Special Issue "The Philosophy of and the Philosophical Roots of Marshall McLuhan and the Media Ecology School"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2016) | Viewed by 31617

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Robert K. Logan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A7, Canada
Interests: media ecology; systems biology; linguistics; AI
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Philosophies is being launched with the mission of integrating scientific research and philosophical reflection on themes at the intersection of philosophical, scientific, technological, and cultural studies. The purpose of this Special Issue: The Philosophy of and the Philosophical Roots of Marshall McLuhan and the Media Ecology School is to develop an understanding of how McLuhan was able to make the many stunning insights that he was able to develop despite the fact that he claimed not to have a theory of media: “I don’t have a theory of communication. I don’t use theories. I just watch what people do.” Many of us appreciate and understand McLuhan’s unique insights and make use of them in our own work. But a mystery remains. How was McLuhan able to make so many breakthroughs? What was his secret? If only we could tap into that, perhaps we too could make similar breakthroughs. The aim of exploring McLuhan’s philosophy and his philosophical roots is to try to unlock the secret of his success.

If you wish to respond to this call, please submit an abstract to [email protected] by November 15, 2015. If your abstract is accepted you will then have until March 15, 2016 to finish your paper.

I would like to experiment a little with this collection. I want the March 15, 2016 deadline to be respected. On March 15, 2016, I will circulate the finished papers so that each of the contributors can comment if they wish on the contributions of the other contributors.

Robert K. Logan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Philosophies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • media ecology
  • communications
  • impact of technology

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
The Spiral Structure of Marshall McLuhan’s Thinking
Philosophies 2017, 2(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2020009 - 04 Apr 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2539
Abstract
We examine the spiral structure of the thinking and the work of Marshall McLuhan, which we believe will provide a new way of viewing McLuhan’s work. In particular, we believe that the way he reversed figure and ground, reversed content and medium, reversed [...] Read more.
We examine the spiral structure of the thinking and the work of Marshall McLuhan, which we believe will provide a new way of viewing McLuhan’s work. In particular, we believe that the way he reversed figure and ground, reversed content and medium, reversed cause and effect, and the relationship he established between the content of a new medium and the older media it obsolesced all contain a spiral structure going back and forth in time. Finally, the time structure of his Laws of Media in which a new medium obsolesced an older medium, while retrieving an even older medium and then when pushed far enough flipped into a still newer medium has the feeling of a spiral. We will also examine the spiral structure of the thinking and work of those thinkers and artists that most influenced McLuhan such as Vico, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Joyce, TS Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticism movement. Full article
Article
Plenty of Fish in the Academy: On Marshall McLuhan’s Prose as an Anti-Environment
Philosophies 2017, 2(2), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2020007 - 23 Mar 2017
Viewed by 1919
Abstract
The purpose of this synthesis is to deconstruct the medium of Marshall McLuhan’s prose as an anti-environment for the medium of traditional academic writing. By placing McLuhan’s own theory in dialogue with the founding principles of linguistic anthropology, I will argue that McLuhan’s [...] Read more.
The purpose of this synthesis is to deconstruct the medium of Marshall McLuhan’s prose as an anti-environment for the medium of traditional academic writing. By placing McLuhan’s own theory in dialogue with the founding principles of linguistic anthropology, I will argue that McLuhan’s authorial tactics—a subject of his long-term repudiation by the academic community on the whole—adhered to the tenets of the Electric Age, and were thus inherently incomprehensible to those who negotiated academic prose as a medium locked within the media environment of the Print Age. Full article
Article
The Alphabet Effect Re-Visited, McLuhan Reversals and Complexity Theory
Philosophies 2017, 2(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies2010002 - 03 Jan 2017
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2615
Abstract
The alphabet effect that showed that codified law, alphabetic writing, monotheism, abstract science and deductive logic are interlinked, first proposed by McLuhan and Logan (1977), is revisited. Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s (1988) insight that alphabetic writing led to the separation of figure and [...] Read more.
The alphabet effect that showed that codified law, alphabetic writing, monotheism, abstract science and deductive logic are interlinked, first proposed by McLuhan and Logan (1977), is revisited. Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s (1988) insight that alphabetic writing led to the separation of figure and ground and their interplay, as well as the emergence of visual space, are reviewed and shown to be two additional effects of the alphabet. We then identify more additional new components of the alphabet effect by demonstrating that alphabetic writing also gave rise to (1) Duality, and (2) reductionism or the linear sequential relationship of causes followed by effects. We then review McLuhan’s (1962) claim that electrically configured information reversed the dominance of visual space over acoustic space and led to the reversals of (1) cause and effect, and (2) figure and ground. We then demonstrate that General System Theory first formulated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968), which also includes chaos theory, complexity theory and emergence (aka emergent dynamics) and Jakob von Uexküll’s (1926) notion of umwelt also entail the reversal of many aspects of the alphabet effect such as the reversals of (1) cause and effect, and (2) figure and ground. Full article
Article
Mind as Medium: Jung, McLuhan and the Archetype
Philosophies 2016, 1(3), 220-227; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1030220 - 04 Nov 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3033
Abstract
The Greek notion of archetype was adopted and popularized in the context of the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. Marshall McLuhan used the concept archetype as a formal perspective rather than the content of an alleged “collective unconscious”. In his book From [...] Read more.
The Greek notion of archetype was adopted and popularized in the context of the analytical psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. Marshall McLuhan used the concept archetype as a formal perspective rather than the content of an alleged “collective unconscious”. In his book From Cliché to Archetype, the idea of archetype is presented as the ground where individual action is the figure. This article, departing from the notion of archetype, explores some convergences between the thought of Carl Jung and Marshall McLuhan and some of its developments for Media Ecology studies. Full article
Article
Media Ecology: A Complex and Systemic Metadiscipline
Philosophies 2016, 1(3), 190-198; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1030190 - 11 Oct 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2993
Abstract
Media ecology is not the theoretical stream of communication studies and it is not limited to Marshall McLuhan´s work and thinking; however, we focus on McLuhan’s approach to media ecology for this special issue on the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. Media ecology is [...] Read more.
Media ecology is not the theoretical stream of communication studies and it is not limited to Marshall McLuhan´s work and thinking; however, we focus on McLuhan’s approach to media ecology for this special issue on the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. Media ecology is a complex and systemic metadiscipline whose object of study is the changes and effects that have occurred in society as a result of the evolution of technology and media throughout history. Full article
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Article
Extrapolating on McLuhan: How Media Environments of the Given, the Represented, and the Induced Shape and Reshape Our Sensorium
Philosophies 2016, 1(3), 170-189; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1030170 - 22 Sep 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3403
Abstract
The article develops Marshall McLuhan’s approach to the interplay between media, the sensorium, and reality. McLuhan’s concepts of “acoustic space” and “visual space” are unfolded with regard to the consequences that digital media will have on the human ability to perceive reality. Reality–sensorium [...] Read more.
The article develops Marshall McLuhan’s approach to the interplay between media, the sensorium, and reality. McLuhan’s concepts of “acoustic space” and “visual space” are unfolded with regard to the consequences that digital media will have on the human ability to perceive reality. Reality–sensorium interaction is systematized in the article. This systematization includes the environments of the given, the represented, and the induced. These environments are shaped by sequential stages of media evolution, which relate to preliterate media, alphabet-based media, and digital media. Existing and upcoming media technologies are presumed to alter human biology and transcend it. Within the set of media technologies that alter human biology, artificial flavours, electrically induced senses, immersive media, augmented reality, and virtual reality are treated. Within the set of media impacts that will change the human sensorium, the dismissal of gravity (related to the McLuhanian “angelism” of electronic discarnate man), the switch in navigation from biological networking to social networking, the sense of others, and the thirst for response are treated. Plato, Lenin, Wittgenstein, Benveniste, Logan, Carr, Shirky, and other thinkers are employed in the article to support these McLuhanian speculations, and sketch out prospective trends in the evolution of media and the sensorium. Full article
Article
Acoustic Space, Marshall McLuhan and Links to Medieval Philosophers and Beyond: Center Everywhere and Margin Nowhere
Philosophies 2016, 1(2), 162-169; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1020162 - 21 Sep 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2400
Abstract
The origin of McLuhan’s notion of acoustic space is described. It is shown that his definition of acoustic space as having its center everywhere and its margin nowhere can be traced back to the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages and the early [...] Read more.
The origin of McLuhan’s notion of acoustic space is described. It is shown that his definition of acoustic space as having its center everywhere and its margin nowhere can be traced back to the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance dating as far back as the 12th Century. Full article
Article
Laws of Media, Their Environments and Their Users: The Flip of the Artifact, Its Ground and Its Users
Philosophies 2016, 1(2), 153-161; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1020153 - 20 Sep 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2134
Abstract
Marshall McLuhan’s Laws of Media (LOM), which describe the evolution of artifacts in terms of enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal (or flip) are extended to create Laws of Media Environments (LOME) and Laws of Media Users (LOMU). It is shown that the environment [...] Read more.
Marshall McLuhan’s Laws of Media (LOM), which describe the evolution of artifacts in terms of enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal (or flip) are extended to create Laws of Media Environments (LOME) and Laws of Media Users (LOMU). It is shown that the environment or ground in which the figures of the artifacts in the LOM operate and the users of those artifacts undergo, respectively, a similar evolution of enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal paralleling McLuhan’s original LOM. Full article
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Article
Marshall McLuhan: The Possibility of Re-Reading His Notion of Medium
Philosophies 2016, 1(2), 141-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1020141 - 12 Aug 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4182
Abstract
After describing the origins of media ecology and the role of Marshall McLuhan in that theoretical constitution process, this article addresses McLuhan’s perspective on technology and media. In this context, the article warns that the impossibility of reading McLuhan stems from segregating technique [...] Read more.
After describing the origins of media ecology and the role of Marshall McLuhan in that theoretical constitution process, this article addresses McLuhan’s perspective on technology and media. In this context, the article warns that the impossibility of reading McLuhan stems from segregating technique and culture. This is impossible because there is a need to think about the extension of his idea of medium. The article proposes a conversation between McLuhan’s contributions and the works of thinkers like Don Ihde and Martin Heidegger, and ends with a final discussion on the meaning of concept of medium. Full article
Article
McLuhan’s Philosophy of Media Ecology: An Introduction
Philosophies 2016, 1(2), 133-140; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1020133 - 01 Aug 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2884
Abstract
This essay will serve as an introduction to the collection of essays in this Special Issue of MDPI Philosophies that will explore the philosophical roots of Marshall McLuhan’s study of media and the field of media ecology that followed in its wake. Full article
Article
On the Roots of Media Ecology: A Micro-History and Philosophical Clarification
Philosophies 2016, 1(2), 126-132; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies1020126 - 04 Jul 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2987
Abstract
This paper provides a brief review of media ecology. It is partly a micro-history of the tradition, and partly a philosophical clarification of how and why “systems-theory orientations,” literacy studies, and the rapid spread of new media were all essential to its germination, [...] Read more.
This paper provides a brief review of media ecology. It is partly a micro-history of the tradition, and partly a philosophical clarification of how and why “systems-theory orientations,” literacy studies, and the rapid spread of new media were all essential to its germination, growth, and proliferation. Finally, the paper offers concluding remarks regarding social constructionist thought and how it relates to the media ecology tradition. Full article
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