Is Internet and phone technology impacting our understanding of “self” and changing the way we relate to each other? Have we given up a strong self-identity for self-presentation and self-promotion? As anonymous individuals we are losing our inhibitions and also a sense of ethical commitment and responsibility. This essay argues that Josiah Royce's philosophy provides a rich resource for addressing these problems. He understood how technology brings about changes in conceptions of self and of relationships. He experienced firsthand the changes in social relations and self-understanding brought about by the mining technology of his time, and he recognized the dangers that media technology posed, including the leveling of opinions and the loss of individuality. More importantly, his theory of self and self-development is fruitful in addressing the problems posed by interaction in a disembodied Internet world, and his theory of community speaks to the isolation and loneliness promoted by the Internet and the starving of our capacity to communicate face-to-face fostered by the new phone technology.

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