The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2001

Intercultural Philosophy

George Teschner
Pages 247-257

The Humanities and Telecommunication Technology

Contemporary technology in the form of electronically managed interactive telecommunications is compatible with the goals and values of the humanities. Computerized communication (especially that of bulletin board technology) inverts the relationship between the degree of communicative interaction and the number of communicants. It is both mass communication and individualized participation. From the point of view of a theory of discourse, the bulletin board system is unique in that the ratio between the number of participants and the individualized nature of the interaction is directly proportional. One person’s voice does not inhibit or repress the voice of another. It is the technological embodiment of the ideal speech situation of Habermas that allows for the maximum of democratic participation and which, by allowing everyone to have a voice, allows for the greatest amount of dissensus and dialectic.