Thoughts on Being Human [4] – Cognitive Faculties

When Wilhelm Wundt distinguished the study of psychology from philosophy and biology in the late 19th century, he was filling a void: both philosophical and biological treatments had failed in their treatment of the human psyche and a new approach seemed not only warranted, but necessary.  Philosophy had, for the most part, remained in an …

Thoughts on Being Human [3] – Signs of Our Times

What are the signs of our times?  That is: what signifies our here-and-now moment?  Screaming politicians?  Angry mobs?  Memes?  The ubiquity of networked technologies?  It is always hard to tell, from within a moment, what signifies the intelligibility of that moment; understanding precisely where we are requires spending time to find points of reference.  Every …

Participation & Asphyxiation

In his highly-quotable, rarely understood and seminal work, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan distinguishes early on between what he calls "hot" and "cold" media, which are, respectively "high" and "low" definition.  A hot, high-definition medium is low in participation, while the colder and the lower-definition a medium is, the deeper our participation in it must be: that …