February 28, 2007
For Sartre, when humans start to resemble mechanical automatons it’s a bad thing — bad faith. I wonder, though, what he’d make of today’s world, where more and more of our casual daily transactions are mediated by machine interfaces of various kinds? Let’s call it robomediation — the process by which bank tellers are being replaced by ATMs, telephone operators by automated touch-tone and voice-recognition systems, soldiers by gun-toting Talons, financial journalists by report-writing programs and the taciturn guy at the video rental store by the wall-mounted DVD automat.
Site – http://www.wired.com
February 6, 2007
4. “I think therefore I am” – René Descartes (1596 – 1650) Descartes [wiki] began his philosophy by doubting everything in order to figure out what he could know with absolute certainty. Although he could be wrong about what he was thinking, that he was thinking was undeniable. Upon the recognition that “I think,” Descartes concluded that “I am.” On the heels of believing in himself, Descartes asked, What am I? His answer: a thinking thing (res cogitans) as opposed to a physical thing extended in three-dimensional space (res extensa). So, based on this line, Descartes knew he existed, though he wasn’t sure if he had a body. It’s a philosophical cliff-hanger; you’ll have to read Meditations to find out how it ends.
Site – http://www.neatorama.com