Basbaum_McLuhan and Continental Philosophy_article | Perception | Phenomenology (Philosophy)

McLuhan and Continental Philosophy: how Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception helps support and continue McLuhan’s directions

Sergio Roclaw Basbaum1
1

Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), Brazil.

Abstract. This paper addresses the relations among McLuhan’s work and authors in the European tradition of thought. After a brief intro, a section offers general observations; next part is dedicated to comparing some of Walter Benjamin’s findings, almost 30 years prior, to McLuhan’s work; another section is dedicated to mcluhanic aspects in Vilém Flusser’s work, written in the 1980’s; then we present a synthesis of Merleau-Ponty’s work on perception, suggested to offer important contributions for filling gaps in McLuhan’s work – in which perception plays a key role; finally, a last part pursues some of the consequences of melting McLuhan and Merleau-Ponty for further studies on the social impact of technological media. Keywords: philosophy, perception, phenomenology, sense, technology.

1 Introduction
Marshall McLuhan’s impact on the world of thought in the incredible decade of 1960 is well known. One can imagine the shock experienced by the European intellectual milieu, which was just coming from a brilliant generation of structuralists, with the impact of the works from Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Foucault, Barthes (all of them still alive and producing at the time), to get into an also brilliant generation of poststructuralists, in which one can count names like Jacques Derrida or Gilles Deleuze, when McLuhan emerged on the scene with his very unusual style and a whole package of quite new concepts about books, television and technologies of mediation. Today, with the advent of Digital Culture, the main McLuhan’s ideas seem so clear that one hardly understands why he may have been so controversial at first. Nonetheless, in the sixties, McLuhan’s seemingly lack of respect for Continental philosophical tradition – although he had a PhD in English Literature, and an amazing knowledge of English poetry – was very unexpected. It striked Jean Baudrillard (Kellner 1990, p. 5), for example, that McLuhan did not show much respect for a giant like Karl Marx, who was, for the Canadian, just a by-product of the book and the mechanicist environment of the XIX century. Although certainly a brilliant and inspiring media theorist, McLuhan was not a philosopher in European terms – he didn’t have exhaustive domain over French and German Philosophy, although his Galaxy of Gutenberg thesis did put all those authors under a new, unexpected light. In the following paragraphs, I expect to suggest some

McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi, Cristina Miranda de Almeida, Carlos A. Scolari. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya, 2011. pp 552-61

in 1974 (McLuhan 1987. Howes. Of course. written in 2000. to looking at ground as what gives meaning to and allows the bringing forth of figures. Kellner. or can be understood as an emphasis in structure.relations among Continental Philosophy and McLuhan’s ideas. is certainly something which is in line. Armitage 2000). Micheal Heim (1993:54-71). with some intellectual effort any relation is possible. one quite often reads about the connections between Jean Baudrillard’s thinking and McLuhan’s media theory (for example. while Virilio’s readers consider his work to be in the opposite site as to McLuhan’s media-theory. From his side. 1990). Thus. but also both were committed to Christianity (see. Interestingly. In an amazing article about the “new artificial sensibility”. he writes that “The reason that I’m admired in Paris and in some Latin Countries is that my approach is rightly regarded as ‘structuralist’”. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. In a letter to Marshall Fischwick. body and behavioural changes which take place as result of new technologies and technological devices are. Of course. at least. but also locate the origins of Western technology in the changes in thinking which took place in Classical Greek Antiquity. it is our body. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. has suggested that McLuhan’s legacy should be compared to Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of technology. not anti-McLuhan. for example. and that such comparison would bring more similarities than one would expect – those two thinkers agree not only that technology cannot and should not be regarded as “neutral”. especially when we’re definitely living in a time when it became almost impossible to over-estimate the role of technology in our lives. pp 552-61 . Scolari. p. Deleuze is a Mclhuanian”. One can even find authors who point to mcluhanic aspects in Gilles Deleuze’s work. Carlos A. for sure. 2011. thus McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. the comparison it is not senseless: the privilege McLuhan’s work has given to support over content. And in this point. Laws of Media. even much after the peak of Structuralism. and also Paul Virilio’s ideas on the power of technology and dromocracy – the idea that the domain over velocity and time through communication means implies most of all in political power –bring a strong kinship with the Canadian media theorist’s ideas (Virilio. 506). for example. it should be noted that not only both share a technocentric view of Modernity. 2 Opening Remarks: European Philosophers and McLuhan’s Work There are many ways by which one can establish relations and bridges among McLuhan’s theoretical propositions and European Philosophy. in which he intended to give scientific status to his theory. 2003:237n4. and his amusement for this comparison. the way by which connections and modes of dialogue are proposed is probably more productive than straight connections. One can notice his interest and respect for the reception of his writings in Europe. 1999). in order to open directions which deserve further exploration and seem to offer tools for new McLuhan styled probes into contemporary technological culture. which loses the certainty and the need of its functions. the Portuguese author Maria Thereza Cruz (2000: 8) states that “as Deleuze suggests. Among French philosophers. and the passages in A thousand Plateaus addressing cultural. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. first of all. Marshall McLuhan himself has made some effort to place his own work in relation to both European thinking and positive Science. especially in his last work.

Heidegger and the most influential modern authors in Continental Tradition. One notices that. was not an easy idea to digest. betraying a misunderstanding of the precise meaning of both definitions – which he seemed to think of as one and the same. According to Benjamin’s account. Carlos A. Both processes are intimately McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. in Laws of Media he explicitly addresses Kant. such as Umberto Eco. when McLuhan’s thinking matured. one notices striking similarities between insights offered in his much quoted essay The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction – written in the midst of the Nazi catastrophe in the 1930s – and McLuhan’s ideas. told European intellectuals that it was not that them had written all those fantastic books. The first is the German essayist Walter Benjamin. as frequently suggested by his critics. As Jack Lemmon once said.placing his ideas – although in a very unexpected way – in line with the developments in French Philosophy through the 1950s and early 1960s. understanding the impact of photography and film on cultural experience demands recognizing the “destruction” of previous modes of urban experience: [B]y making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. hesitate (to say the least) in recognizing the meaning of “the medium is the message”. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. maybe the least expected. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. the French Phenomenologist Maurice MerleauPonty. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. While trying to provide an original understanding of Modern European thinking through the lens of his own Gutenberg Galaxy. If Benjamin certainly was not the only one intrigued with photographic and cinematic pictures in the first half of XX century. with his writings on photography and cinema. he says that “Nobody except myself in the media field has ventured to use the structuralist or ‘existential’ approach”. 3 Walter Benjamin: Visionary Pioneer Starting with Benjamin. Scolari. it reactivates the object reproduced. Certainly. it can be said. McLuhan’s understanding of European philosophers is a bit confuse: in the same letter quoted above. pp 552-61 . Still today one can notice that intellectuals whose thinking is still deeply rooted in the mind structure of the book. the second is the Czech-Brazilian philosopher Vilém Flusser. but rather it was the books that had written them. Understanding Media and Laws of Media approach – to quote some of his most important works – McLuhan also felt pressed to come to terms with Continental heritage. However. In spite of feeling himself closer to Vico and pre-scientific thinking. we’d like to call attention to the connections between McLuhan’s work and ideas presented by three authors he doesn’t seem to have been interested in – or even aware of. as if he was concerned that his work could stand on its own feet before the tradition. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and renewal of mankind. 2011. the fact that Gutemberg Galaxy. with his ideas about technology and the metaphor of the black-box. “nobody’s perfect”. he was first to call attention to the effects of such technological novelties in European culture as related to the kind of experience such apparatuses impose. and the third one.

p. decades later. which link cultural facts. the “primary question” to be asked was not related to content. urban experience. 25) So. which cannot be understood as a mere translation of the original play to the new medium of cinema. p. enormous screens and changes of film speed (by fast-motion or slow-motion). (Benjamin 2010. These two. the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage. Carlos A. Scolari. that is. it produces a kind of experience of its own. capable of engendering an entire new aesthetic understanding – thus impacting. pp 552-61 . such as Adorno and Horkheimer. images that have always remained unconscious suddenly surface to conscious. Benjamin also talks explicitly about what will later emerge as a key McLuhan’s topic. were able to envision at the time. in other words. which is (. 2011. by transforming the possibilities of the eye. as much for thinking as for perception. the changes in perception itself. essentially. The primary question — whether the very invention of photography had not transformed the entire nature of art — was not raised (Benjamin 2010. with close-ups. This is far ahead from what other theorists from the Frankfurt School. in perception. as a result of the intense presence of photography in press. as opposed to mass “low-culture” they highly criticized. This is typical McLuhan style of starting from the simplest facts to find meaningful correspondences able to unveil the logic of a whole age. is inconceivable without its destructive. The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope.connected with the contemporary mass movements. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. Its social significance. Benjamin goes on. 14) By noticing. that is.. While trying to unveil the elements which allowed the camera to provoke such cultural tornado. but to the changes new media introduces in society. typically. while nobody notices: [E]arlier much futile thought had been devoted to the question of whether photography is an art. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. to notice that such a destruction of “traditional value” implies the offspring of a new social order in which values that were supportive of previous power relations in European society tend to be superseded. cathartic aspect. Benjamin is. He notices that..) [i]s the mark of a perception whose “sense of the universal equality of things” has increased to such a degree that it extracts it even from a unique object by means of reproduction. Thus it is manifested in the field of perception what in the theoretical sphere is noticeable in the increasing importance of statistics. when seen in a movie theatre is an entirely new kind of experience. in the lines that follow the quote above. according to Benjamin. 18) One must agree that such unusual relations. Also. Their most powerful agent is the film. were worried about the destruction of traditional art values they ascribed to “high-culture”. p. the uniqueness of an instant which just happens once is turned into a mass reproduced phenomena. technology and perception in a single unexpected articulation could be written by a certain Canadian author. particularly in its most positive form. McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. stating that the medium is the message. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. that a Shakespeare play. (Benjamin 2010.

McLuhan was regarded as a thinker of the system. Benjamin writes (idem 35-6) that a cameraman is to a painter what a surgeon is to a magician: that is. McLuhan’s work and another Philosophy outsider. Flusser was certainly touched by McLuhan insights in the 60s. More interesting. who lived in Brazil for 30 years and has written several of his works in Portuguese. thus when the military dictatorship has taken power in 1964. the camera incorporates and imposes to its users the relation of a subject to his object. Thus. the born-Czech thinker Vilém Flusser. celebrated as media-guru. in which we are not more than servants to machines – is already noticed as a radical version of McLuhan’s ideas in Brazilian author Arlindo Machado’s presentation of the Portuguese edition of Flusser’s small masterpiece (Flusser 1998. of whom it is said that read obsessively. One can easily notice the resemblances among the way Flusser describes the impact of writing and printing in European thinking (the notion of a world which lives “historically” – because of reading – as opposed to those who live “magically” – because of orality and the magic power of images) and McLuhan’s account of the Guttenberg Galaxy. is to illuminate the way by which he can be read as one of the Continental versions of McLuhan. By underlying the fact that the camera has embedded in its mode of operation the epistemology of classical science. And the power assigned to the apparatus (the camera). Scolari.4 Vilem Flusser: Bodenloss Thinker Another passage in Benjamin’s article allows a triptych connection between himself. p. for the purposes of this article than to offer a detailed reading of Flusser’s growing influential work. Well versed in classical Philosophy. and although writing regularly in influential newspapers in Brazil. Carlos A. French. as a materialization of a conceptual framework – classical science –. While discussing the experience of the photographer. aware of the results of Communist dictatorships in Czechoslovakia and Western Europe. which dominates the photographer by imposing its “program” over him – an image Flusser uses as a metaphor to the whole technological age. he was – though never a supporter of the government – always suspicious of leftist discourses. Flusser was not leftist enough. he could not be pressed to reject McLuhan’s work. who would never address his topics through the lens of a Critical Marxist matrix. Flusser was certainly an intelectual outsider: not being in Europe. Not only McLuhan was widely discussed in the 1960s. and by his Jewish Czech origin. German. The whole Flusserian account of Modernity as shaped by an “inflation of texts” sounds as an elegantly written and concise version of McLuhan’s work. but nothing about what goes inside). and prophet of communications age – whose name would hardly pass unnoticed – but also Flusser was a really heavy reader. Benjamin also anticipates Flusser’s concept of black-box (when one knows what a machine gets as inputs and what it throws as outputs. most engaged in political resistance to the dictatorship. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. he was never entirely accepted by the Philosophy “club” in the country. one can suspect. That Flusser could have possibly known McLuhan’s work should not be a surprise. as the favoured Frankfurt School authors. that he had domain over around ten different languages! How could he have not at least had a look in McLuhan’s work? Also. Portuguese. and also certainly McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. by his works in English. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. and a very deep reader of Nietzsche and Heidegger. 2011. pp 552-61 . if for the main Brazilian intellectual milieu. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. as presented in his book about photography and technical images (Flusser 1998). 9-18). before returning to Europe in the 1970s.

the famous “an eye for an ear” aphorism. by mapping cultural effects related to perceptual and cognitive changes accredited to technological mediation. Changes of perceptual bias. Flusser’s unfinished self-biography. Merleau-Ponty´s Phenomenology of perception (1945) continued directions opened by Husserl. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. and the discussion on sensory biases – for example. I suggest that the answer for such gap. a question remains: if Flusser is more concerned with the history of ideas themselves and cultural changes carried by technological apparatuses. interestingly. Although raised on observation of a well recognized inventory of effects of technological mediation. to find in Bodenloss [Soil Loss]. at least once the expression “Guttenberg Galaxy” (Flusser 2009. 5 Merleau-Ponty: Senses and Sense However. are at the core of McLuhan’s thinking. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. it can be argued that McLuhan’s theory. and by dipping on the findings of German Gestalt psychologists (from whom come the concepts of figure and ground as widely explored by McLuhan). the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty – as I shall suggest. Alva Nöe or Evan Thompson. both Benjamin and McLuhan put enormous emphasis in the shifts imposed on perception by technological mediation. Merleau-Ponty gives a radical emphasis to the role of perception in our living experience. anticipating and being decisive to more recent efforts in the topic by authors such as Francisco Varela. and the hypertrophy of vision in Western culture – reclaim the support of a perceptual theory able to adequately bond perception. pp 552-61 . can be found in one of the authors about whom McLuhan seems to have never written a single line about. and McLuhan especially. it also can be said that Flusser offered a brilliant – and with an amazing domain of Continental Philosophic tradition – version of McLuhan’s ideas. and still highly influential work about perception. the synesthetic bias of oral cultures. and this unique familiarity between body and world on which all possible knowledge is grounded. who was then stealing the intellectual stage. Merleau-Ponty has written the most comprehensive.intellectually curious enough. have been able to offer a theoretical support for their ideas in any comprehensive theory of perception and cognition. concerning a critique of the “natural attitude” towards the experienced world. then. such a contribution opens interesting directions for McLuhan influenced studies of contemporary digital societies. Could it come from anyplace else? Thus. It turns out that. 2011. to check by himself the surprising ideas of the Canadian media-theory pop-star. in a concise and original style which complements the Canadian thinker’s well known mosaic-like style. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. Carlos A. as widely known. 147). and who has written the most important philosophical work on the topic of perception in the XX century. as if it was not a question for himself. and. neither Benjamin nor Flusser. sense and knowledge. Scolari. if Benjamin anticipated many threads McLuhan would develop later. One should not be surprised. up to present day. While never showing much care about technology. McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. p. disclosing the way by which we are tied to the world by perceptual bonds.

radiates from us to the environment. as has often been said.Fig. pp 552-61 . Cristina Miranda de Almeida.. 16). Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. but a whole from which parts (objects) are eventually detached. on which any rationality and decision must rely. Classical Gestalt examples such as the Zolner Illusion (fig. A “corporeal or postural schema” gives us at every moment a global. in the 1970’s (Maturana. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. (. and implicit notion of the relation between our body and things. The key point on Merleau-Ponty’s account is that perception is for the first time described as an active process of creating a world through the presence of a body in a circumstance – something that would appear much later in Maturana and Varela’s work.) [W]hat prohibits me from treating my perception as an intelectual act is that an intelectual act would grasp the object either as possible or as necessary. or “motor projects”. Carlos A. 1: Zollner’s illusion. p. It is not accidental for the object to be given to me in a McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. (Merleau-Ponty 1964.. Varela 1995): [W]e grasp external space through our bodily situation. practical. of our hold on them. “the field of perception and action” (pg. but are defined according to their belonging to such set. and perpetually being made. emerges the perceived world. But in perception it is “real”. what we perceive is never a “sum of parts”. and which is always unfinished. Scolari. a perspective which blossoms from the individual’s meeting with a dynamic system of things in which she or he is immersed. 1) serve MerleauPonty as points of departure to show how perception gives us a world which is previous to “right” or “wrong” and to any rational action and decision. 2011. it is given as the infinite sum of an indefinite series of perspectival views in each of which the object is given but in none is it given exhaustively. Our body is not in space like things. 15) And. it inhabits or haunts space. (Merleau-Ponty 1964. a classic Gestalt example of how perception has as syntax of its own. to make it into a collection of sensations because in it the whole is prior to the parts – and this whole is not an ideal whole. A system of possible movements. Any theory of perception which relies on the idea of perceiving an objective world as organizing sensations derived from a circumstance of defined objects misses the very operation by which perception constitutes a world in which we exist: [W]e observe at once that it is impossible. 5) Contingent to this active presence of the body. to decompose a perception. following this. independently of what one rationally knows about the world. p.

this raises the problem of culture. Mcluhanists are usually aware of such problems as the synesthesia of oral cultures. an awareness of context which cannot in anyway be severed from sense: the senses give us a world invested with sense. and the growing dominance of visuality in Western culture throughout Modernity – something that is brilliantly described by McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. p. Perception emerges as the baby-cradle of meaning. “even our most secret affective movements. as we experience. reinforcing the core of Merleau-Ponty’s work – derive almost directly from ideas developed by Marshall McLuhan concerning the opposition of oral and literate societies.“deformed” way. those most deeply tied to humoral infrastructure. Although Merleau-Ponty has. a horizon in which my body. for example. most notably David Howes and Constance Classen. as a result of the intention with which one addresses the moment. a satisfying – and transitory – gestalt of the circumstance. 2011. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. 16) Thus. different collective arrangements of the body sensorium. in collective experience.. from the point of view [place] which I occupy. acts as to get the best grasp. shared by a community. addressing different cultural perceptual models. but things which are endless source of meaning (Basbaum. (Merleau-Ponty 1964. to unveil such culturally determined structures of perception. help to shape our perception” (MerleauPonty 1964. p. 5). it took some decades for a group of anthropologists. Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy faces the challenge of the alter. of the other’s world being divergent of mine – and reality emerges as an intersubjective agreement or distinct perspectives. 2006:186) – meaning as born in the perceptual act and normalized between individuals. 6 Final Remarks: Bringing Theories Together That Merleau-Ponty’s theory couldn’t fulfil every consequence of the directions opened by his pioneer placing of perception as the ground of meaning and knowledge shouldn’t surprise. their work is the best demonstration of Merleau-Ponty’s thesis that the experienced world gives me not the precise objects of science. Carlos A. during his short life-time casted the question of perception in culture as something which deserved further work (see. Although Howes (2003. is thus. but also because no thinker can give account of everything. That is the price of its being “real”. prior to the operations of reason. for a classical abstraction of passively perceiving a neutral world. as I suggested. not only because of his early death. 54) himself affirms that “No Western theory of the senses (. Scolari. Cristina Miranda de Almeida.. And since we are this situated body. enough for one to perform one’s existence successfully. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. Since the late 1980’s. as a result of world created by each of us according to individual perspective. substituting. Since reality.) can substitute for or comprehend such culturally specific indigenous epistemologies”. Classen and Howes have written and/or edited several works. More important is to notice that Classen and Howes’ works – which. Ferraz 2009). as leading to distinct ways of making sense and dealing with reality. pp 552-61 . Merleau-Ponty gives us a rigorous account in which perception can be understood as the way by which I dispose a set. Of course. no matter whom. p. in a way that there’s never such a thing as a neutral set: we always perceive a meaningful world. up to a certain level. brought enormous contribution for a broader understanding of perception.

and if we do not seek communication with truth and with the others McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. for people. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. in the same way the perception of the other founds morality by realizing the paradox of an alter ego... progressive and dramatic ceases to exist for the crowds. Should we suppose that we could undergo radical ethical changes. (. Based in Toronto. according to Merleau-Ponty we should expect: [J]ust as the perception of a thing opens me up to being. if McLuhan has taught us as how to be aware of in interpret any cultural and behavioural changes as symptom of the impact of technological mediation. p.) If we admit that sensibility is enclosed within itself. in an epoch in which we need richness of both (which. But. 2011. which favoured smells in the XVI century. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. in prejudice of all the other senses. By bringing a repertoire of metaphors which surpassed the lack of imagination of cognitivists who compare everything to computers and informational flow. tied one to the other) – Merleau-Ponty’s writing teach us how to bring them with us in this world to be. In terms of McLuhan’s perceptual bias theory. through observing the changes in flower contests in London. Following his typical mcluhanic-continental style. Such encoded world does not anymore mean “processes” (. on the cultural values developed under the influence of the book and the on-going cultural changes: [T]emporal experience. for whom images take the place of alphabetical texts. But more interesting consequences can be derived. there are some consequences of bringing Merleau-Ponty’s work in the menu of tools for understanding contemporary world. xviii-xx). Classen’s example proves the triumph of visual bias during the Gutenberg Galaxy – as does Gestaltists and psychologists’ enormous emphasis in visual research... as irreversible. which is understood along with the categories of History. by placing my perspectives and my incommunicable solitude in the visual field of another and of all the others. 15-36). No account could be more persuasive. Scolari. the anthropology of the sense was directly influenced by McLuhan’s and Walter Ong’s insights (Howes 2003. are. given that many of McLuhan’s findings and insights acquired dramatically renewed meaning with the global consummation of digital culture. it was Merleau-Ponty who has best shown how to interpret data collected by psychologists and extract from this data radical understanding of the meaning of human experience. given changes in perception determined by digital mediation? This is precisely what.Classen (1993. p. Vilem Flusser comments. and in the XIX century were prizing just the perfect visual form. as we’ve seen. 135) In a way that could be McLuhan’s. one of the keys to a comprehension of our times would be to be able to unveil the decisive aspects of the kind of perception determined by the omnipresence of digital apparatuses – the key for the doors of digital perception! To start with. by realizing an infinity of perceptual aspects. pp 552-61 . that is. (Flusser 2007. given that flower contests inhabit a territory in culture quite distinct from those of books and philosophers. One of the most basic of such values which could be assigned is ethics. in one of his last writings.) The very fact that it does not mean it anymore is called “crisis of values”. thus impoverishing the scope of meaning and human experience. Flusser assigns to the book all the fundamental values and principles whose profound changes today we testify in contemporary society. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. to whom the codes of surfaces prevail. p. of a common situation. Carlos A.

net/articles. Ed. SR 2006. Armitage.. And we are all still young enough to testify the new forms of love emerging in Digital Culture. 2. n. W 1982. 2011. I’ve been in a debate with an important entrepreneur in Brazil. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. Luiz (org. a. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. February-April/2011 References 1. on the contrary. perception and culture.): Teoria da cultura de massa. From this. Then we’ve seen how Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology provides strong theorethical support to McLuhan’s (and Benjamin’s) assumptions about perception. we call what we perceive “the world” and what we love “the person”.181-203. (. then there's not much to hope for. Basbaum. p.except on the level of a disembodied reason. and specially the perception of otherness. J 2000. 3. McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. 26-7) For the French Phenomenologist. culture and meaning. as the primacy of perception requires. I could not but paraphrase Walter Benjamin: what matters is not if we’re still going to think of love – the very question is whether the very invention of computers is not transforming the entire nature of love. “Beyond Postmodernism? Paul Virilio's Hypermodern Cultural Theory”. Should we expect strong changes in such basic topics as ‘morality’ due to changes in cultural perceptual bias derived from digital mediation? In fact.. we’ve also seen how Flusser very Continental styled philosophy embraced the Gutenberg Galaxy thesis and derived radical insights. p. McLuhan’s media theory emerges as a kind of phenomenological anthropology of the technological man. “Consciousness and Perception: The Point of Experience and the Meaning of the World We Inhabit”. Prism Key Press. in a certain slushy tone as to impress an audience of young students. than there's a type of doubt concerning man. Benjamin. We’ve run full circle: we’ve seen how the changes brought by photography and cinema have lead to Benjamin’s pioneer insights on the relations among technology. who asked me. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. the very ground of morality.ctheory. pp 552-61 . Paz e Terra. certainly casted in Flusser’s package of “values”. which becomes impossible (Merleau-Ponty 1964. if the answer for all these changes was not just “love”. Rio de Janeiro. as we’ll probably testify new forms of ethics – once all laws we know have not been conceived aware of networks and digital environments. 2010. and a type of spite.5.) If. given that my speech was about technology and cognition. Revista Eletrônica Informação e Cognição. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. in a recent lecture.aspx?id=133. it is the perceptual experience. “A obra de arte na época de sua reprodutibilidade técnica” (tradução de Carlos Nélson Coutinho). São Paulo.1. To this. Carlos A. in Costa-Lima. http://www. Scolari. and also how a McLuhan inspired Anthropology of the Senses gives cultural scope to the French Phenomenologist’s theory of perception. v.

b. 7. 5. F. Sensual Relations – engaging the senses in culture and social theory. 2009. McLuhan. 12. Toronto. C. Teorema. Os meios de comunicação como extensões do homem (tradução de Décio Pignatari). http://bocc. a. 9. Merleau-Ponty. Ed. Cruz. Molinare. São Paulo. 1987. Workshopsy. Ed. pp 552-61 . Oxford. M 1993. Edited by Matteo Ciastellardi. McLuhan. 2001. Ed. Fenomenologia da percepção (tradução de Carlos Alberto Ribeiro de Moura). 13. by E. Campinas. M 1994. MT 2000. D 1990. Zingrone). M. São Paulo.html. C 1993. H. Papirus. Oxford University Press. Nacional. Ferraz. P 1999. Toronto. c. Annablume. The University of Michigan Press. The metaphysics of virtua reality. Cristina Miranda de Almeida. 2011. University of Toronto Press. Virilio. 11. Heim. Letters of Marshall McLuhan (ed. 8. Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures. Martins-Fontes.. Concord: BasicBooks. Oxford University Press. by M. Cibermundo – a política do pior. Toye). São Paulo. W. Flusser. 2009: Fenomenologia e Ontologia em Merleau-Ponty. Ed.pt/pag/cruzteresa-sensibilidade-artificial. Ensaio sobre fotografia – para uma filosofia da técnica.1995: A árvore do conhecimento -. Ed. Reflections on Modernity and Postmodernity in McLuhan and Baudrillard. “Da nova sensibilidade artificial”..as bases biológicas do entendimento humano. 6. Lisboa. McLuhan. Lisboa. Varela. 1962. http://www. The Gutenberg Galaxy – the making of typographic man. McLuhan Galaxy: Understanding Media Today – Conference Proceedings. Howes.4. Cultrix. Classen. 1995. V 1998.gseis. Bodenloss: uma autobiografia filosófica. Barcelona: Universidad Oberta de Catalunya. 10. Maturana. D 2003. São Paulo. A galáxia de Gutenberg: a formação do homem tipográfico. Ed. Relógio d’Água. F. Kellner.ucla. Carlos A. Essential McLuhan (ed. S.edu/faculty/kellner/. a. d. M 1996. 14. Routledge. Scolari. São Paulo.ubi.

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