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Philosophy and Communication

Collected Essays

Bert Olivier

The essays assembled in this volume focus on philosophical questions regarding various aspects of communication. They are predicated on the author’s conviction that communication between human beings, regardless of the many difficulties involved, is something of sufficient importance to justify a patient philosophical exploration such as that embarked upon here. Interwoven with philosophical considerations readers will find insights gained from psychoanalytical thinkers such as Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva. The essays address a wide range of themes. Sometimes they concern fundamental things, such as the question of the very possibility of communication or the indispensable function of communication in sexual relations. The communicational significance of a certain kind of architecture is scrutinized, as well as that of images in our media-saturated, postmodern world, together with the connection between the latter and the experience of identity today. Other essays concentrate on communicational phenomena such as seduction and Kristeva’s notion of ‘revolt’, the difficulties surrounding communication in the age of ‘Empire’, and the reappearance of communicational sophistry as a theme in contemporary cinema.
Contents: After the World Trade Center: Architecture at the crossroads – The (im-)possibility of communication – Sex, literature and communication – Re-affirming the value of the image, and its social implications: Shlain and Lacan – Popular art, the image, the subject and subverting hegemony – Communication and ‘revolt’ – On seduction (and flirting) in the twenty-first century: A communication-theoretical perspective – ‘Communication’ in the era of ‘Empire’ and ‘multitude’ – Postmodernity, globalization, communication and identity – Pseudo-communication and the return of the sophist: Thank you for Smoking, at first sight.