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Media Philosophy

Vilém Flusser placed no particular value on the concept of media in his writings, and he explicitly did not refer to himself as a media philosopher. The classification of at least part of his work under media philosophy only took place after his death, in the context of the development of media studies as a discipline in its own right and the establishment of media philosophy as a new eld of research in the German-speaking world after the turn of the millennium. Flusser has since been inducted into the canon of early media thinkers.

One characteristic instance of situating Flusser as a media thinker is Frank Hartmann’s interpretation of Flusserian media philosophy as “walks around the margins” of written thought, and thus of traditional philosophy (Hartmann, Medienphilosophie, 2000, p. 287; translated from the German). Another is Knut Hickethier’s distinction between “science-oriented media theories” on the one hand and philosophically oriented “theory auteurs” such as Flusser on the other (Hickethier, Einführung in die Medienwissenschaft, 2010, pp. 372–374; translated from the German).

Within this frame of reference, Flusser’s philosophy is a philosophy of media insofar as it attempts to account for the change in “the method of thinking” (“Gespräch mit Florian Rötzer,” in: Wagnermaier and Röller, absolute Vilém Flusser, 2003, p. 7; translated from the German) and runs against the grain of theory and scholarship – building on Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger’s critiques of science and technoscience, which shaped Flusser’s thinking on post-history and the crisis of linearity (of historical thinking as written thinking). Flusser’s blueprint, inspired equally by phenomenology and by cybernetics, for a new branch of the humanities (Língua e Realidade, 1963) – a communicology, a philosophy of a single medium such as photography, but also a “theory of the interpretation of gestures” (Gesten, 1991, p. 9; translated from the German) – problematizes the metaphysical pre-dispositions of the objects with which the subject is confronted, the truth as adaequatio intellectus et rei, and the ideality of meaning. For Flusser, thought arises from practices and techniques, such as speaking, writing, computation, and pictorial representation, without which thought is not possible.

Original article by Kateřina Krtilová

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media_philosophy.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)