Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age
by Pierre Levy
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0306457881, Hardcover)Pierre Levy takes a fresh look at the whole idea of what is virtual. He's responding to the widespread belief, and sometimes even panic, that a digital society with emphasis on virtual interactions is necessarily depersonalizing. He takes particular exception to the notion that "virtual" and "real" are opposites. Instead, Levy argues that virtuality is one of four modes of existence, the rest of which he describes as reality, possibility, and actuality. Each is defined in terms of its relationship with its environment.
In following Levy's world view, you may find that he interprets some or all of those terms in ways you're not used to, but the result is an interesting new approach to what it means to be part of an increasingly digital world. He examines the virtualization of several elements our society: the corporal body, text, the economy, language, technology, contracts, intelligence, subjects, and objects. What he finds is not a destruction of the personal so much as a transformation. Virtualization adds to, but does not replace, the real, the possible, and the actual. By understanding what virtualization means and involves, Levy believes that society will gain a greater variety of options for interaction in all areas. Becoming Virtual is a serious philosophical work, dense with ideas. It demands a lot from the reader, but rewards with an intriguing new perspective on inevitable social change. --Elizabeth Lewis
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:28:07 -0500)
Examining the cultural and social impact of new digital technologies, Levy tackles the concept of "the virtual," clearly defining it alongside "the real," "the actual," and "the possible." He shows how the body, the text, and the economy, are made virtual. He then reveals how the Internet and web sites are now transforming the virtual into a "collective intelligence" linked to digital communication. Though Levy agrees with many contemporary philosophers of science that these changes are producing a cultural revolution, he is uniquely optimistic. Allaying the fears of those who think technology will dehumanize society, he demonstrates how the virtual has always been an enduring component of the human mind.
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.