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Holding On to Reality

The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium

Holding On to Reality

The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium

Holding On to Reality is a brilliant history of information, from its inception in the natural world to its role in the transformation of culture to the current Internet mania and is attendant assets and liabilities. Drawing on the history of ideas, the details of information technology, and the boundaries of the human condition, Borgmann illuminates the relationship between things and signs, between reality and information.

"[Borgmann] has offered a stunningly clear definition of information in Holding On to Reality. . . . He leaves room for little argument, unless one wants to pose the now vogue objection: I guess it depends on what you mean by nothing."—Paul Bennett, Wired

"A superb anecdotal analysis of information for a hype-addled age."—New Scientist

"This insightful and poetic reflection on the changing nature of information is a wonderful antidote to much of the current hype about the ’information revolution.’ Borgmann reminds us that whatever the reality of our time, we need ’a balance of signs and things’ in our lives."—Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly

Read the introduction and a discussion with N. Katherine Hayles on humans and machines.

282 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1999

Computer Science

Philosophy: American Philosophy

Philosophy of Science

Table of Contents

Introduction: Information vs. Reality
Pt. 1 Natural Information: Information about Reality
1 The Decline of Meaning and the Rise of Information
2 The Nature of Information
3 Ancestral Information
4 From Landmarks to Letters
5 The Rise of Literacy
Pt. 2 Cultural Information: Information for Reality
6 Producing Information: Writing and Structure
7 Producing Information: Measures and Grids
8 Realizing Information: Reading
9 Realizing Information: Playing
10 Realizing Information: Building
Pt. 3 Technological Information: Information as Reality
11 Elementary Measures
12 Basic Structures
13 Transparency and Control
14 Virtuality and Ambiguity
15 Fragility and Noise
Conclusion: Information and Reality

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