tracing dialectic’s processual nature

P.Grosswiler attempts in his book Method is the message to bring seemingly unrelated fields together, which one would not consider at first view as too deeply connected – McLuhan and Marxism, … In constructing a multilayered view he unravels the similarites of the approaches and finds the processual character of dialectics as a driving force also in McLuhan’s approach.


Lowe’s description of the epistemic order is adapted from the discourse theory of postmodernist Michel Foucault and proposes that unconcious rules that change as a whole from period to period shape discourse.* There is no universal discourse or continous knowledge. Each culture’s epistemic order differs. Oral-chirographic culture was ordered by epistemic rules of ‘analogy’, based on an absolute God, faith, analogy and metaphor. The switch to typography brought an epistemic order of similitude in which man was the measure in universe. Later in the typographic era, similitude was replaced by representation-in-space, as science discovered empirical space. Bourgeois society from the late 1700s to 1905 was based on development-in-time, adapting the former epistemic system to include new experiences of time. In the twentieth century, electronic culture has undermined the belief in reason. Space and time are functions rather than absolute framework. Lowe suggested that the new electronic order is founded on a synchronic system that has destroyed the framework of objective space and time as well as the ideal of individualism.
Lowe qualified his theory, asserting that perceptual fields interpenetrate with the dominant field exerting hegemony over the others. In effect the field of perception is determined by society as a totality, and thus the media, the hierachy of sensing and the epistemic order are also determined by the society as a whole. The concept that dialectical determinism takes place within some total perceptual field is much more complex than the linear positivist cause and effect associated with bourgeois scientific method, a methodology that Lowe, and McLuhan, call linear thinking.*
..quotes within the text refer to Donald Lowe, History of Bourgeios Perception

With examples like Lowe’s approach to read bourgeois perceptions of space and time through a rapprochement between Marxism and phenomenology in the cited paragraphs Grosswiler’s sythesizing method unfolds interesting inherent points of actuality and flexibility within the choosen subjects.

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