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Beyond Words

Pictures, Parables, Paradoxes


András Benedek and Kristóf Nyíri

Human thinking depends not only on words but also on visual imagery. Visual argumentation directly exploits the logic of the pictorial, while verbal arguments, too, draw on figurative language, and thus ultimately on images. In the centuries of handwritten documents and the printed book, our educational culture has been a predominantly verbal one. Today the challenge of the pictorial is explicit and conspicuous. In the digital world, we are experiencing an unprecedented wealth of images, animations and videos. But how should visual content be combined with traditional texts? This volume strives to present a broad humanities background showing how going beyond the word was always an issue in, and by now has become an inevitable challenge to, pedagogy and philosophy.
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Visual Learning – Picture and Memory in Virtual Worlds



Ubiquitous computing is widespread today in developed countries. According to Mark Weiser, the paradigm is characterized by computer technology and digital equipment working their way into our everyday processes so much that they remain hidden, and we use them without even acknowledging this fact because they have become parts of an automated process. Weiser even provides an analogy to support his statement: we read and interpret texts around us without consciously realizing the fact of reading.1 Deviating from the device-centric approach, and approaching content, we can state that today the result of media convergence is that we can access the same content in the same way on all screens, be it a computer, TV, smart phone or tablet, thus merging the features of previously parallel mediums. According to László Ropolyi: “The reformers of knowledge diagnose the transformation of the entire human culture: the possibility of direct relationship between individual and knowledge gradually pushes back the dominion of the institution of abstract knowledge (universities, academies, places of research, libraries, publishers) and its official experts (certified scientists, teachers, editors).”2

The way knowledge is acquired also went through significant changes; e-learning based on texts and visual elements is a tendency on the rise. The phenomenon can be explained by the World Wide Web becoming a part of everyday life, resulting in radical changes in information acquiring, reading, and methods of studying. As a consequence, readers demand fast knowledge acquisition. Reasons include the aforementioned changes...

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