“Conversation of Mankind” or “idle talk”?: a pragmatist approach to Social Networking Sites [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 12 (2):195-206 (2010)
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What do Social Networking Sites (SNS) ‘do to us’: are they a damning threat or an emancipating force? Recent publications on the impact of “Web 2.0” proclaim very opposite evaluative positions. With the aim of finding a middle ground, this paper develops a pragmatist approach to SNS based on the work of Richard Rorty. The argument proceeds in three steps. First, we analyze SNS as conversational practices. Second, we outline, in the form of an imaginary conversation between Rorty and Heidegger, a positive and negative ‘conversational’ view on SNS. Third, we deploy a reflection, again using Rortian notions, on that evaluation, starting from the concept of ‘self-reflectivity.’ Finally, the relations between these three steps are more detailedly investigated. By way of the sketched technique, we can interrelate the two opposing sides of the recent debates—hope and threat—and judge SNS in all their ambiguity



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Yoni Van Den Eede
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Truth and method.Hans-Georg Gadamer - 1975 - New York: Continuum. Edited by Joel Weinsheimer & Donald G. Marshall.
Truth and Method.H. G. Gadamer - 1975 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36 (4):487-490.

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