Education in an age of digital technologies

Joris Vlieghe

pp. 519-537

On the basis of a close reading of three authors (Flusser, Stiegler, and Agamben), I try to elucidate what the growing presence of digital technologies in our lives implies for the sphere of schooling and education. Developing a technocentric perspective, I discuss whether what is happening today concerns just the newest form of humankind's fundamental dependency on a technological milieu or that it concerns a fundamental shift. From Flusser, I take the idea that the practice of writing shapes human subjectivity, as well as our very sense of history and progress, and that with the advent of digital technologies the possibility of a posthistorical era is granted. I confront this idea with Stiegler's analysis of technological tools and practices as strongly materialized memories, which amounts to a plea for securing the link with the particular history behind the technologies we use. Here, education should play a conservative role and take responsibility for using technologies in a correct way. I argue that Stiegler is not wholly consistent on this point and, moreover, that his view precludes the possibility to rethink the very meaning of education under present (digital) conditions. This possibility is opened if we turn to a philosopher which is ruthlessly criticized by Stiegler for being a technophobe: Agamben. I argue, however, that a more detailed reading of Agamben—n combination with Flusser—might show a completely different and far more positive appreciation for digital technology and that this view offers an opening for rethinking what education is all about.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s13347-013-0131-x

Full citation:

Vlieghe, J. (2014). Review of Education in an age of digital technologies. Philosophy & Technology 27 (4), pp. 519-537.

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