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In Spirits in the Material World: The Challenge of Technology, Gil Germain provocatively argues that humans are fast becoming spirit-like creatures, beings who assume their bodies are incidental to what it means to be human, and the 'real world' an accidental quality of the human condition. Technology, it is suggested, authorizes such an understanding and legitimates a manner of action that obscures the centrality of embodiment. Technology properly understood is thus an otherworldly or spiritual force. Spirits in the Material World challenges the assumptions underpinning the technological world view through a reading of leading contemporary theorists who have addressed the interconnection between technology and embodiment. The book both reveals and contests the multifarious ways in which technology's spiritual thrust is manifested in contemporary thought and practice. While respecting technology's hold on modernity and its predisposition toward disembodiment, Germain gives important reasons why this inclination toward spiritization ought to be resisted and what shape this resistance must take if it is to be meaningful. Spirits in the Material World will appeal to a broad spectrum of scholars and students alike, especially those interested in philosophy of technology, postmodernism, political theory, phenomenology, the end of history debate, and deep ecology.
Chapter 1. As Real As It Gets: Derrida Chapter 2. Reality Show: Baudrillard Chapter 3. Reality Shows: Virilio Chapter 4. The Fate of the Real: Lyotard Chapter 5. Getting Real(er)
Posted November 23, 2009
"Gil Germain uses a subtle and careful analysis of four French philosophers to illuminate our implication in technology and our tenuous hold on reality. We need to pay close attention to Germain's insights if we are to recover a more grounded and substantial way of life." -- ALBERT BORGMANN, author of "Holding On to Reality" and "Real American Ethics"
"This widely learned study by Gil Germain explains why technology is both a problem and a problem-solver. His book carefully analyzes virtual reality in terms of contemporary philosophy and scholarship. Profoundly thought provoking!" -- MICHAEL HEIM, author of "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality" and "Virtual Realism"
"There is do doubt that our technology "does indeed rearrange the world so that we do not have to experience it". What in our experience is 'real' and how has our technology shaped or contorted the human spirit? Gil Germain addresses these questions through a clear presentation and penetrating analysis of modern French Philosophy and then advances a bold synthesis which compels us to ask ourselves what it means to be alive today. My students will read this fine book." -- TOM DARBY, author of "The Feast: Meditations on Technology and Empire"