If Tim Berners-Lee and Harry Halpin can raise the question of a universal right to internet access, a question that a philosophy underlying the conception of the web must incarnate, and of which W3C would be the bearer, this is precisely because the web is a function of a digital technical system which could be otherwise, and which could even disappear, and if they argue that this is a right, it is because this philosophy and this stability must support the need to ensure not only a certain conception of the internet, of its functions and its goals, but the sense of mental, intellecutual, spiritual social and let’s say noetic progress (noetic in the sense of Aristotle) that digitalisation in general must constitute.
In order to explore these formidable questions, we must take the measure of the following two points:
* first, the digital technical system constitutes a global and contributory publication and editorialisation system that radically transforms the ‘public thing’, given that the res publica, the republic, presupposes a form of publicness, of ‘publicity’ – what the Aufklärung called an Öffentlichkeit – sustained by processes of publication;
* second, this publication system is inscribed in the history of a process of grammatisation, which conditions all systems of publication. The concept of grammatisation, as forged by Sylvain Auroux (who was the first director of the École normale supérieure de Lyon), provides important elements for the discussion inaugurated by Tim Berners-Lee around what he referred to as philosophical engineering.
Bernard Stiegler, Die Aufklärung in the Age of Philosophical Engineering (Computational Culture; September 2012)