In episode four of the Digital Dialogue podcast, Allan Gyorke and I talk with recent PhD Philosophy graduate and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Michael Brownstein, about his work on the social practices embodied by web 2.0 technologies. We discuss his paper The Background, the Body and the Internet: Locating Practical Understanding in Digital Culture, in which he criticizes Hubert Dreyfus’s position that the internet is incapable of cultivating a genuine public space. Michael uses the work of Bourdieu to argue that the social fields opened by web 2.0 technologies are informed by a set of habits (in the sense of habitus) that lend themselves to scholarly study. This study, he calls, following Dreyfus’s characterization of Bourdieu’s project, an “empirical program of existential analytics.”
We discuss how these ideas relate to the question of Socratic politics and Michael presents some ideas about a new online journal being developed as part of an NSF grant on which he is working with colleagues at NJIT.
- Listen to Luciano Floridi on the Philosophy Bites podcast: http://nigelwarburton.typepad.com/philosophy_bites/
- Or read up on Floridi on his homepage: http://www.philosophyofinformation.net/
- See the Amazon page for Dreyfus’ new edition of On the Internet.
- Or read some of Dreyfus’ essays on technology and social practice, found on his homepage: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~hdreyfus/html/papers.html
- See the homepages for my co-PIs for the NSF grant: Robert Friedman @ http://web.njit.edu/~friedman/ and Brian Whitworth @ http://brianwhitworth.com/
- See Michael Brownstein’s faculty page at NJIT, though it is currently under construction (a link to my under-construction homepage will be there soon too, and papers and such will be on my homepage eventually): http://humanities.njit.edu/people/brownstein.php