Harvard Book Store welcomes professor, author, and editor STÉPHANE VIAL and translator, editor, and former MIT Media Lab librarian PATSY BAUDOIN for a discussion of Stéphane’s new book, Being and the Screen: How the Digital Changes Perception, translated from the French by Patsy.
Digital technologies are not just tools; they are structures of perception. They determine the way in which the world appears to us. For nearly half a century, technology has provided us with perceptions coming from an unknown world. The digital beings that emerge from our screens and our interfaces disrupt the notion of what we experience as real, thereby leading us to relearn how to perceive.
In Being and the Screen, Stéphane Vial provides a philosophical analysis of technology in general, and of digital technologies in particular, that relies on the observation of experience (phenomenology) and the history of technology (epistemology). He explains that technology is no longer separate from ourselves— if it ever was. Rather, we are as much a part of the machine as the machine is part of us. Vial argues that the so-called difference between the real and the virtual does not exist and never has. We are living in a hybrid environment which is both digital and nondigital, online and offline. With this book, Vial endows philosophical meaning to what we experience daily in our digital age.
This book is published with the support of the University of Nîmes, France.
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.