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5.0 out of 5 stars The attraction and dangers of Internet Platonism, Aug. 2 2001
This review is from: On the Internet (Paperback)
The Internet Book raises the following questions: Can we leave our vulnerable bodies while preserving relevance, learning, reality, and meaning? The latest book of Hubert Dreyfus will examine in complete details the various perspectives -of the Net through the eyes of a Philosopher -the attraction of life on the Internet as a way of achieving Plato's dream of overcoming space and time as well as bodily finitude (as Plato said Learning takes place independent of Time and Space in Mind). Drawing on philosophers such as Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hubert Dreyfus discussed and seriously criticised the Net. In his criticism, he explained -that, in spite of its attraction, the more one lives one's life through the Net the more loses a sense of what is relevant, and so faces the problem of finding the information one is seeking. Also, in spite of economic attraction of distance learning, such learning by substituting telepresence for real presence (how much presence is delivered by the telepresence?), leaves no place for risk-taking an apprenticeship which plays a crucial role in all types of skill acquisition. Furthermore, without a sense of bodily vulnerability, one looses a sense of reality of the physical world and one's sense that one can trust other people. Finally, he discussed while the anonymity of the Net makes possible experimentation, the overall effect of the NET is to undermine commitment (what Kierkegaard spelled out in The Present Age) thus to deprive life of any serious meaning.
In the above book-the author tried to give answers in greater depth to the questions, which is important in field of humanities and Philosophy -that why reach beyond ourselves and our humanity? Why seek to become posthuman? Why not accept our human limits and renounce transcendence?
In my view, the book On the Internet discussed in greater depth the important question How does the Dreyfus's Skill developmental model and his non-representational learning relate to the Internet-facilitated education!
The book is divided into four chapters:
Chapter 1. Hyperlinks -In this chapter The hype about hyper-links Professor Dreyfus discussed the hope for intelligent information retrieval and the failure of AI. He raised one good question, how the actual shape and movement of our bodies plays a crucial role in grounding meaning so that loss of embodiment leads to loss of relevance.
Chapter 2. Distance-Learning -In this chapter, How far is Distance Learning from Education? Hubert Dreyfus discussed the importance of mattering and attunement for teaching and learning skills and phenomenology of skill acquisition. Apprenticeship and the need for imitation. Without involvement and presence -he said we cannot acquire skills.
Chapter 3. Telepresence -The chapter, Disembodied Telepresence and the remoteness of the Real will let us know about -the body as source of our presence of causal embedding and attunement to mood. Hubert Dreyfus has raised a question, how loss of background coping and attunement leads to loss of sense of reality of people and things. (I see something like you, but I don't see you and I hear something like you, but I don't hear you)
Chapter 4. Nihilism -The last chapter (most important), Nihilism on the Information Highway: Anonymity vs. commitment in the Present Age discussed in details about the meaning, requires commitment and real commitment requires real risks. The anonymity and safety of virtual commitments on-line, leads to loss of meaning. In this chapter, Prof. Dreyfus translated the Soren Kierkegaardian view of The Present Age to the Net.
The book is highly recommended to educators, techno philosophers and techno enthusiasts. Thank you.
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