Meditations sur le reel et le virtuel

(Meditations on the real and the virtual - in French)

Denis Berthier


L'Harmattan Publisher, May 2004, 16 rue des Ecoles, 75005 Paris
Collection "Imp@cts des Nouvelles Technologies", dirigŽe par Roche Chatelain
25 euros, (280 pages, 16x24 cm)
ISBN : 2-7475-6640-4
EAN : 9782747566407

This book can be ordered in any bookstore or directly from the publisher

Press release, May 3rd, 2004

"Meditations on the real and the virtual"
authored by Denis Berthier, professor at the National Institute of Telecommunications,
L'Harmattan publishers, "Impact of New Technologies" series

In this age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, "Meditations on the real and the virtual" explores the flickering borderlines between the real and the virtual. It analyzes the cultural impact of the information technology, based upon the kinds of interfacing it tends to establish between Man and Machine.

Meditations on the real and the virtual: considering our relation to Machines rather than considering ourselves as Machines.

Matrix, eXistenZ, Avalon, AI : such cult films draw our imagination into virtual worlds or worlds inhabited by virtual persons.
Virtual images, virtual particles : in no stage of its development can science avoid the magic of the virtual.
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet : new computer technologies immerge us into virtual worlds and make us communicate with virtual agents, at the risk of disrupting our relationship to the surrounding world and to the world of signs and knowledge.
Those are but a few glimpses of a puzzling voyage along the unsettled borderlines separating the real and the virtual.
One will notice the unrelenting rise of a digitally originated virtual. And one will understand it as the process of developing a double interface between Man and Machine, along the two major modalities of human experience: that of perception and action and that of signs, knowledge and reason.
Therefore, our trip cannot stop at that point: along with this virtual experience of a new kind, it has to explore how it transforms our everlasting quest for the real.


Prologue: Mechanical dogs and Rogerian psychologists                   7

Introduction: The rise of the virtual and its meaning                        9
Part one: Staging the virtual                                                                    17
Chapter one: The virtual worlds, in the movies                                      21
Chapter two: The individual and the virtual, in the movies                    43

Part two: A questionable borderline                                                  63
Chapter three: More than a matter of vocabulary                                   65
Chapter four: Real images and virtual images                                       79

Part three: The technologies of the virtual                                         103
Chapter five: Cloning the sensori-motor universe                                  111
Chapter six: Cloning the semiotico-cognitive universe                          137
Part four: The culture of the virtual                                                   163
Chapter seven: The structuralist culture and the virtual                         165
Chapter eight:  Feedback of the virtual                                                  185

Part five: Philosophy of the virtual                                                     211
Chapter nine: The theory of knowledge and the virtual                         215
Chapter ten:  The structural trilogy and the virtual                                245
Epilogue: Here and now, everywhere and forever                            271

References                                                                                              275

(More on the French pages)

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