The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Time has been studied by philosophers and scientists for 2,500 years, and it is much better understood today than long ago. Nevertheless, many questions remain to be resolved. Philosophers discuss whether time travel is possible; whether time had a beginning; whether time is an objective feature of reality or only a product of subjective experience; and whether it is sensible to speak of time flowing.
On the Linguistic Nature of Cyberspace and Virtual Communities
by Anna Cicognani
This paper presents an hypothesis for a linguistic explanation of the nature of Virtual Communities. Virtual Communities develop and grow in the electronic space, which can be considered an instance of space. Some authors (Benedikt, Meyrowitz, Mitchell) have presented hypotheses on the nature of the electronic space; other authors, eg. Lefebvre, Popper, Peter Lamborn Wilson, aka Hakim Bey, Kuhn, have given approaches to the understanding of the nature of space, although not directly related to electronic space which are helpful to support my hypothesis. From the works of these authors, the paper presents a perspective of how electronic space (or cyberspace) can be considered language based. The author argues that a definition of electronic space cannot be given beyond its linguistic characteristics, which underlie and sustain it. The author’s belief is that the more we understand the relationship between language and cyberspace, the more we are able to use specific metaphors for dwelling and inhabiting it. In particular, MUDs/MOOs and the Web are interesting places for testing and observing social behaviours and dynamics.
Words and Meaning in Cyberspace
We may scratch designs on the caves of Lascaux, or post our ideas on the Motley Fool stock boards—either way we humans have a need to express ourselves. We seek to be connected. Unfortunately, our messages some times misfire and leave us more disconnected than when we started. In cyberspace, communication is especially difficult as so many clues once relied on no longer exist. The visual clues of physical presence are missing, so too the auditory clues picked up in conversation. Faced with blank computer screens and a motley arrangement of ciphers we call a keyboard, we’re an impoverished lot, with only words to express ourselves.
Presence and Form in the Architecture of Cyberspace
by Borre Ludvigsen
This paper is an introduction to the concepts of cyberspace and those elements by which it may take form as it expands from its science-fiction birthplace to the world of everyman’s space of digital dreams, virtual realities and the meetings of minds. As such, it is and will be visited and inhabited by a growing population who’s ambitions and aspirations for security, freedom and personal gain will determine the form of that digital space in which they are momentarily present.
Cyberspace as Utopia
by adrian mihalache
The creation of cyberspace was accompanied by a surge of enthusiasm, which soon found romantic expression outlets. John Perry Barlow’s Cyberspace Declaration of Independence reels with prophetic overtones:
“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us…”
To be in touch or not? Some remarks on communication in virtual environments
by Barbara Becker
At a first glance, text-based communication in virtual environments, i.e. in MUDs and MOOs, is characterized by an absence of the physical body. In fact, the possibility to escape from the own body seems to be one of the main motivational factors to participate in virtual spaces. Even if we agree that the body is still there as a social and discoursive construct, we have to admit that the sense of embodiment in virtual environments is an entirely constructed feeling, coming mainly from our consciousness and not from our physical and sensual impressions.
…’Better than (Real)Life’: Cyberspace as Urban Space
by Gordon Fletcher
The notion of cyberspace is a contemporary urban phenomena. An observation which in the light of contemporary modes of interpretation may alternatively be heavily laden with meaning or, equally, meaningless. This paper avers the former by arguing that the articulation and construction of cyberspace has informed and redefined current formations of the ‘urban’. Cyberspace, itself, is a consequence of previous and current social formations which impact upon it, including notions of the ‘urban’. Of particular interest within these formations is the manner in which cyberspace forces questions regarding the solidity of ‘certain’ dichotomies and, in so doing, presents a theoretical and cultural environment which supports various claimed tenets of postmodernity. This paper focusses upon questions surrounding the artefactual aspects of cyberspace to indicate the extent of its urbanity and to suggest that the lack of a physical ‘reality’ is not an impediment to urban development.
The Psychology of Avatars and Graphical Space in Multimedia Chat Communities
by John Suler
Visual chat is a simple way to describe them, although they have gone by a variety of other names, such as multimedia chat, GMUKS (graphical multi-user konversations), and “habitats,” a term coined by Randy Farmer, the first to invent them. They are something of a cross between a MOO and a traditional chat room. As social environments, they are unique in that they are graphical. Rather than limiting users to text-only communications, as in most chat rooms, multimedia programs add a visual dimension that creates the illusion of movement, space, and physicality. It allows people to express their identity VISUALLY, rather than just through written words. The result is a whole new realm for self-expression and social interaction with subtleties and complexities not seen in text-only chat rooms.