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On the Internet (Thinking in Action) Paperback – December 17, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0415775168 ISBN-10: 0415775167 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...sharp and stimulating discussion of the promises of the Intenet. Going beyond the hype of the cybercrowd, Dreyfus a celebrated writer on philosophy and technology, asks whether the Internet can really bring humanity to a new level of community and solve the problems of mass education. Dreyfus' critique of huper learning provides much food for thought and raises the level of the discussions amongst concerned educators and technologists.
First Monday

A clear discussion of the promises of the Internet...brings a philosopher's eye to bear on an issue that affects all of us..
Ubiquity

Interesting and definitely much needed...a short and thought provoking book that can be read by any net enthusiast and/or scholar who is interested in the topics of learning, knowledge and identity in relation to the Internet..
Humanist

At a time when bookstores and magazine stands are saturated with titles about the internet, it comes as no small, blessed relief to read one that is actually interesting and realistic, whose arguments are worth thinking about and engaging with Whether you're a novice to the internet or someone deeply involved with it - as a user or developer - On the Internet will engage you in topics ranging from the seemingly mundane (hyperlinks) to current trends toward distance learning..
Tech Directions

This book is an important addition to the growing literature on the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet.
Revue Philosophique --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Hubert Dreyfus is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School at the University of California at Berkeley, USA.

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Product Details

  • Series: Thinking in Action
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (December 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415775167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415775168
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hubert Dreyfus is Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he taught at MIT, before coming to Berkeley in l968. Dreyfus has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has received research grants from both the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He holds a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
You can follow him on Twitter @hubertdreyfus; or on Facebook at "All Things Shining".

Customer Reviews

In this shared context students can turn information into knowledge and practical wisdom.
Arun Kumar
In this book, Hubert Dreyfus presents a philosophical study of how the Internet experientially impacts our lives.
Irfan A. Alvi
This approach itself promises for some interesting questions and some very intriguing answers or theories.
Takis Tz.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Arun Kumar on August 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Internet Book raises the following questions: Can we leave our vulnerable bodies while preserving relevance, learning, reality, and meaning? The latest book of Hubert Dreyfus examines in complete details the various perspectives -of the Net through the eyes of a Philosopher -the attraction of life on the Internet as a way of achieving Plato's dream of overcoming space and time as well as bodily finitude. Drawing on philosophers such as Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hubert Dreyfus discussed and seriously criticised the Net. In his criticism in the book, he explaines -that, in spite of its attraction, the more one lives one's life through the Net the more loses a sense of what is relevant, and so faces the problem of finding the information one is seeking. Also, in spite of economic attraction of distance learning, such learning by substituting telepresence for real presence (how much presence is delivered by the telepresence?), leaves no place for risk-taking an apprenticeship which plays a crucial role in all types of skill acquisition. Furthermore, without a sense of bodily vulnerability, one looses a sense of reality of the physical world and one's sense that one can trust other people. Finally, he discusses while the anonymity of the Net makes possible experimentation, the overall effect of the NET is to undermine commitment (what Kierkegaard spelled out in The Present Age) thus to deprive life of any serious meaning.
This fascinating discovery shows that the Internet has profound and unexpected effects. Presumably, it affects people in ways that are different than the way most tools do because it can become the main way someone relates to the rest of the world.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By YARIME Masaru on June 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Books on the Internet abound these days, but there are few which take serious philosophical approaches to this important technology. This book is a welcome exception. Referring to Existentialistic thinkers such as Kierkegaard, the author discusses how the anonymity and ubiquity of the Internet will affect our involvement with the "World." He argues that the absence of physical body, locality, and concreteness in the Internet communication will invite the loss of our commitmentted action, ultimately leading to "despair." This arguement is particularly interesting when it is compared with the rather positive view to the rational "public sphere" advocated by Habermas and others.
I would recommend this book to anybody who cares about the implications of the Internet for our life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William F. Heidbreder on January 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dreyfus is a Heidegger scholar who is also known for his books explaining "why computers can't think." This short (it can be read in an evening), provocative book discusses some of the problems of reliance on the Internet as a source of information and an educational forum, in a way that is interestingly informed by Dreyfus's study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. I highly recommend this book both to students of Continental philosophy (the author's use of Kierkegaard to argue against Habermas's notion of the "public sphere" as the locus of a meaningfully participatory democracy is especially provocative) and to anyone who has ever wondered whether the Internet really is making our lives better. Dreyfus explains why and how it may not be.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a very little book dealing with a very big subject: does the internet add or detract from meaning in our lives? Such a topic can be covered only in a cursory way within 107 pages, but the major issues are represented in this book, and provide valuable food for thought.
Some of the questions asked are: can the internet deliver us from our bodily selves? Can the internet be used to disseminate information more efficiently and more universally? Can the internet democratize education and produce experts? What is the effect of the internet on the real? And, lastly, what are the implications of meaning in our lives concerning the internet?
These are all good questions, and each one could fill a volume on its own. Nonetheless, this book is a survey on the topics, and each topic is dealt with in about 20-30 pages.
On the issue of disembodiment and the internet, Dreyfus goes out on a limb himself while accusing others of doing the same. Why rely on the vision of the 'Extropians' (whose website is still active as of this typing) for guidance about how people are using and conceiving the internet? The vision of the web as a disembodied non-physical realm where humans will no longer have to deal with intestinal gas is a vision shared by very, very few. Dreyfus gives this concept far too much validity, and the first section of this book creates a sort of 'phantom threat' of people wanting to release themselves from their bodies (he calls it 'Cyberia'), and warnings about the consequences of wanting to do so.
The interesting part of the first section is the discussion of the failure of AI and the failing hope that cyberbeings will one day replace human beings. Those who are freaked out by the implications of 'The Matrix' will find comfort here.
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