This is the first monograph to develop a hermeneutic approach to the digital—as both a technological milieu and a cultural phenomenon. While philosophical in its orientation, the book covers a wide body of literature across science and technology studies, media studies, digital humanities, digital sociology, cognitive science, and the study of artificial intelligence.
In the first part of the book, the author formulates an epistemological thesis according to which the “virtual never ended.” Although the frontiers between the real and the virtual are certainly more porous today, they still exist and endure. In the book’s second part, the author offers an ontological reflection on emerging digital technologies as “imaginative machines.” He introduces the concept of emagination, arguing that human schematizations are always externalized into technologies, and that human imagination has its analog in the digital dynamics of articulation between databases and algorithms. The author takes an ethical and political stance in the concluding chapter. He resorts to the notion of "digital habitus" for claiming that within the digital we are repeatedly being reconducted to an oversimplified image and understanding of ourselves.
Digital Hermeneutics will be of interest to scholars across a wide range of disciplines, including those working on philosophy of technology, hermeneutics, science and technology studies, media studies, and the digital humanities.
Table of Contents
Overture: The Idealism of Matter
Part I: The Virtual Never Ended
1. The Virtual Invaded the Real
2. The Real Invaded the Virtual
Part II: Emagination
3. Imaginative Machines
4. We Have Never Been Engineers
Finale: The Indifferent Ones
Alberto Romele is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Lille Catholic University, France. He is the co-editor of Towards a Philosophy of Digital Media (2018).
"Digital Hermeneutics is a must-read for all interested in understanding the role of the human interpreter as well as the part played by technologies and the digital. The author presents new and refreshing ideas that will engage and provoke academics from both humanities and the social sciences." – Jan Kyrre Berg Friis, University of Copenhagen, Denmark