Dis-Placed Travel: On the Use of GPS in Automobiles

Besmer, Kirk
January 2014
Techne: Research in Philosophy & Technology;Winter/Spring2014, Vol. 18 Issue 1/2, p133
Academic Journal
In this paper, I pursue a postphenomenological analysis of navigating with GPS in an automobile. I argue that GPS use is essentially different from navigating with a map insofar as one need not establish nor maintain orientation and directionality. Also, GPS provides a disembodied, omniscient navigational perspective. These aspects stem from the fact that GPS relies on earth-orbiting satellites, thereby reinforcing the modern view of the space/place relation that privileges abstract space over concrete, lived places. Following a postphenomenological thesis that technologies are non-neutral mediators of human experience, I examine some important qualitative aspects of traveling with GPS.


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