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Can We Think Computation in Images or Numbers? Critical Remarks on Vilém Flusser’s Philosophy of Digital Technologies

The article questions Flusser’s concept of the computational universe based on technical images. Emphasizing the role of the calculative, formal consciousness the article suggests a non-representational, non-hermeneutical approach to “calculating machines” as machines that allow to mechanize a certain type of thinking (mathematical thinking). At the same time, the article reformulates Flusser’s search for a new philosophy as a critical intervention into the programmed universe, arguing that this philosophy must not follow its technical logic, but find a way to reflect how different techniques and practices shape the numerical, imaginative and textual consciousness.

Can we think (PDF 411.42 KB)

Vilém Flussers Bild-Theorie. Zur Philosophie des technischen Bildes ausgehend von der Fotografie

Towards a Philosophy of Photography presents all aspects of Flusser’s theory of technical images as well as the images’ ambivalence and paradoxes: the relation of writing and image from a historical and a post-historical perspective, the definition of technical images as images of concepts and as products of the (here: photographic) apparatus. The starting point of this approach to the photographic image is meta-theoretical: Flusser’s philosophical method oscillates between ‘telling stories’, a philosophical argumentation in the tradition of phenomenology, language philosophy and structuralism, a specific use of metaphors – and often together with Flusser’s own reflections of his ‘stories’, of ‘method’ and ‘metaphors’. This article explores Flusser’s philosophy as a field of intertwined ‘layers’ of argumentation that overlap in Flusser’s search for a new philosophy, corresponding with the new kind of images he proposes: a new philosophy in or through images. From this perspective, the shift from writing to image is accomplished by a shift from meta-theory to a ‘dia’ philosophy (Dieter Mersch), referring to the ‘metaphorological’ dimension of Flusser’s texts and his ‘gestures’.

Bild-Theorie (PDF 358.3 KB)

Bilder – Denken. Über die Notwendigkeit einer Philosophie der Fotografie

In this contribution Claudia Becker examines the necessity for a “Philosophy of Photography” Flusser proposed in the 1980s. She expounds the problem that there is no deeper reception of his thought in the various discourses of the pictorial turn or media philosophy, even though Flusser can be read as one of the first who proclaimed a philosophy of (technical) images. She takes a closer look at the propositions of what Flusser calls a philosophy of photography and correlates them with other famous thinkers and philosophers.

Bilder – Denken (PDF 202.54 KB)

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