Beyond Paper

The Monist 97 (2):222–235 (2014)
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Abstract
The authors outline the way in which documents as social objects have evolved from their earliest forms to the electronic documents of the present day. They note that while certain features have remained consistent, processes regarding document authentication are seriously complicated by the easy reproducibility of digital entities. The authors argue that electronic documents also raise significant questions concerning the theory of ‘documentality’ advanced by Maurizio Ferraris, especially given the fact that interactive documents seem to blur the distinctions between the static documents (or ‘inscriptions’) which form Ferraris’s starting point, and dynamic software processes. The authors argue further that the Ferraris view as applied to legal documents is flawed because of the fact that courts may treat contractual obligations as enduring even in spite of a complete absence of enduring inscriptions. Finally, the authors note that traces in brains, another important family of inscriptions (as Ferraris conceives them), differ significantly from genuinely documentary inscriptions by their lack of public inspectability.
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First archival date: 2014-04-13
Latest version: 2 (2014-08-03)
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2014-04-13

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