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We Need to Talk About Heidegger

Essays Situating Martin Heidegger in Contemporary Media Studies

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Edited By Justin Michael Battin and German A. Duarte

This collection assembles a number of chapters engaging different strands of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy in order to explore issues relevant to contemporary media studies. Following the release of Heidegger’s controversial Black Notebooks and the subsequent calls to abandon the philosopher, this book seeks to demonstrate why Heidegger, rather than be pushed aside and shunned by media practitioners, ought to be embraced by and further incorporated into the discipline, as he offers unique and often innovative pathways to address, and ultimately understand, our daily engagements with media-related phenomena.

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Self-Understanding in the Age of the Selfie: Kierkegaard, Dreyfus, and Heidegger on Social Networks

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Before the rise of social networks and the pervasiveness of smart phones, thinking on how everyday life would be if we were to live our lives in the “vast, invisible, interconnected infrastructure” of the internet, philosopher Hubert Dreyfus posed a question: “will it indeed make our lives better? What would be gained and what if anything, would be lost if we were to take leave of our situated bodies in exchange for ubiquitous telepresence in cyberspace?”1 Fifteen years later, our ubiquitous telepresence in cyberspace is no longer a thought experiment but a reality. With approximately one billion active daily users on Facebook, three hundred million on twitter and one hundred million on Instagram, it is not farfetched to say that our telepresence in cyberspace by way of social networks has become an integral part of people’s everyday lives.

This phenomenon raises numerous questions about the effects this has on people’s day-to-day lives. Namely, how has self-understanding been affected by social networks? How does the self relate to its virtual online counterpart? Following Dreyfus, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger I hope to shed some light on these questions.

For Kierkegaard, the self is a relation that relates itself to itself. In other words, my understanding of who I am is directly dependent upon the stand I take on being that self. This stand however, is not a reflective, detached, or rational interpretation of who I am, but rather an active stance on the factical part of...

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