution?" Successes and limits of computing technologies in philosophy and religion. In: A Companion to Digital Humanities. Blackwell Publishers, pp. 132-142.


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Computing technologies like other technological innovations in the modern West are inevitably introduced with the rhetoric of "revolution". Especially during the 1980s (the PC revolution) and 1990s (the Internet and Web revolutions), enthusiasts insistently celebrated radical changes— changes ostensibly inevitable and certainly as radical as those brought about by the invention of the printing press, if not the discovery of fire. These enthusiasms now seem very "1990s�—in part as the revolution stumbled with the dot.com failures and the devastating impacts of 9/11. Moreover, as I will sketch out below, the patterns of diffusion and impact in philosophy and religion show both tremendous success, as certain revolutionary promises are indeed kept—as well as (sometimes spectacular) failures. Perhaps we use revolutionary rhetoric less frequently because the revolution has indeed succeeded: computing technologies, and many of the powers and potentials they bring us as scholars and religionists have become so ubiquitous and normal that they no longer seem "revolutionary at all. At the same time, many of the early hopes and promises instantiated in such specific projects as Artificial Intelligence and anticipations of virtual religious communities only have been dashed against the apparently intractable limits of even these most remarkable technologies. While these failures are usually forgotten they leave in their wake a clearer sense of what these new technologies can, and cannot do.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computing technologies; philosophy; religion
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Medienphilosophie, Theorie der Virtualität, Cyberphilosophie
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2006
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:51
URI: http://sammelpunkt.philo.at/id/eprint/1155

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