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Philosophy for Multisensory Communication and Media

Keith Kenney

Multisensory media – hybrid media that engage more than the auditory and visual senses – is beginning to change the way that we communicate. While hardware and software for capturing and emitting different types of sensory data are still being developed, this book lays a theoretical foundation for their use. Drawing upon the ideas of philosophers who write about sensory perception as well as each of the senses, Keith Kenney explains the issues that communication and media scholars will need to investigate as we begin to exchange haptic, olfactory, and even gustatory messages.

Scholars interested in communication theory, media theory, and multimodality will discover new ideas by current philosophers, while scholars of sensory studies will learn how their field can be extended to communication and media. Designers of multisensory experiences, such as videogame developers, will find practical suggestions for creating richer and more meaningful experiences. A dozen sidebars apply philosophical ideas to common experiences so that the text can be used in advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

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Fortunately, I discovered quite a long time ago that what I enjoy most in life is learning. You and I learn by doing, by listening, by watching (foreign) films, and by reading. As a professor, I also have opportunities to learn by teaching. Not only do I learn when preparing for class, but I learn from my students during seminars. I also learn from my service to the university, profession, and academy. I seek service opportunities such as conducting workshops for groups outside the United States. I learn the most, however, when fulfilling my responsibilities for scholarship. And this book has been the highlight of my life in terms of learning (and, perhaps, of scholarship).

When I started writing this book, I considered myself a visual communications scholar. I read the journals and books pertaining to visual communication and visual culture. I also read some of the articles and books pertaining to visual literacy, visual anthropology, and visual sociology. And based upon the references in these articles/books, it seems as if I had read many of the scholarly works that my peers had written. I felt as if I had kept up to date with my field.

But it seemed to me that the theories in “my” field of visual communication were dated. Either my academic reading efforts were not as thorough as I had thought, or not many theories were being created, especially theories that ← ix | x → would explain the changes brought about...

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