We are back at the issue of the logic of pictures versus verbal logic - the issue that so soon gained primary significance in the course of these exchanges. The other main issues were, I think: interactivity and simultaneity. And, philosophically speaking, the three paramount phenomena bound up with the rise of electronic communications in general, and multimedia computer networking in particular, are in fact these: the diminishing importance of the text as opposed to pictures and sounds - the collapse of Platonic meanings; the collapse of the writer/reader distinction; and the collapse of distance, both spatial and temporal.
``The work of the philosopher,'' Wittgenstein wrote, ``consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose.'' I have here assembled reminders pertaining to the world of computer networking we are all about to enter - assembled them for a particular purpose. A particular purpose which is, I believe, quite momentous. What this series of exchanges has shown, I think, is that the nature of the philosophical enterprise has radically changed. At the time I wrote my paper ``Electronic Networking and the Unity of Knowledge'' I did not yet realize this. I thought the task of philosophy was unmodified - even though the phenomena to be analyzed have become so very different. Today I believe that the task itself is an entirely new one.
Editor: J. C. Nyíri
University of Budapest
Michael A.R. Biggs