Volume 7, Issue 17, Spring 2012
Spectral Machinery (or Beyond Essence and System)
The prospects for a phenomenology of technology have been guided in the past decade by a split between supporters of Martin Heidegger and those who subscribe to Bernard Stiegler’s critique of Heidegger. This essay proposes that both are needed for a phenomenology of what Edward Castronova calls “synthetic worlds” (large on-line environments like Second Life and World of Warcraft). Here is a phenomenology that must take into account histories of design and technical evolution to account for the particular “fantasy of disembodiment” that shapes a user’s experience of a synthetic world, forgetting the bodily engagement with hardware.