A Solipsist Can’t Tell the Time : Changes in the Digital Subject from ‘Vocational Time’ to ‘Timeless Time’

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

To what extent are contemporary information and communication technologies (ICTs) implicated in an experience of time that can be characterised as ‘solipsistic’? Metaphysical solipsism, as Bertrand Russell put it, is ‘…the hypothesis that the world consists of myself and my thoughts and feelings and sensations, and that everything else is mere fancy’ (1959: 22). To what extent, then, are ICTs implicated in promoting the experience of time accompanying that world?

The essay is structured around three key concepts. Part one focuses on Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological concepts of ‘vocational time’ and ‘epochē’. Part two focuses on Manuel Castells’ sociological concept of ‘timeless time’. In part three, I conclude by arguing that ICTs do indeed promote a ‘solipsistic’ experience of time. Solipsism, in the strict metaphysical sense, is an absurd hypothesis; paradoxically, however, it can still be believed, practised, and, I argue, encouraged by certain artifacts and practices within our shared world. The argument is that we should be aware of this paradox in our interactions with ICTs.

(Source: Author's Abstract)

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Alvaro Seica