Being Riajuu [ Open image in new window ]

A Phenomenological Analysis of Sentimental Relationships with “Digital Others”
  • Nicola LiberatiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10715)


The aim of this paper is to study the possibility of sentimental relationships between human and digital beings. We are interested in what kind of “other” a digital being can be for a human subject because it is the first step in understanding how our intimate lives will be shaped by the introduction of new digital technologies.

Today computer technologies are growing fast, and they are becoming pervasive. They are intertwining their digital content with every aspect of our everyday lives and they are placing themselves as our “companions”. This co-existence is so tight that it is possible to think of sentimental relationships growing between users and these devices. We will analyse these relationships from a phenomenological perspective by introducing the Japanese term riajuu [ Open image in new window ] which tackles the problem of having a sentimental and intimate relationship with a digital being. Moreover, thanks to Husserl’s phenomenology, we will show how it is important to discern the digital content of the “other” from how this entity relates to the subject.

We will show if the subject can build with a digital other an intimate relationship even when users know it is not a human person they are dealing with.


Phenomenology Postphenomenology Human-robot intimate relationships Riajuu 



The author is supported by the NWO VICI project “Theorizing Technological Mediation: toward an empirical-philosophical theory of technology” (grant number: 277-20-006).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeNetherlands

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