Tiger C. RoholtApr 10, 2023
Distracted from Meaning
A Philosophy of Smartphones
Bloomsbury Publishing 2022
Social scientists have long studied the ways in which smartphone use can distract us from the proper performance of means-ends tasks, such as driving or medical procedures. In Distracted from Meaning: A Philosophy of Smartphones (Bloomsbury, 2022), Tiger Roholt discusses a distinct type of distraction: when smartphone use interferes with our active engagement with meaningful experiences, such as dinner with friends or a musical performance or gardening. In these cases, Roholt argues, we risk stunting the experiences that would otherwise give meaning to our lives, or even missing out on discovering new types of meaningful experiences.
Roholt, who is an associate professor of philosophy at Montclair State University, draws on writings from John Dewey, Susan Wolf, Albert Borgmann and others in this engagingly written meditation on how ubiquitous uses of smartphones and wearable technologies affects our lives in ways that other types of interruptions do not.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.