Philosophy, Education, and the History of Communication Technologies

The emergence and development of the humanities were initially bound up with the spread of alphabetic writing, and subsequently with the development of printing; the original task of the nascent humanities disciplines was a thoroughly practical one: that of building up our knowledge about the characteristics of the new media with the aim of exploiting this knowledge in everyday life—for the sake of economic, educational, or political benefits. In particular, the beginnings of philosophy lead us back to the times of the first emergence of alphabetic writing. There is no philosophy in a purely oral culture; Western philosophy is in the first instance, and remains down to the twentieth century, reflection on conceptual relations generated by written language. Today, the printed word is losing its position as the dominant vehicle of communication. Philosophy faces a new educational challenge: that of articulating the logic of multimedia information storage and exchange
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