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We Need to Talk About Heidegger

Essays Situating Martin Heidegger in Contemporary Media Studies

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Edited By Justin Michael Battin and German A. Duarte

This collection assembles a number of chapters engaging different strands of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy in order to explore issues relevant to contemporary media studies. Following the release of Heidegger’s controversial Black Notebooks and the subsequent calls to abandon the philosopher, this book seeks to demonstrate why Heidegger, rather than be pushed aside and shunned by media practitioners, ought to be embraced by and further incorporated into the discipline, as he offers unique and often innovative pathways to address, and ultimately understand, our daily engagements with media-related phenomena.

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The Manual: Heidegger and Fundamental Oto-cheiro-logy I

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1Announcement: media res and mediality

One finds a word, a pebble on the shores of civilization, rounded by the waves of language. Along modernity’s resplendent esplanade one comes across media, a plain word that seems to deflect explanation. Upon taking this pebble in its mouth, the question ‘what is?’, perhaps philosophy altogether, finds itself at a loss. For, unlike Demosthenes’s remedy, the circulation of this pebble from mouth to mouth seems to aggravate rather than relieve the pathology of collective discourse articulation.

One certainly begins media res, underway, too late for the transmission of the first broadcast, too early for its reception. From this position, media appears as mediality, the between, at once the field of perception or phenomenal space, as much as the phenomenon itself in its phenomenality, and finally, perhaps most importantly, the correlation as well as the conditions of correlation of the two. Accordingly, if one is to speak with Heidegger in a way that Heidegger does not speak, the essence of media emerges as fundamental mediation. The conditions, the exact trajectories and finally the matter and structure of media, in-form this essence, henceforth designated as mediality.

Although in late capitalism the signifying horizon of mediality tends to be limited to “what we call after Adorno cultural industries,”1 this essay probes a deeper stratum of mediality in which the latter appears as the correlation between what Stiegler after Husserl terms primary, secondary and tertiary retentions, that is,...

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