Due toVilém Flusser’s own theory of linguistic and cultural determinism, his definition of science (Wissenschaft) encompasses both the natural sciences and the humanities. The term “science” connotes epistemic, ethical, and aesthetic aspects. Science not only has a descriptive character (elaborating existing phenomena), but also a creative one (extending reality, expanding human potential) and an ethical one (delivering us from natural laws, fighting entropy). Flusser also advocates abandoning the separation of science and humanities as both are fictional, illusive, and valid only within their own discourses. Therefore, he suggests abandoning objectivity as a value in favor of new methods. These methods would employ, for instance, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, indeterminacy, contemplation, dialogue, deliberate logical inconsistency, and fiction. He proposes that the language of science and humanities should be metaphoric and poetic because the merely analytical approach does not provide as much information to fight entropy.
Língua e Realidade [Language and Reality] (1963), which views science as a discourse that extends reality by extending the language, discusses the epistemic aspects. In accordance with Flusser’s language determinism, science is equated to discovering the inflected language structure in nature. The aesthetic nature of science is highlighted in “Da Ficção” [On Fiction] (in: O Diário, August 26, 1966), Vampyroteuthis Infernalis (2011), as well as Into the Universe of Technical Images (2011). The History of the Devil (2014) discusses the ethical aspect; science is seen as a devilish attempt to control reality (the deadly sins of wrath and sloth); that is, to free oneself from causal laws and fight temporality/entropy. New methods contributing to all three aspects are proposed in Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, Bodenlos [No Firm Ground] (1992), and Fenomenologia do Brasileiro [Phenomenology of the Brazilian] (1998). In Kommunikologie [Communicology] (1996) the discourse of academic science is compared to church discourse as they both display pyramid-like structures that result in ideology. Therefore, synchronization of what Flusser describes as “amphitheatre discourse” and “network dialogue” is proposed in order to achieve a more informative and creative science discourse.
Original article by Martina Bruštíková Špidlová