Place and Digital Space

Dissertation, University of Kentucky (2020)

Suraj Chaudhary
College of Wooster
The intersection of philosophies of space and technology is a fecund area of inquiry that has received surprisingly little attention in the philosophical literature. While the major accounts of space and place have not considered complexities introduced by recent technological developments, scholarship on the human-technology relationship has virtually ignored the spatial dimensions of this interaction. Place and Digital Space takes a step in addressing this gap in literature by offering an original, phenomenological account of place and using this framework to analyze digitally mediated spaces. I argue that places are continually evolving, internally heterogenous, and spatially distinct meaningful wholes with indeterminate boundaries. I then show how spaces mediated by digital technologies, particularly augmented reality (AR), are fundamentally different from ordinary places. The increasing use of AR, I argue, poses an unprecedented challenge to the way we interpret, engage with, and have collective experiences of everyday places. Finally, I identify ethical questions raised by the interpretation of spaces by artificial intelligence, by the unauthorized augmentation of places, and by the possibility of a few companies with big data dominating the virtual modifications of public places.
Keywords Augmented Reality  Phenomenology of Space  Philosophy of Space  Philosophy of Technology  Virtual Space
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