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Flusser and Descartes. The Unremitting Mindfulness of Thinking and Being

Of all modern scholars, Descartes is probably the one who has met with most criticism, and even though his formulation of the cogito sounds pretty obvious, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Žižek have repeatedly tried to poke holes in his ideas. The lifelong effects of the Cartesian doubt worried Vilém Flusser too. To him, Cartesianism is Christianity through and through. What exactly, in Flusser’s view, is so unacceptable about the Cartesian doubt, then? Why does Flusser identify Descartes with Christianity? Can we appreciate Flusser’s concern with the Cartesian doubt without losing the excitement and intimacy of grappling with Descartes’ metaphysics? Of course, Flusser’s critique is not mainstream; and we can even hear traces of Heidegger’s voice in the background. Still, Flusser’s objection is unique and interesting, making it a refreshing alternative in the scholarly discussion of Descartes. One aim of the paper is to turn the sword of Flusser’s critique of the Cartesian doubt against Descartes’ own detractors.

Descartes and Flusser (PDF 416.63 KB)

Um diálogo entre Flusser e Heidegger: o ser no universo

To Flusser, technical images create different meanings and realities, leading to an inversion of our “being-in-the-world” to a “being-face-to-face-with-the-image.” In this situation, the distinction between real and imagined, then, would no longer make sense, since only the image itself becomes something concrete. Thus, according to the author, we end up facing back the objective world. Regarding this statement, we propose, in this paper, through a dialog between Heidegger and Flusser, a discussion about being in the universe of technical images.

Diálogo (PDF 144.62 KB)