From Language to Communication – Vilém Flusser’s path from language philosophy to communication and media theory
This article reconstructs Vilém Flusser’s first academic field of research, the philosophy of language, documented by the two books, Language and Reality and Philosophy of Language, that arose from his initial interest in language in general; and how these early probings were preserved in the later course of his work when his focus changed from language to communication and mediation. It fleshes out concepts that represent a continuity in his work, such as sign, meaning and symbol, information, knot, entropy, discourse, the technological world, and dialogue and conversation; all of this being based on a wider concept of language that encompasses not only speech but also sound, images, and symbolic forms in general. It intends to shed light on the continuity in Flusser’s work over the course of its progress and changing focuses.
Human Consciousness and the Construct of Meaning in the Communication Theories of Marshall McLuhan and Vilém Flusser
Two of the most original and influential communication theorists of the past century, Canadian Marshall McLuhan and the German-Jewish-Czech born Brazilian Vilém Flusser, expounded the view that the dimensions and perceptions of consciousness are recurrently modified through the adoption of new forms of media intervention to acts of human communication. For these two theorists, then, communication acts play the decisive role in the formation of identity. In this respect they are both electronic age versions of classical rhetorical theorists who, far from simply writing primers on persuasion, brought to their task an entire social ontology of human consciousness. By contrasting their evaluations of the communication theory by criteria and opinions, coming across most pronouncedly is their common belief that the communication process is an adjunct to human experience; one which nonetheless has the ability to shape the self-constructing perceptions of our consciousness and construct meaning in the world.