Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 15, Issue 3, Fall 2011

Phenomenology and Classroom Computer Simulation

Norm Friesen
Pages 185-200

Dissection and Simulation
Brilliance and Transparency, or Encumbrance and Disruption?

The increasing use of online simulations as replacements for animal dissection in the classroom or lab raises important questions about the nature of simulation itself and its relationship to embodied educational experience. This paper addresses these questions first by presenting a comparative hermeneutic-phenomenological investigation of online and offline dissection. It then interprets the results of this study in terms of Borgmann’s (1992) notion of the intentional “transparency” and “pliability” of simulated hyperreality. It makes the case that it is precisely encumbrance and disruption—elements that are by definition excluded from simulations and interfaces—which give dissection its educational value.