Being and the Screen

From Design Thinking, Design Theory

Being and the Screen

How the Digital Changes Perception. Published in one volume with A Short Treatise on Design

By Stéphane Vial

Translated by Patsy Baudoin

How digital technology is profoundly renewing our sense of what is real and how we perceive.





How digital technology is profoundly renewing our sense of what is real and how we perceive.

Digital technologies are not just tools; they are structures of perception. They determine the way in which the world appears to us. For nearly half a century, technology has provided us with perceptions coming from an unknown world. The digital beings that emerge from our screens and our interfaces disrupt the notion of what we experience as real, thereby leading us to relearn how to perceive. In Being and the Screen, Stéphane Vial provides a philosophical analysis of technology in general, and of digital technologies in particular, that relies on the observation of experience (phenomenology) and the history of technology (epistemology). He explains that technology is no longer separate from ourselves—if it ever was. Rather, we are as much a part of the machine as the machine is part of us. Vial argues that the so-called difference between the real and the virtual does not exist and never has. We are living in a hybrid environment—which is both digital and nondigital, online and offline. With this book, Vial endows philosophical meaning to what we experience daily in our digital age.

In A Short Treatise on Design, Vial offers a concise introduction to the discipline of design—not a history book, but a book built of philosophical problems, developing a theory of the effect of design.

This book is published with the support of the University of Nîmes, France.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262043168 280 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 b&w photo


Patsy Baudoin.


  • “This book is as stimulating as 24 espressos!”

    Matthieu Dugal

    Radio Host, Animateur, CBC/Radio-Canada, Montreal

  • “Unprecedented philosophical thinking about the web.”

    Peppe Cavallari

    Sens Public

  • "In the end Being and the Screen shows great analytical finesse. It invites us to overcome the antagonism between a love and a fear of technology, to address head-on what is revolutionary about the digital as regards perception and design. This book may well lay the foundations of a phenomenology of use."

    Michael Perret

    Professor in Communication and Social Media at Haute École Arc, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland

  • "Being and the Screen is a much-needed, profound, and provocative analysis of the digital revolution. Staying away from gloomy techno-pessimism, Vial critically investigates the 'poetry of technology': the radically new ways in which digital technologies make the world appear to us. Its unique connection between philosophy and design makes this work a must-read, not only for designers and philosophers of technology, but for anyone engaged with the cultural implications of new technologies."

    Peter-Paul Verbeek

    Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Technology at the University of Twente, The Netherlands; author of Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things