(University of Turin, President of LabOnt – Laboratory for Ontology, Collège d’études mondiales, Paris http://www.labont.it/ferraris).
It is often said that the internet was the fourth revolution after Copernicus, Darwin and Freud. What we should add, though, is that just like the three revolutions that preceded it the Web was first of all a revelation – something we don’t quite understand yet and still have to deal with properly. What we are facing is a change as crucial as that from oral speech to writing, but the latter was widely studied, whereas the ontological implications of this transformation have been largely overlooked. Copernicus revealed the structure of the solar system, Darwin the origins of the human race, and Freud the foundations of consciousness; the Web has shown that social reality needs not only communication but – much more so – recording, unveiling the constitutive role of documents within social reality. “Documediality”, entails the fusion between the media (now individualized by social media, where every subject is a potential broadcaster) and documentality, the stratum of documents that grounds the construction of social reality.
Results: Twenty-five faculty and graduate student attendees from Philosophy, the CAS Dean’s office, and the Division of Emerging Media discussed this line of research, which takes the development of the world wide web to be of revolutionary importance in the history of social relations, and jettisons the psychologistic reductionism of the social ontologies of philosophers such as John Searle. A small dinner with the PI’s followed where future European initiatives in these areas of research in these areas was discussed.