Alexander Schindler – Questioning Causation. A fictional dialogue between Vilém Flusser and John Dewey

The video is part of the online conference and exhibition “Vilém Flusser and ‘His’ Languages” organized by the Vilém Flusser Archive at Berlin University of the Arts. For more info visit flusserarchive.cargo.site Already in his first published book, Lingua e…

Alexander Schindler - Questioning Causation. A fictional dialogue between Vilém Flusser and John Dewey

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The video is part of the online conference and exhibition “Vilém Flusser and ‘His’ Languages” organized by the Vilém Flusser Archive at Berlin University of the Arts.
For more info visit flusserarchive.cargo.site

Already in his first published book, Lingua e Realidade (1963), Flusser dealt with fun- damental philosophical problems and, parallel to the emergence of poststructuralism in France, opened up his own theses on the relationship between language and reality. The book has been widely criticized in the reviews and in some cases even torn to piec- es (Hanke 2006). Nevertheless, Flusser remained consistent with most of his theses and continued to develop them. One of them was his postulate that we have to discard our understanding of reality, as it prescribes a deterministic logic, similar to the ar- rowy construction of inflectional languages. This form of representation seems to have shaped the origins and development of western culture from the very beginning: A cod- ified system which, according to Flusser, is not capable to represent reality anymore. The crisis of linearity resembles a crisis of the principle of causation and bears witness to inadequacy for knowledge production and scientific inquiry. Flusser’s criticism of the causation of obsolete codes runs like a red thread through his work up to his genealogy of technical media and his phenomenology of gestures.
While Flusser focuses on language, the pragmatist and educational reformer John Dewey (1859-1952) considers the essentials of human experience as a critique of causation. For Dewey, the origins of causal thinking can be traced back to the social conditions of ancient Greece. Only under the unequally social conditions at that time, which for Dewey had nothing to do with the actual human experience as a social being in nature, could the causal thinking prevail as a general mode of understanding the world and further continue to dominate the principles of modern scientific inquiry. Within the talk the two thinkers, Flusser and Dewey, should enter into a fictional “dia- logue“. This is less about the unifying synthesis that causation cannot represent reality at all, but rather about the various reasons that led to this syntheses and its epistemic consequences.

Alexander W. Schindler studied Media and Communication at Berlin University of the Arts and is currently finishing a second Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science. His research focuses on Epistemologies of Media in times of anthropogenic climate change. He worked for the Vilém Flusser Archive, is part of the Critical Zones Research Group with Bruno Latour, and is co-orga- nizing a conference with Birgit Schneider on climate change communication.

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