[SydPhil] [Philosophy at Western Sydney Seminar] Patrick Stokes, How Do We Live With the Digital Dead?, 16 August 2017

PhilosophyatWesternSydney philosophy at westernsydney.edu.au
Thu Aug 10 22:30:24 AEST 2017

Philosophy @ Western Sydney - Seminar

Patrick Stokes (Deakin)-"How Do We Live With the Digital Dead?"

In The Work of Mourning, Jacques Derrida claims that mourning cannot be directed to the dead, who no longer exist, but only towards our 'interiorization' of them: "the [deceased] friend can no longer be but in us". Such a view coheres with the widespread intuition that practices such as commemorating the dead, honouring deathbed promises etc. relate to the memory of the dead rather than to the dead person themselves. Yet with the rise of the phenomenon of posthumous online persistence - the way in which deceased internet users leave remarkably rich digital traces such as Facebook profiles - the dead increasingly persist in an exterior, visible, public form. We are, as Adam Buben has recently put it, "getting better at leaving our survivors with less to miss," and as I've argued previously, this makes it easier for the dead to persist as social entities and moral patients in our lifeworld. Proposed technologies, such as animated avatars of the dead, push the phenomenal depth of this persistence even further. This leads to a concern that the ontological ambiguity of the dead - their status as both still part of our moral lifeworld and yet radically absent - may simply collapse; the dead, instead of being mourned, might simply be replaced with simulacra. This raises an important question: can we continue to live with the digital dead without forgetting that they are dead? What features of our relationship to the dead would make this possible?

Patrick Stokes is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University, Melbourne. He has previously held research fellowships in the UK, Denmark, and the US. He works on issues of personal identity, temporality, death, and moral psychology. He is the author of The Naked Self (Oxford, 2015) and Kierkegaard's Mirrors (Palgrave, 2010), and co-editor with John Lippitt of Narrative, Identity, and the Kierkegaardian Self (Edinburgh, 2015) and with Adam Buben of Kierkegaard and Death (Indiana, 2011). He is a frequent contributor to New Philosopher, The Conversation, and a media commentator on philosophical matters.

Date/Time: Wednesday 16 August 2017, 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm
Place: University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.54 [How to get to Bankstown Campus]<http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown>

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