Irremediability: on the very concept of digital ontology

Clemens, J and Nash, A 2019, 'Irremediability: on the very concept of digital ontology' in Amand Lagerkvist (ed.) Digital Existence, Routledge, Oxon, United Kingdom, pp. 29-60.


Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: Book Chapters

Title Irremediability: on the very concept of digital ontology
Author(s) Clemens, J
Nash, A
Year 2019
Title of book Digital Existence
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Oxon, United Kingdom
Editor(s) Amand Lagerkvist
Start page 29
End page 60
Subjects Philosophy not elsewhere classified
Design History and Theory
Summary In Chapter 1, "Irremediability: On the Very Concept of 'Digital Ontol- ogy,'" Justin Clemens and Adam Nash set out by questioning whether there is such a thing as digital ontology at all, and if so, how it is different from 'traditional ontology,' or, at least, from 'non-digital' or 'pre-digital' ontol- ogy. They also probe what the adjective 'digital' actually signifies, includ- ing how it differs from 'data' or 'information.' The authors argue that the digital may in fact overturn the concept of 'ontology' itself, and that digital ontology is a paradoxical, nonsensical or contradictory phenomenon that resists its own consistent formalisation. Clemens and Nash begin with a pre- liminary analysis of some influential recent approaches in digital ontology (Floridi, Boellstoerff, Fredkin), showing that they prioritise epistemology over ontology. Next, they re-examine some of the most important twentieth- century ontologies (Heidegger, Simondon, Stiegler, Badiou), arguing that digital technologies expose new phenomena that have no precedent in any metaphysical or logical tradition. These comprise not only the extraordi- nary advances in 'positive' knowledge thereby gained (as are studied and manipulated under such rubrics as 'big data'), but also new kinds of cogni- tive deadlocks and dilemmas that have emerged. The authors conclude that digital technologies therefore present aporias, or impasses of knowledge, to any attempt to think the ontology of the digital and that it is only on the basis of these aporias that the new lineaments of a properly digital ontology can be discerned.
Copyright notice © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Amanda Lagerkvist; individual chapters, the contributors
Keyword(s) digital ontology
digital design philosophy
ISBN 9781138092433
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