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The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality$
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Michael Heim

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092585

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092585.001.0001

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Thought Processing

Thought Processing

(p.41) 4 Thought Processing
The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality

Michael Heim

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how computers change the landscape of reading information from mechanical print into software configuration. This change however is not without epistemological implications. For one, computers affect the way we represent what we know. Knowledge comes across differently, so that absorbing and thinking about information changes. The chapter focuses on the concept of outlining as an example. Radically different from the passive printed outlines, the computer outline forges an interactive give-and-take between the user and the computer. Modern outline programs however contain structural formats that affect the way we shape our thoughts. The chapter states that software programs are not neutral territories that are untouched by human intention. Their design contains underlying agenda that shapes how we think within the digital environment.

Keywords:   outline, thought processing, Ramist movement, word processing, reading

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