Virtual Alterity and the Reformatting of Ethics Public

This article seeks to reconsider how traditional notions of ethics–ethics that privilege reason, truth, meaning, and a fixed conception of "the human"–are upended by digital technology, cybernetics, and virtual reality. We argue that prevailing ethical systems are incompatible with the way technology refigures the concepts and practices of identity, meaning, truth, and finally, communication. The article examines how both ethics and technology repurpose the liberal humanist subject even as they render such a subject untenable. Such an impasse reformats the question of ethics by introducing questions of radical alterity, making it possible for new ethical systems to emerge.

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