Electric Language: A Philosophical Study of Word Processing

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Yale University Press, Jan 1, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 309 pages
In this book Michael Heim provides the first consistent philosophical basis for critically evaluating the impact of word processing on our use of and ideas about language. This edition includes a new foreword by David Gelernter, a new preface by the author, and an updated bibliography. "Not only important but seminal, on the cutting-edge, furrowing new conceptual territory."-Walter J. Ong, S.J. "A philosopher ponders how the word processor has affected language use and our ideas about it. Heim shrewdly updates a school of thought, associated with such thinkers as Walter Ong, that maintains all changes in writing technology tend to change the way we perceive the world. His argument that word processing leads to fragmented thinking should be addressed and debated."-Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer "The arguments range over all of Western philosophy (and some Eastern as well), from the ancient Greeks to contemporary phenomenology. . . . Everyone who has used a word processor will find much to think about in Heim's ideas."-David Weinberger, Byte "Fascinating, clear, and well-done . . . stimulating and challenging."-Don Ihde, Philosophy and Rhetoric

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Contents

Introduction
1
Thought Word and Reality
21
The Theory of Transformative Technologies
46
The Finite Framework of Language
70
The Psychic Framework of Word Processing
97
The Phenomenon of Word Processing
127
The Book and the Classic Model of Mind
191
Compensatory Disciplines
225
Notes
249
Bibliography
293
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Michael Henry Heim was born in New York on January 21, 1943. He received an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Slavic languages from Harvard University. He was fluent in Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian and Serbian/Croatian and possessed a reading knowledge of six more languages. He became a professor of Slavic languages at the University California at Los Angeles in 1972 and served as chairman of the Slavic languages department from 1999 to 2003. He was known for his translations of works by Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Thomas Mann and Anton Chekhov. He received numerous awards for his work including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize in 2005, the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 2009, and the PEN Translation Prize in 2010. He died from complications of melanoma on September 29, 2012 at the age of 69.

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