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January 02, 2007



One wonders how much time Dreyfus has actually spent either learning or teaching online: something about his use of the word "terminal" as quoted in spiked, suggests to me, not much.

Based purely on personal anecdotal evidence rather than science (as are his opinions, I assume), I would take issue with a number of his assertions (again as quoted in spiked). For instance, although the internet indeed allows everyone to express an opinion, in my experience many such people are passionately committed to arguing that opinion, and particular blog communities easily spot the drive-by trolls. I don't see the level of "risky involvement" as being any less. And he evidently hasn't used video-Skype.

On the upside, I find on-line philosophy very satisfying because of its asynchronous nature. There is time to propose a point carefully but in informal language, without risk of being left behind by the flow of conversation. You can also go back and refine your point afterwards.

I should think there could also be an upside for either teacher or student in not being distracted by the other's unpleasant, irritating, or possibly all-too-attractive physical presence.

Paul Fichte

Dreyfus really messed up bad in this chapter. (Perhaps even the whole book.) It's a disgrace to his good name.

I love how he says in the intro: "We leave behind our bodies" on the Internet - our bodies are not left behind online, just filtered.


In response to the question about Dreyfus and distance learning, look up his podcasts; the man is an avid user of podcasting to increase the audience of his philosophy lectures.

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