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How to Face the Terror of Reason: From Philosophy to Literature

This paper explores the relationship of philosophy and literature, and the role of irony in the search of a possible way out of the hell of the apparatus created by the terror of reason. Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa from The Metamorphosis and Jaroslav Hašek’s Švejk from The Adventures of Brave Soldier Švejk pre-figure the future and are in a way are ironical brothers of Vilém Flusser.

The Terror of Reason (PDF 150.03 KB)

„Paradies und Hölle“. Vilém Flussers fabelhafte Expedition in die Abgründe der Tiefsee und des Menschen

Flusser’s philosophical fiction Vampyroteuthis Infernalis develops a complex and paradoxical conception of space and place, strongly inspired by Lamarckism and Darwinism and by his reading of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Exploring these and further intellectual sources, scientific contexts and similar literary scenes of submarine life, this paper reconstructs Flusser’s diabolical trip into the abyss and his intent to overcome anthropocentrism. From the methodological point of view, the paper belongs to the field of literary and cultural animal studies and focuses on topographical aspects included in Flusser’s hybrid tale of a deep-sea squid. Thus, the intrinsic relationships between completely different appearing spaces and species are highlighted.

Paradies und Hölle (PDF 250.75 KB)

Meu bem, você não entendeu nada: a generosidade cética de Vilém Flusser

The sentence “My dear, you didn’t understand nothing” was one of the preferred sentences of Vilém Flusser in his dialogs with scholars and visitors. But this judgment was not used as a vain statement of superiority. On the contrary: Flusser wanted to demonstrate the impossibility of any final truth, underlining the necessity of doubt and of the fictional structure of all our perception. Flusser’s famous sentence, apparently destructive, was not less than an unsuspected generosity, giving the scholars and visitors back what most kinds of opinion eliminate, that is, the doubt and the phenomenological view to see things from more than one perspective.

Meu bem (PDF 177.95 KB)

Rhapsody in Blue. Vilém Flusser und der Vampyroteuthis Infernalis

The depths of the sea, their obscure inhabitants and their mysteries have always been a rich source of myths and metaphors for authors and philosophers. Fables about giant squ ids and monstrous octopuses run through the history of literature and culture. The vampire squid is only a small phylogenetic relic, but it provides a useful model for Flusser's hybrid philosophical fiction Vampyroteuthis Infernalis. Flusser slips metaphor ically into the creature’s gelatinous skin in order to speculate on the paradigms of postmodern life, measuring the abyss from the inside and producing a very peculiar, experimental form of thinking and writing. In the present era of virtual reality and co mputer simulations, we experience fiction as the only reality. According to Vaihinger's definition, fiction is a useful construct that is precisely not real, but enables human beings to create and manipulate their environments. His philosophy of “ as if ” is perhaps the fullest expression of fictionalism and shows its ambivalent potential.

Rhapsody in Blue (PDF 169.27 KB)

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