Front cover image for Speaking into the air : a history of the idea of communication

Speaking into the air : a history of the idea of communication

"In contemporary debates, communication is variously invoked as a panacea for the problems of both democracy and love, as a dream of a new information society brought about by new technologies, and as a wistful ideal of human relations. How, and why, did communication come to shoulder the load it currently carries? Speaking into the Air, a broad history of communication, illuminates our expectations of it as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought." "In John Durham Peters's work, the teachings of Socrates and Jesus, the theology of Saint Augustine, philosophy in the wake of Hegel, and the American tradition from Emerson through William James all become relevant for understanding communication in our age."--Jacket
Print Book, English, 1999
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999
x, 293 pages ; 24 cm
9780226662763, 9780226662770, 0226662764, 0226662772
Introduction : the problem of communication. The historicity of communication
The varied senses of "communication"
Sorting theoretical debates in (and via) the 1920s
Technical and therapeutic discourses after World War II. 1. Dialogue and dissemination. Dialogue and eros in the Phaedrus
Dissemination in the synoptic gospels. 2. History of an error : the spiritualist tradition. Christian sources
From matter to mind : "communication" in the seventeenth century
Nineteenth-century spiritualism. 3. Toward a more robust vision of spirit : Hegel, Marx, and Kierkegaard. Hegel on recognition
Marx (versus Locke) on money
Kierkegaard's incognitos. 4. Phantasms of the living, dialogues with the dead. Recording and transmission
Hermeneutics as communication with the dead
Dead letters. 5. The quest for authentic connection, or bridging the chasm. The interpersonal walls of idealism
Fraud or contact? : James on psychical research
Reach out and touch someone : the telephonic uncanny
Radio : broadcasting as dissemination (and dialogue). 6. Machines, animals, and aliens : horizons of incommunicability. The Turing test and the insuperability of eros
Animals and empathy with the inhuman
Communication with aliens. Conclusion : a squeeze of the hand. The gaps of which communication is made
The privilege of the receiver
The dark side of communication
The irreducibility of touch and time