Philosophy of Emerging Media: Understanding, Appreciation, Application

Philosophy of Emerging Media: Understanding, Appreciation, Application

Philosophy of Emerging Media: Understanding, Appreciation, Application

Philosophy of Emerging Media: Understanding, Appreciation, Application


The term "emerging media" responds to the "big data" now available as a result of the larger role digital media play in everyday life, as well as the notion of "emergence" that has grown across the architecture of science and technology over the last two decades with increasing imbrication. The permeation of everyday life by emerging media is evident, ubiquitous, and destined to accelerate. No longer are images, institutions, social networks, thoughts, acts of communication, emotions and speech-the "media" by means of which we express ourselves in daily life-linked to clearly demarcated, stable entities and contexts. Instead, the loci of meaning within which these occur shift and evolve quickly, emerging in far-reaching ways we are only beginning to learn and bring about. This volume's purpose is to develop, broaden and spark future philosophical discussion of emerging media and their ways of shaping and reshaping the habitus within which everyday lives are to be understood. Drawing from the history of philosophy ideas of influential thinkers in the past, intellectual path makers on the contemporary scene offer new philosophical perspectives, laying the groundwork for future work in philosophy and in media studies. On diverse topics such as identity, agency, reality, mentality, time, aesthetics, representation, consciousness, materiality, emergence, and human nature, the questions addressed here consider the extent to which philosophy should or should not take us to be facing a fundamental transformation.


A great intellectual pleasure of teaching at Boston University is that, as the fourth largest private university in the United States—comprised of seventeen schools and colleges, all constructed around the heart of Arts and Sciences—the possibilities for interaction among colleagues who do things quite differently, and come from quite different orbits, are real. Our university is changing, and attempting to do so rapidly enough to meet, and even define, the needs of twenty-first-century education. Its aim is to accelerate intellectual achievement in research and teaching while also developing innovative undergraduate and graduate education programs that are rigorous and oriented toward research, while remaining relevant and engaged with career needs of our students, who share a truly global and local profile.

James E. Katz arrived at Boston University from Rutgers in 2012, having been recruited to build our country’s first graduate program in “Emerging Media Studies”, located in the School of Communications, heretofore largely a journalism and television school couched at the undergraduate and professional levels. His previous accomplishments included being the first sociologist to predict the ubiquituous use of cell phones, back in the early 1990s. Having moved his Center for Mobile Communications Studies to Boston from New Jersey, he needed to devise a creative curriculum for his new MA and PhD programs. Looking ahead, behind, and sideways, he contacted Juliet Floyd, based in the philosophy department, for advice on the emerging character of the university. James had already conceived a plan to hold a conference on “philosophy of emerging media”, and drew Juliet into the enterprise of fashioning a philosophy textbook that could be used, immediately, for the incoming class of students but also one that would have enduring interest to a broad-gauged audience of students and scholars.

We look forward to using the volume here next fall, and trust it will stimulate further teaching and research in these and surrounding fields.

J.F. J.E.K. Brookline, MA, February 21, 2015 . . .

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