Science of Recording

Maurizio Ferraris


In 2006, all the newspaper published a document, proving that Gunter Grass was soldier of Waffen-SS. A sort of purloined letter in the sense of Poe, or, so to speak, a Leave of Grass. But this kind of use of documents will be increasingly powerful and widespread when the paper disappears, and traces, records and inscriptions of every sort appear in the internet age, and can be found by Google. How can we manage documents in a world characterized by the explosion of writing? The problems related to privacy, constantly increasing in advanced societies, are usually interpreted in the light of the recurrent image of a Big Brother, that is, a big watching eye, according to the model of Bentham’s Panopticon. On one hand, it’s surely true that things like infrared viewers are nowadays widespread as well as cameras that constantly survey every aspect of our lives, in banks, stations, supermarkets, offices and private buildings. On the other hand, however, the power of this big eye would be useless without a registration, which is exactly what transforms a vision in a document. No doubt, the recent debates about phone interceptions are just the tip of an iceberg: the question we are facing here is an important one for democracy, and a complete grasp of the category of *documentality* (the social inscription of our life in the digital age) is required in order to get a satisfactory answer to it.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; social studies; Wittgenstein Ludwig; best; documentality; grammatology; new media; Ferraris Maurizio; realism; social ontology

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