Epochē, entertainment and ethics: On the hyperreality of everyday life [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 6 (4):261-269 (2004)
In this essay, I argue that popular entertainment can be understood in terms of Husserl’s concepts of epochē, reduction and constitution, and, conversely, that epochē, reduction and constitution can be explicated in terms of popular entertainment. To this end I use Husserl’s concepts to explicate and reflect upon the psychological and ethical effects of an exemplary instance of entertainment, the renowned Star Trek episode entitled “The Measure of a Man.” The importance of such an exercise is twofold: (1) to demonstrate, once again, the fecundity of the methodological procedures Husserl bequeathed to us; more than any other philosopher, he tapped into the fundamental manners in which we lose, make and remake the meanings of our lives; and (2) to demonstrate how popular entertainment, similarly, plays a central role in the making and remaking of the meanings of our lives. If my zig-zag procedure between Husserl’s philosophy and popular entertainment is productive and cogent, in addition to elucidating Husserl’s philosophy, it will demonstrate the reality-generating potency and the constitutive power of entertainment in the contemporary world. Entertainment, via ourselves, has become the primary producer of the meanings via which consciousness constitutes the world.
Keywords Husserl   Star Trek   constitution   entertainment   epoch   fiction   hyperreality   media   person   reduction
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