The End of the Virtual? A Hermeneutical Approach to Digitality
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The purpose of this chapter is to offer the grounds for a double rehabilitation: that of hermeneutics on the one hand, and of the virtual, a concept that became popular especially between the 1980s and 1990, on the other hand. More precisely, hermeneutics will be used to lay foundations for the hypothesis according to which the virtual never ended. The argument will follow three steps. In the first section, the author accounts for theories on the end of the virtual, distinguishing between those who think that the real has invaded the virtual and those who say that it is rather the opposite. The second section, entitled “The Virtual Never Ended”, is a tribute to Philip K. Dick and his crazy idea that the Roman Empire never came to an end. The digital works through representational distanciation and performative appropriation, and it is precisely this process that makes the virtual a valid concept that still gives rise to thought, and which allows hermeneutics to be used in the context of digitality. Finally, in the concluding section, the author will briefly present the epistemological and ontological advantages of such a perspective.
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