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McLuhan, Flusser, and the Mediatic Approach to Mind

The following text aims at reconstructing and comparing two paramount theories of the mind as historical product of the increasing predominance of media. Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser both develop a theory of media, setting out, however, from very different points of departure. McLuhan tends to stress media in general, whereas Flusser insists on the importance of the predominant codes of communication. In spite of this, their theories show striking similarities. The deeper coincidence between McLuhan and Flusser lies in conceiving of existence and consciousness as formed or determined by the media. Another salient similarity can be detected in the definition of three great ages of human history, brought about by significant transformations in communication.

Flussers Kanäle

In his studies on the subject of human communication Flusser repeatedly refers to the concept of canals and channels. He classifies basic structures of various situations of communication by means of disclosing interconnections and arrays of canals. This paper takes a closer look at the concept of canals in Flusser’s work and aims to systematize his different and sometimes inconsistent approaches. Further it discusses the significance of this topic for Flusser’s late work.

Flussers Kanäle (PDF 317.55 KB)

Verwurzelung und Bodenlosigkeit – Strukturelle Fremdheit bei Vilém Flusser

The paper delivers a reading of Flusser’s Concept ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ (groundlessness) with respect to the Husserlian concept of ‘Lebenswelt’ (life-world). By examining the connection between ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ with its complementary term ‘Verwurzelung’ (rootage), ‘Bodenlosigkeit’ is illustrated as Flusser’s idea for what current phenomenological approaches call ‘structural foreignness.’ ‘Structural foreignness’ functions as an important premise for Flusser’s subsequent philosophy of dialogue and communication.