Research Output
An everyday account of witnessing
  This paper presents a discussion of an everyday ontology of witnessing drawing on the writings of Martin Heidegger, cognitive science and presence research. We begin by defining witnessing: to witness we must be present; and that which is witnessed must be available. Witnessing is distinguished from perceiving in that it implies and requires a record (a representation) of what has been perceived. Presence and availability are (relatively) uncontroversial but finding a place for representation, which is a classically dualistic concept, in an ontological account potentially presents difficulties. We address this problem by recognising that being available, ready-to-hand and proximal can also serve to represent the very thing being witnessed.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 December 2011

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    302 Social interaction


Turner, P. (2011). An everyday account of witnessing. AI & society, 27, 5-12.



Presence; Martin Heidegger; witnessing; availability; representation;

Monthly Views:

Available Documents