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Interpreting Texts and Interpreting Nature: The Effects of Literacy on Hermeneutics and Epistemology

Chapter
Part of the Springer Series in Language and Communication book series (SSLAN, volume 23)

Abstract

Harold Innis writing in 1949 (Innis, 1951) and Marshall McLuhan writing only a few years later (McLuhan, 1962) brought about a decisive change in our orientation to the study of literacy. Prior to their writing on the “bias” of communication media, literacy was generally considered to be a simple, unadulterated good, a mark of progress and of civilization. True, there were some counter arguments such as those presented by Plato in the Phaedrus (cited in Goody & Watt, 1968) to the effect that writing would destroy memory and Rousseau’s argument in The Origin of Language (1749/1966) that writing would dehumanize language by separating the author from his text, but by and large the prevailing assumption was that language is what makes us human, and literacy is what makes us civilized.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Modern Science Conceptual Distinction Scientific Epistemology Interpret Nature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

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