As the technological phenomenon known as the worldwide web permeates civilization, it creates some cultures and destroys others. In this pioneering book, philosopher Thomas Langan explores "virtual reality"Can inherently contradictory phrase"and the effects of technology on our very being. In our present-day high- technology environment, making simple, everyday decisions is difficult because the virtual world we've created doesn't necessarily operate according to the old "common sense." To retain our intellectual fitness, we must, Langan argues, consider these essential questions: If virtual (...) reality is, in fact, reality, what is this life that we are caught up in? What is _being_ within the context of virtual reality? How can we establish a system for distinguishing truth from fiction? Although technology minimizes distances between people and makes the information they seek more accessible, it simultaneously blurs the line dividing fact from falsehood and real from virtual. An individual's intellectual survival is threatened as technological advancement challenges our collective understanding of what reality is. Because much of the information that is presented as fact simply works to fulfill a specific agenda, we cannot accept as truth everything that appears on the internet or in the media. To survive, we must learn to manage our lives and resources despite the flood of information we are bombarded with daily. Addressing the general educated reader, _Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality_ expertly interweaves the worlds of technology and philosophy, pushing the analysis of this technological and human phenomenon to new depths. (shrink)
The question of "the sense of it all" is usually interpreted against the background of Christian theology of history and of its paradoxical offspring, Marxist philosophy of history. Both have proposed clear-cut and absolute interpretations of "the sense of it all." Those who reject either sort of construction tend to carry over their suspicion to any project of searching in history for sense in any sense of the term. For this reason, "substantive" philosophy of history has fallen on fallow days.
Dray restricts himself in Laws and Explanations in History to a cautious examination of the popular "covering law theory" of historical explanation and of the sense of "causal explanation" as applied to history. He deftly dialogues in their own terms with those who would make the end of history the subsuming of particular incidents under general laws, carefully marshalling evidence to show that what such theorists treat as "exceptions" actually go to prove that the interest and validity of history lie (...) much closer to the particular event than to the general explanation. (shrink)
Some sort of resistant, some kind of "given" with which the "Self" must struggle, is lurking in each of these suggestions. A quick survey of them seems to suggest that at least four categories of "givens" must be taken into account in the struggle of self-realization. 1) There is a primordial level of "givenness," consisting of the fixed structures of our "nature" and of those of our inherited temperament; 2) there is all that is subsequently, historically acquired--cultural habits, dispositions, and (...) conceptions; 3) there is the style, built-up of our whole personal past unified by our fundamental projections; 4) finally, there is a kind of given that is unqualifiedly "other," that is entirely outside of me: the other people, the institutions, and the things encountered in my situation. (shrink)