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Modern Digital Philosophers: Who They Are And What They Do

Digital philosophy is a contemporary branch of philosophy that tackles traditional issues with a new approach: let’s discover its exponents.

Reality is constantly changing, and new phenomena influence people’s lives, the universe, relationships, and the social world and can determine crises to be faced or opportunities to be seized. Philosophy, a discipline that analyzes and asks questions about the world and the human being, can only change over time and consider the changes we are witnessing. 

New theories are elaborated, and strands of thought are born that aim to answer three big questions: what is life? What are consciousness, thinking and memory? And how does the universe work?

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Digital philosophy is a relatively recent branch of philosophy, which involves a study of reality through the integration of different disciplines such as physics, mathematics and metaphysics and the reinterpretation and reinterpretation of some philosophical principles developed in the past. It highlights an important moment for society: the invention of the computer, which, over time, has changed people’s approach to life and their mentality.

With digital philosophy, classical problems are faced from new points of view, new issues raised by contemporary reality are analyzed, and the activities of philosophers of the past are resumed, such as Kant, Descartes, Hobbes, Darwin, Hume and many other pillars of the history of philosophy. 

The contents of this new line are mainly related to the sector of innovation and technologies, in particular those of information. It is a world filled with ideas and theories developed by modern digital philosophers.

The Digital Philosophy: What It Is And When It Originated

The birth of digital philosophy cannot be traced back to an exact date and is not associated with a particular scholar. Its development is linked to a series of events and the contributions of different personalities from different disciplinary fields. Among these are found:

  • The publication, in 1943, of ‘ A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity’ by Warren Mc Culloch and Walter Pitts, neuropsychiatrist and mathematician, respectively;
  • The birth of information theory in 1948;
  • The debut of cybernetics in 1946;
  • The publication of Wiener’s Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine ;
  • Konrad Zuse ‘s ‘Calculating Space’, in which the theory that sees the universe as a vast computer is elaborated ;
  • The first computational physics conference was held in 1981 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Convention Center, where the term ‘digital philosophy’ was used for the first time.

The 1981 conference was attended by authoritarian personalities, such as Richard Feynman, John Archibald Wheeler, Rolf Landauer and many others.